August 3rd

August 3rd
The hill is tossing high, frail wisps of
rosy cloud to glide in steady gale
along a turquoise sky, around, above the
perpendicular and slightly askew columns,
above the triangular gap
between crown and crag.

The moon, full at midnight,
is now high and faded 
almost a lazy eyelid:
day’s eye opening 
or night’s eye closing.

Birds chase and ride the wind
reeling, wheeling,
aware that in a moment
ordinary flight of day will have to be resumed.

The hawk alone is steady,
keeps position despite the gale
to pinpoint a victim

and far below
grasses tinge in flower:
harebell, yarrow, lady’s yellow bedstraw
Among the rangy thistles and fatted doves.
Tessa Ransford

from Shadows from the Greater Hill (Ramsay Head Press, 1987)

Reproduced by permission of the author.
Tessa Ransford

‘No one has done more for the cause of poetry in Scotland ....' - poetry activist Tessa Ransford was the founder of the Scottish Poetry Library. 

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