For Duncan Munro & Mary McNab

We are going through Glen Urquhart
out of our eyes in our enlightened minds
by Milton and Polmaily. That is
Saint Mailie’s Pool. Then

A sign pointing to the right up a hill

B & B

It is a steep twisting forest of a road,
going on for ever in a highland day
in that three-quarters of a mile.
but we arrive at Rychraggan, Slope of the Rock.

Ducks walk across as we arrive at the cottage’s
gable end. We pass through a wrought-iron gate
and go by gravelled path to the front door.
We knock and wait.

A scene glorious as any twelfth day
down the glen
to a glimpse of a rectangle of Loch Ness
with the sun beating out of a cove of blue sky above.

The hills a hazed backcloth for eyes on their unculled
stocks. As our feet a garden enclosed by stone dyke,
richly coloured with a bed of annual flowers,
orange, red, purple, white and green.

And over the wall, to the right, on the moorland,
a rowan tree heavy with berries looks older that its years.
A group of young crows on the wall rise into the sky. They
swoosh and swirl, turning on their many selves,
the sky alive with their triangulated, silhouetted 
wings. A shot cracks the silence out of the hill. The crows
float in their space. Down the glen the loch
has moved in its own waves.

At the door Mrs Macdonald stands to welcome us.
Duncan Glen

from Selected New Poems 1987–1996 (Akros, 1998)

Reproduced by permission of the author.
Duncan Glen

Duncan Glen was a printer, typographer, designer, artist, editor, publisher, essayist, scholar and poet.

Read more about this poet