Air-psalters and pages of stone
Inscribed and Caledonian
Under these leaf-libraries where
Melodious lost literature
Remembers itself! A white
Dove climbs on its Columban flight
In the botanic radiance,
Northlight’s late druidic rinse
Lapping against time and earth
In this root view of Fife and Perth.
A thousand years of briars enclose
A wild and matrilinear rose
Whose house began before the oak
First felt the axeman’s stroke.
An unrecorded Kentigern
Disturbs a prehistoric fern
And house from the Pictavian clock
Measure the lives of land and rock
And miles before the pedlared road
Winds to Iona and to God.
Out of the thanages, mormaerdoms,
Legendary shires and kingdoms,
Defunct boundaries and the lost
Dynastic certainties – a ghost
Light on the grass, a shivering
Listen to twigs scratch as a broom
Swishes across a vanished room
Trembling on this venerable
And enigmatic hill.
At the time when our names began
In the years of the Dark Age swan
And the wolf, on hills like this one,
A herdsman looked over and down
On blue waters in the strath.
This moment is his aftermath
Also, a lived and living scent
Scattering and ever-present,
As are the lady and her hind
Fragments of spirit, leaf and mind.