Thursday, 22 August 2013

Birnam - Summer

I don't know about you but I've felt there's been a wee chill in the air some mornings of late that makes me wonder if we've turned the corner on this summer. Though I wouldn't have thought that last weekend. 

I was doing the adventure talk at Birnam Arts with my buddy, Graham, and of course we took the chance to be outdoors and wander the local woods and byways. The hedgerows were lush and full of sweet, ripe raspberries while the woodland floor was carpeted with purple heather and sharp-tasting, little blueberries.  The slate-walled ruins of Rohallion Castle, on the secret side of Birnam Hill, were hidden away by head-high bracken, adding to their air of mystery. It was only by chance that we came upon them. Sitting on the top of the hill and soaking up the view, I was minded of the Norman MacCaig poem, So many summers. I think most hill folk will understand the atmosphere and imagery of the poem but for me the last line has real poignancy that is deeply moving.  I hope you enjoy it ... and the remaining days of summer.

So many summers

Beside one loch, a hind's neat skeleton,
Beside another, a boat pulled high and dry:
Two neat geometries drawn in the weather:
Two things already dead and still to die.

I passed them every summer, rod in hand,
Skirting the bright blue or the spitting grey,
And, every summer, saw how the bleached timbers
Gaped wider and the neat ribs fell away.

Time adds one malice to another one -
Now you'd look very close before you knew
If it's the boat that ran, the hind went sailing.
So many summers, and I have lived them too.

                                                  Norman MacCaig

No comments:

Post a Comment