Da Last Plesiosaur



magrittes-idea2oil

Eftir aw dat fechtin,

aw dat movin an hidin an listenin an warnin,

we fund dis lang deep dark loch

awa up idda Nord

whaur at lang last we’d be left tae oorsels,

left in peace.

Or so we thocht .

*

WHWHWHU R R R R Z Z Z

Oot o da blue

*

SSSPPPLAAAASHSHSH

dis muckle chukkie da size o da mune

cam  thunderin doon,

dis muckle stane 

cam whudderindudderinspludderin doon

wheechin us aa,

da hale shebang o us,

muddirsfaidderssistersbruddersdochterssons,

wheechin us aa in ae fell swoop

                             cept me

                                            aa cept me

                                                                    aa except me

*     *     *     *     *

Aa dat wis lang syne,

lang lang syne.

Nooadays A cannae even see

bit still

fae time tae time

A poke ma heid oot o da waatir

oot o da cal dark  waatir

an mak a sort o saft lang moanin soon

OOOOOAWAWAWAWAMMMMPHPHPH

OOOAWAWMMMMPHPH

OOOOOMMMPH

bit der’s niver ony anserin caa,

niver iver.

LANZA NEW

No dat A expect der tae be.

No dat A’d ken whit tae dae

if der wis.

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Understanding Stones


This is the Craw Stane standing on its own above Rhynie in Aberdeenshire. The carving below the salmon  is called the Pictish Beastie. What it means nobody knows. The stone is either a boundary  marker or a memorial plinth.

These are what’s left of a stone circle near Kirriemuir in Angus. It marks a burial site

These are gneiss stones  which  form an avenue leading to some central significant location.

 

These are the Callanish Stones in Lewis which form a circle round a central pillar and are part of a lunar clock.
Local tradition says that giants who lived on the island refused to be converted to Christianity by Saint Kieran and were turned into stone as a punishment. Another local belief says that at sunrise on midsummer morning, the “shining one” walked along the stone avenue, “his arrival heralded by the cuckoo‘s call.” This legend could be a folk memory recalling the astronomical significance of the stones.

And full circle – back to Rhynie’s Craw Stane…..The cows in the field  find the Craw Stane an ideal rubbing post and it is in grave danger from theme


The Fastidiousness of Birds


                                                                in Kenmore


on a white picket fence

the round robin with such delicate feet

watched me come closer

turned its head

this way and that

then flew off

to sing his song

somewhere else

                                                                        in Antequera


there is a megalithic dolmen

leading down into the dark earth

– closed on mondays –

so the rainy monday i went

no-one was there

and when i went down the tunnel

under the big dolmen rock

the iron gates were shut

padlocked

tanqat 

cerrado

in spite of  my angry shaking of  the bars

* * *

when i gave up

turned to go back

i saw

as if waiting for me

at the end of the tunnel

outlined against the light

standing between me and the bright outside world

a big

black

dog

* * *

i stopped

not afraid exactly

no not afraid

though i  did think of Cerberus

at  the gates of Hades

to prevent the dead from leaving

but Cerberus had 3 heads

* * *

he  lifted his big head

this big black dog

looked at me

turned

loped off

elsewhere

as if to say

‘no this is not the one’

he  had only 3 legs

the front left leg missing

* * *

before i could move

before i could breathe out my pentup breath

before i could take a further step

the dog was replaced

by a hoopoe

a bird  i had always thought of

as purely mythical

a bird i knew from books

pinkish brown

black and white wing stripes

downward curving beak

something to do with the underworld

this was the first one i had seen

really seen

when it saw me

it snapped  out its ragged crest like a fan

and took off

flew off with a curious looping flight

like a butterfly

* * *

next day I returned

took this picture.

The Boy Who Fell From The Sky


 

Daedalus stood at the window,
stared down on  the wine-dark sea,
at the white-sailed ships with somewhere to go,
at the sea birds flying free.

Icarus looked up at his father,
watched him carefully  carve struts of  wood
then helped to sweep up the mess on the floor
like a good son should.

What’s in that pot on the burner
?
What do you have in these sacks?
Why are you carefully sticking those feathers
one by one into that wax
?

Father, what toy are you making
with wood and feathers and glue?
And why do you work here all the day long
and half  the night too?

Why do we work for these people?
Why have  they locked our door?
Why can I never go out to play
with the children on the shore?

Daedalus stood at the window,
stared out at the clear blue sky
and the birds that passed all flew in from the left.
He felt his mouth go dry.

Icarus looked up at his father.
His eyes were full of fun
but his father’s eyes were cold as the stars
when he looked up at the sun.

Tighten those straps on your shoulders. 
Tighten those straps on your arm 
and listen to every word that I say 
and you cannot come to harm. 

Fit your fingers into the canvas. 

Spread your fingers out wide. 
Now lift your arms up to your shoulders. 
Now sweep them down to your side.

He led Icarus up to the turret
that towered over the town.
Watch what I do then you do the same. 
My wings won’t let you down. 

These wings are the best I’ve ever made 

but my skill can be undone. 
We must fly low.  We dare not go 
too close to that blazing sun.

Daedalus stood poised like a diver.
Like a diver he fell through the air
and the air let him fall through its fingers
as if it didn’t care

till his wings  stirred up some  invisible force
that carried him over the town –
the slightest movement of his arms
sent him up, or sideways, or down

and Icarus flew right behind him,
laughing his joy out loud
for the air felt safe as houses
and his body light as a cloud.

The gods were alerted  by  Minos
with his curses,  his cries of despair
while the boy and his father,  too clever by half,
trespassed brazenly through his air.

It only takes a second;
it catches you unprepared
– first the impulse of joy and then the act,
the deed  that can’t be repaired.

The careful work of a lifetime
in a moment is undone.
Wisdom ignored,  Icarus soared
up to the golden sun.

He did not hear his father’s cries
nor see the red wax run;
he did not see the fragile feathers
drop off one by one.

Where was the dolphin, the sailor’s friend?
Where  the ship? the look-out’s  cry?
Why did everything turn away
from the boy falling out of the sky?

O father what is happening? 
O father what have I done? 
Why are they tumbling round my head 
the sky and the sea and the sun?

Why was no dolphin, no  eagle
called to his aid by a simple nod?
Which of us would not have saved him
if we had been a god?

A splash of white starred  the wine-dark sea
and Icarus was gone.
The gods had other things to do.
His father flew hopelessly on.

ICARUS


THE BOY WHO FELL FROM THE SKY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Daedalus stood at the window,
stared down on  the wine-dark sea,
at the white-sailed ships with somewhere to go,
at the sea birds flying free.

Icarus looked up at his father,
watched him sawing wood
then helped to sweep up the white sawdust
like a good son should.

What’s in that pot on the burner?
What do you have in these sacks?
Why are you carefully sticking those feathers
one by one into that wax

Father, what toy are you making
with wood and feathers and glue?
And why do you work here all the day long
and half  the night too?

Why do we work for these people?
Why have  they locked our door?
Why can I never go out to play
with the children on the shore?

Daedalus stood at the window,
stared out at the clear blue sky
and the birds that passed all flew in from the left.
He felt his mouth go dry.

Icarus looked up at his father.
His eyes were full of fun
but his father’s eyes went cold as the stars
when he looked up at the sun.

Tighten those straps on your shoulders.
Tighten those straps on your arm
and listen to every word that I say
and you cannot come to harm.

Fit your fingers into the canvas.
Spread your fingers out wide.
Now lift your arms up to your shoulders.
Now sweep them down to your side.

He led Icarus up to the turret
that towered over the town.
Watch what I do then you do the same.
My wings won’t let you down.

These wings are the best I’ve ever made
but my skill can be undone.
We must fly low.  We dare not go
too close to that blazing sun.

Daedalus stood poised like a diver.
Like a diver he fell through the air
and the air let him fall through its fingers
as if it didn’t care

till his wings stirred and some  invisible force
carried him over the town –
the slightest movement of his arms
sent him up, or sideways, or down

and Icarus flew right behind him,
laughing his joy out loud
for the air felt safe as houses
and his body light as a cloud.

The gods were alerted by  Minos shouting,
cursing, tearing his hair
while the boy and his father,  too clever by half,
trespassed through his air.

It only takes a second;
it catches you unprepared –
first the impulse of joy and then the act,
the deed  that can’t be repaired.

The careful work of a lifetime
in a moment is undone.
Wisdom ignored,  Icarus soared
up to the golden sun.

He did not hear his father’s cries
nor see the red wax run;
he did not see the fragile feathers
drop off one by one.

Where was the dolphin, the sailor’s friend?
Where  the ship? the look-out’s  cry?
Why did everything turn away
from the boy falling out of the sky?

O father what is happening?
O father what have I done?
Why are they tumbling round my head
the sky and the sea and the sun?

A splash of white starred  the wine-dark sea
and Icarus was gone.
The gods had other things to do.
His father flew hopelessly on.

Why was no rescuing eagle  
summoned by  a simple nod? 
Which of us would not have saved him
if we had been a god?

Icarus and the fishmonger


There had been a botched terrorist attempt at the railway station just before we arrived so naturally everyone was a bit on edge. Jumpy. Trying hard to relax. Laughing too much and too loudly perhaps. Drinking too much certainly.

But  sure enough the sun and the luxurious setting began to do its work.  Real laughter.  The friendly clink of glasses as new friends were made. Cheers. Salut. Prost. Slainte mahath. Skal.The smell of ambre solaire in the air.

Summer. Holiday time!

So. One minute we were all fooling around in the hotel pool, having fun, keeping cool, showing off a bit maybe then                                                                         

                                                                                 sssSSSSSPPPLASHSHSHSHshsh !

Out of the blue.

Everybody froze.

Stopped in their tracks.  .

Statues.

Gape-mouthed. Where? What? Who? When What the….

A boy had just fallen out of the clear blue sky into our swimming pool. Fortunately at the deep end which as usual was pretty empty. Come to think of it, not a big SPLASH either, more a sort of ssssplllup, the sound of something/someone cutting cleanly into water with minimal resistance/turbulence, a bit like that marvellous Tom Daley child doing one of his unbelievable high-platform, triple-jack-knife effortless efforts.

Meanwhile, downtown, in the market place, the woman with blue hair was watching carefully (as careful housewives do) while the fishmonger sliced through a chunk of tuna for her ( If you double-click or whatever to enlarge the picture you will see that she is not exactly a barrel of laughs, this woman with blue hair).  However the centre of attention here is not the blue-haired lady – that’s another story – but Mr. Daedalus, the solid-looking fishmonger who is better with fish than with people, who has no idea where his son is at this particular moment nor even the hope that he’s not up to any mischief.

That Icarus! the blue-haired lady would have told him. One word from you and he does as he likes

                                                        (to be continued)