Who am I

A very close friend, one who can get away with saying just about anything to me, told me that troubled people are attracted to me because I am honest. I will listen to them, stand by them & help them fight their demons.

But there comes a point when those same people will turn on me & attack me because the same honesty that first appealed will call them out on their blind spots, will challenge them to address the real real issues, will not put up with bullshit.

So my friends, my true friends, are those who do not “need” me but who choose to spend time in my company, knowing who I truly am; knowing that I have faults & failings; knowing my true worth.

I need to learn to recognise the former group, not so I can avoid them, but so I can let them go without being damaged by them.

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The Boy

The Boy

He was alive once,
the boy.
Eyes alight with the joy of the dance,
lithe, muscular, with the sheen of youth,
an athlete, delighting
in his speed and strength,
pushing to the limits
in sweat and blood;
a gentle soul,
perched high on the sand dunes,
watching the children play,
as he had once done,
in sparkling summers
of childhood
that last forever.
A darkness shadowing
the sparkle then;
what thoughts were there?

He was alive once,
the boy.
Learning to live
after cruelty and neglect,
learning to care
for a damaged world ;
a willing hand outstretched
as willing hands had once
reached out to him.
He gathered people round him,
attracted by the vitality,
the innocence, the dancing eyes,
a boy on the verge
of becoming a man.

He was alive once,
the boy.
But in the blinking of an eye,
the screech of brakes,
clatter of metal on tarmac,
choking fumes of scorched rubber,
a blur of movement,
the light went out,
and those eyes danced no more.
There is darkness
in the world.

I cannot walk at Gruinard now,
without seeing
the shadow of a boy
perched on the dunes,
running on the sands,
splashing through clear water,
echoes of laughter
on summer days.
Fifteen years of memories
of a boy,
whose world changed through love,
and who changed
the world around him.
Perhaps we met an angel unawares,
come briefly to earth,
a free spirit
to show us the way…..

Or perhaps
he was just a boy…..

The Dividing Line

I walk the dividing line
between low water & the shore,
where land becomes liquid
and distinction is blurred
and ever-changing.
Out there,
on the bleakness of the tidal flats
is a world of water, mists and space,
where curlews’ call echoes mournful
and the squabble of gulls
is earth and air and bubbling sound.
The tide slides in like snakes,
sending tendrils of water
to fill the dykes and gullies,
running swift behind,
unseen and deepening,
spreading across the sand,
leaving isolated rocks
like sentinels on guard.
The shore is far away,
beyond the grounded boats,
and lights flicker distant
through the haar.

I walk the dividing line
between sanity and madness.
The rising unreason sends tendrils,
snaking through the dykes
and gullies of my mind,
twisting thoughts,
and challenging my rationality,
firing misinformation across
the synapses of my brain,
sending me crashing
into the darkest realms,
like ocean trenches with
uncharted depths;
into the inner darkness
where no light shines.
I hear voices calling from the shore,
see strong arms outstretched,
but the more I reach,
the more they fade away,
until the darkness drowns them
like the rising tide,
and I cannot see the road
to travel on……

The Potter’s House

Go you down to the potter’s house,
the Lord, he said to me.
Go on down to the potter’s house
and tell me what you see.
I walked to where the potter lived,
saw him sitting at his wheel,
the clay a shapeless formless mass,
its purpose not revealed.
The potter looked and saw my gaze,
He said this is for you.
He tossed the clay on the spinning board;
His aim was deft & true.
He worked upon the whirling shape,
formed it with his hand;
a rimmed plate on a short stem
stood upon the stand.

And then it seemed the whole scene changed,
The potter shone like gold.
He took me in his clay stained hands
and my soul began to mould.
I saw myself begin to change,
I saw my form appear;
a goblet tall with fluted rim,
its purpose bold & clear.
I hold the blood of sin within,
pain of the world to bear.
I pour out wine & water clear
for all to come & share.

I walked away from the potter’s house,
my shoulders bowed with grief.
I know that now within this life
there will be no relief.
I do not know this God of mine,
I do not know His name;
but I know His spirit gives me breath,
and life & love & pain.

Trilobite

Pebble on the beach
Grey dark plain
Inside a perfect creature
Lying in the grain
Etched in the granite
Baked in the earth
Soaked by sea & rain
Buried for an age
In the ocean depths
Cracked open once again
To lie upon this lonely strand
Beneath a deep blue sky
Till I should chance upon it
And bear it in my hand

Morning walk

I walked out this morning along the edge of the receding tide, wet sand gritty between my toes.

The sun was shining but the shifting air held a hint of winter, a certain coolness that wasn’t there last week. Autumn in the Highlands comes early.

The three resident boats bobbed at their moorings, settling gently into the sand as the water fell away beneath them.

The long haunting cry of the curlew hung on the air, above the squabbling whistles of the oystercatchers. Further along the shoreline, a group of black-tailed godwits sank their long beaks quickly into the sand, again & again, seeking salty morsels for breakfast.

Away across the water, the lighthouse glinted in the early morning sun, but behind it, clouds were gathering. The mountains on the horizon were shrouded with a mass of grey, & rain was falling over the bridge. I could see the cloud leaking out its cargo as it moved slowly down the water, towards me…

The dog was running, nose to the ground, following enticing scents across the sands, pausing now & then to ferret under a pile of seaweed. Her white tail wagged continually, a visible measure of her excitement.

We came back as the tide turned, and turned our thoughts to breakfast….

Love & Hate

It takes far more courage, far more strength of character, far more thought & effort, to choose the path of love & compassion rather than the path of mindless hatred & destruction.Anyone who supports war, genocide, weaponry & inequality cannot truly be an adherent of Christianity, Islaam or any other major world religion. They cannot truly be a humanist, a Wiccan or a pagan. They cannot truly claim to be a decent human being.

Encircling Love

Let my eyes be for you a reflection of your soul: see in them the compassion and love which is in you. Let my ears hear your whispered fears and, in hearing, keep you safe.

Let my voice comfort you and, in my words, hear your own sweet solace mirrored there.

Let my arms enfold you, strong and sure, and feel the encircling love of Christ holding you.

Let my heart be open to you and, in that trembling vulnerability, hold us both secure.

2016

The old year dies slowly
in storms of howling winds,
rattling in the chimney pots,
tearing at the naked trees,
ripping them up, exposing buried roots….
thus are the mighty fallen.

The old year dies slowly,
the old year dies slowly,
felling the ranks of our heroes,
stealing their music, their song,
their magic…
and leaving a deathly silence.

The old year dies slowly,
taking the icons of our youth,
those who reached for the stars,
and became thus themselves.
And led us dancing into dreams
and fantasies,
replacing drab reality.

The old year dies slowly,
with veils of mist
and tears of rain
with fading light in tired eyes
and darkness

Yet as it sinks in death throes
the new year is brought to birth.