Monday, 28 November 2016

New River in the City

By the reservoir there is a four and a half minute stretch of time
when no trains go past.
Not that the cormorant atop his post minds the trains.
But the heron seems to know, as he stalks on to a tuft
peering at the water.
Is it my imagination or do the terns pirouette much higher now?
Cygnets in unlikely repose
and parents a distance away still finely attuned.
Over by the empty pond nothing seems to happen.
There’s a crane hanging loose -
one of the metal variety.

I’m sure I hear a nuthatch, or maybe two,
but it’s more of a song than a call.
For now no one is taking fright
and a grebe dives down
for almost a minute out of sight.
Behind me a whole parliament of crows
has not one speaker as they trace the grass,
with waddles and hops.
A woman comes by with a pug off the lead,
nose to the ground but with haltering stride -
seen better days, now just gets by.
Some branches of gorse are flowering.
When are they not?
Any time of year it seems.
Gorse does not wait.

I move my arm and the heron elongates his neck,
looks straight this way,
stark, still. He tolerates me.
Nothing continues to happen.

Riff with Tambourine

Inspired doctorates by the score,
annoyed purists of folklore,
sang lyrics through his nose,
decried the powerful who pose,
knew how to make a band
in a manner far from planned.
You might say he strode a world stage
on behalf of youthful rage,
ducked a Readers Digest,
was the star of many a rockfest,
took holding power to task
in a way straight guys couldn’t ask,
and the academics how they swooned
as their shibboleths he lampooned.

Many years later at The Fleadh
my son was there with his old dad.
‘He can’t even sing’, he said.
‘Plays a good mouth organ’, I replied.
‘One of these days you’ll appreciate the man –
it takes a long time to become a real fan.
It did for me’.
For I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now’.

Still Here

You fall apart as you get older
and half the time you get less bolder.
You cosy up to television
losing track of lost precision.
Used to be you wasted time,
now time wastes you in silly rhyme.
He’s a redundant old age pensioner
though he tweets and common sources,
nursed his wife through her dementia
but he’s by-passed by social forces.
Drove a van for Amazon
and didn’t find that taxing,
but since Kindle helped the books be gone
he’s now about as useful as faxing.
We meet up now at The Hub in The Rec.,
Two refugees from old new tech.
Prufrock measured his life in coffee spoons
-Us, we try to read the runes.
Day centres closing, some folk left unwashed,
that’s not a consummation to be wished.
As long as we are here we shall cause a kerfuffle,
We’ll snuffle and shuffle but the Council won’t muffle
-Us, no. We’ll bend and we’ll mend,
as we trend and we send,
we’ll get in the way of officials who rend.
We’ll be awkward as Hell for as long as we want,
for we’ve been here awhile and we like the jaunt.
We’re not Noam Chomsky nor Elon Musk
but neither of us is an empty husk.
From within and without we can see what is happening
with the scratching sound of political flattening,
yet our music is a rallentando score
for ordinary folk deserve much more.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Last Munro

From Arnisdale Keith and five more boated out
as Knoydart beckoned, all in with a shout,
on this peninsula so strong and so quiet
where all the senses are put to re-set

First on a path of micaceous shine,
a pee at the bothy then off in a line,
over nardus then bracken, up through trees
to gain Mam Barisdale testing the knees

The arc of the summits seeming so near
but the best way up far from clear,
high col and arĂȘte easy enough to see
beyond sphagnum and schist defying degree

A property line of iron rods
pathetically bent beneath the Gods.
How on Earth to walk from one to the other,
not quite the same as a walk in the heather

Here in Scotland’s wildest place
what hope to tramp in surest grace?
Yet the spoor of deer suggests there is,
but they are only here for rich man’s biz

Now up and over with different strikes
half atop Luinne Bheinn, half on lesser hikes
meeting again for a saddled view
of Cuillin. Lochaber and Torridon hue

Onwards and upwards is all very well
yet tormentil and orchid draw the eye on the fell.
At the col further on a decision is made
not enough time for all I’m afraid –

so three carry on to ascend Meall Buidhe

Taking in this surround has a lightness of weight,
as human hand hardly touches Pre-Cambrian fate.
The mount invites bended knee with gentlest awe
and now you see all at once the draw

As a man’s Munrovian completion is done
with these lowland stalwarts under the sun
on this unique day in the Ross-shire wild,
three others descend, single filed

Bits and pieces the worse for wear,
thankful to deer whose ghost path we share.
The conquerors tread back higher up
but do come down before the lip

Our Gallic Alpinist goes on ahead
to tell the boat we are a wee bit spread.
Meall Buidhe seen, felt and rounded by some
it conducted three others on score facing Rhum.

Now that was a climb and a breath and a shake
of The kind from which to remind being awake.

Gordon Peters

September, 2015

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Stromboli Night

On the edge of the crater we sit
in the half dark of full moon,
the chatter of several score subsided
in silence.
Cameras to the ready, helmeted
and masked, an unbidden worship is unzipped.
Stromboli performs in scarlet fountains
as the growls and belches
keep human mouths closed,
in case hearts leap out. 

This mountain of rock and cinder and ash
is having its say, and we
are given a lesson on our place in the universe.
Atom to atom
and dust to dust,
we beings now as fragile
and tender as the soft camomile flower
that grows out of the lava. 

Then along the rim
and down,
in Indian file, like Pink Panthers
springing over the deep ash
awakened and frightened
by the real Gods of Earth.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

In Conversation with Tinto Hill

Tinto Hill is an outstanding volcanic remnant in the central belt of Scotland, where the Clyde appears from the Southern Uplands on its way towards Lanark. Some people run up it, some hang glide from it.
Others wander, or maybe draw. I had driven past and wondered at this massif since the early sixties. Recently I had the chance to stop over at Wiston Lodge.

In Conversation with Tinto Hill

Well misted for now, you don’t just catch
the eye from all around.
Your feldspar slopes give the Clyde its elbow,
you cause the very weather to spiral round.
For years these roads I drove
were made of your pink stone and grit –
or a nearby sister was it?
Volcanic outreach now supporting lambs
and a quiet river heading for a fall.
Our time upsets the way of looking,
but what’s a few million between friends?
And your dark patches so meld that tinted glow,
you seem to be having a whale of a time, old Tinto,
though I’m the one who is spouting.

Yours is the making of this whole landscape
while we search for molecules of meaning,
I shall go for atoms of delight
sensing your neutrinos of granitic nourishment,
a Clydesider returning to dust – while still alive.
That’s the point you might say.
Light and dark matter enfolds us.
I am the one who is speaking,
you are the one unfolding.
Helping me to unlearn,
for civilizations don’t climb hills
although drovers were known to go over your top,
and cairns suggest you were a vantage .

Standing here on your edge watching
a bullfinch on broken bark beneath the mountain,
inhaling the foost of last year’s beech
and this year’s lichen,
while the stumps and moss expunge sure footing.
For me walking on dead twigs and pine needle talus
is a windy undertaking.
But you guide clouds on their way and dwarf
the man-made windbreaks.
The sway of the pine polls
and the call of the nuthatch come now.
Then I think of a trillion joules
of heat and bombs that you once vented,
and wonder – where do atoms go?
One gust of wind brings a million microspores
of ancestors you must have known.
Which brings us back to the present matter –
it seems we don’t know, mostly,
say experts of the dark.
And thinking, now exactly what is that?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Pond Skater

It flies yet skims
shimmies over water
slicker than Torvill
quicker than Dean
swerves by the dragonfly
gets caught in a jar
skates swiftly away
catches the frog’s eye
dodges the reeds
seldom is seen
moves with the light
shoots the breeze
melts in the oil spill
feeds the warbler.
Well done short life.