July 15, 2018
Mid-July and zipped into layers,
I huddle by the high glass walls
of a Sauchiehall Street coffeehouse
on a rain-soaked morning in Glasgow.
It is Sunday. Restless seagulls
patrol the glistened streets. Pigeons
pick manna from cracks in the sidewalk.
Strangers roll suitcases down the damp plaza.
But I dream of the highlands –
forests of birch and pine,
breath of mist and fir.
I kneel in the humus of needles and moss
and ponder the ruins of castles and clans
wrought by the bonnie princes of war.
A puff of wind ruffles the mirror-face
of morning over an inland loch.
I slip out of the chandeliered foyers
and opulent halls of the once-important.
Sunlight cascades through cathedral trees
and wavelets kiss the sea-aster shore.
Above villages swollen with summer –
sticky toffee, shops selling tartan –
I climb the bracken hillsides to high heather.
Wind sweeps in from Iceland. My fingers numb
and somehow it’s August. How soon
we haste to the land of before where dreams
devolve to memories, cropped and cleaned,
and hung in the hall by a wide-open door.
Here is a link to photos and video clips (cropped and cleaned) that accompany this poem. Thanks to Tracy Elder for leading our group through the Highlands and Islands.