All poetry, photographs and artwork © the individual artists who can be contacted through the links below

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Season of Renewal

With snow already covering many parts of the country we are reminded that the winter solstice and the turning of the light is not far away. We felt this would be a good time to post some new poems celebrating aspects of seasonal and spiritual renewal.

Daffodils at Christmas. A painting by Ken Smyth. His website is HERE

Daffodils at Christmas

Gay as a blackbird’s beak

your daffodils unbud

and burst into frilled trumpets

this Christmas morning,

bringing a torch of freshness

to the season’s ritual,

reminding the heart’s cold bulb

of its green, forgotten centre.

Better to have left the corner bare

than focus this bright beam

on the chill comfort I have grown to.

Better not to dare

this incandescent flame

for fear its clear and unexpected shining

blinds me into love,

and, sweeter than sap, your gentleness

enters my bones

calling my roots to draw up joy again

Chrys Salt

The Cleir White Licht

Orange is a fairing
that's wi an aipple sib,
purpour's the Godbairn
wha's greetan in his crib,

gowden is the gift
the muin gies tae the airth,
sea blae's for a mither
trauchled by a birth,

pine green is for guid luck
and needles that dounpour,
siller is an angel
or a fish laid at the door,

ruid is for a hearth
that lowes like a kind hairt,
white is for the licht outside
that guides us tae our airt.

Willie Hershaw


By Geoffrey MacEwan in the Scottish Poetry Library

Paintings sponsored by Callum Macdonald

commissioned by Tessa Ransford and James Coxson

for the new building for the Scottish Poetry Library which opened in 1999

The Landscape of the Golden Age

deer at sunrise climb the sgurr

above the golden valley

kings of the golden river

mountain oak, rowan, pine

where water cascades over

shield of shining granite

fertile glen, abundant sea

finest horses and cattle

great hounds at heel

a long dark or a long light

land for heroic people

bound in tribal feu

Totem and Taboo

my cup my shield my sword my field

my white-breasted woman

my son my clan my race my kin

my life my death my poem

The Warrior’s Premonition

when the wind blows from the north

when the tide is full in moonlight

when a door bangs in the dark

when a stranger crosses the path

when a heron flies downstream

when a kite cries through the mist

some death will surely follow

some blood be shed.

The Bone of Contention

See the huge white hound at the dark cave’s mouth

who will not leave though his master is dead -

the crone will bring a bone from the deer

his master slew the day he was slain by an erring

arrow from the bow of his brother

who loved the same russet-haired girl

Steeped in honour they all must die

for they cannot live with the shame -

poor loyal dog who remains to mourn

among old grey women and men.

The Hunter’s Moon

Gold torque on noble warrior

gilded path across the water

huge moon blood-red and hanging

low over timbered rafter

Hot summer on the moorland

lazy days in long grasses

flowers, dragonflies and swallows

agitated in pre-migration

Time to hunt but not for deer

time for music and lamentation

time for lust and procreation

time to seed, replenish the furrow

follow the heart, its ripe desire

The Beach of Exhausted Desire

the harp is playing, shadows falling

the highway of the sea is closing

weep no more, weep no more

leaves browning, bracken’s burning,

winter lulls the season’s fever

want no more, want no more

wind is keening, fiddles tuning

bring in fuel and build the fire

wake no more, wake no more

The Tomb of the Warrior

not marble mausoleum but simple cairn

not chambered labyrinth but narrow pit

too many bones

a gleaming brooch

his rusted sword and carnivorous teeth

Feasting and Song

Put on the ermine, don the plaid

skirl the pipes and batter the drum

dance and be merry

let whisky flow

it must be a wedding

youth is now

the calf has been killed

bread has been baked

fruit is gathered, juices spilled

grief turns to joy turns to joy to joy

for someone someday again somehow

Tessa Ransford

Angel on Mont Blanc by Jila Peacock

Winter Solstice

Night of little wind,

stillness breathing over fir trees

and the house -


with staircases and towers

and secret passages

and levels going up into the sky.

A stained-glass window

where the light is always on -

impossible fairy-tale castle

seen in moonlight.

Candle burning.

Light is turning

on the hoof of darkness

belly dark-turned to the south.

Seed of summer planted

in the hollow of the pine tree,

by the gate.

Ashen winter,

grave of secrets,

rabbits, birds

and other small creatures

who seem to come out in the open

only to die.

And the leaves of course,

lots of leaves.

It seemed so long an autumn.

But winter turns now

on the tide of night -


responding to some other call.

An inch or two,

scattered minutes, here and there,

the world grows – slowly -

out of darkness, into day.

Morelle Smith

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