Shandwick Stone

Shandwick Stone
As jets without the black box of memory
Startle sheep in deserted glens
the stone hunters stalk their various prey.

Chaotic and recurrent as the tides
incised patters swirl underneath them.
The Pictish beast, that composite

bird-fish-mammal, harbours a smile
having already weathered eras and elements
untraceable by radar.

The rain-clouds gather above an unyielding sea.
Wildflowers and seeding grasses rustle
in anticipation of the next downpour.
Ken Cockburn

from Present Poets, edited by Jenni Calder (National Museum of Scotland, 1998)

Reproduced by permission of the author.
Ken Cockburn

Ken Cockburn works as a freelance writer, translator, editor and writing tutor, based in Edinburgh. His poetic practice often involves collaborators and other art forms, as in his 'Road North' project with Alec Finlay, a Scottish version of Basho's 18th-century journey in northern Japan. 

 

 

 

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