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joanna paterson

along the way

13 July reflections

a day rich with summer
I fear the paleness of my offering:
the downy feathers of a fledging magpie,
a flock of starlings swooping flight,
the flatness of a rabbit’s ears, watchful as I pass,
late afternoon sun on the lines of farm worked fields,
teenage laughter hunting a football on the workplace roof,
the wayside splashed with purple, the season of self-heal:

was this really all there was?

all day
this richness
this all that there was

Metallic (a word sketch)

low on the water, a sea bird curves and turns
shore lapping the sound of
deeper water dark bobbing with black
low flight and cry
as it circles and lands
sheen of metallic blue
breathing
the underwings of a gull
all blue – the forth and sky –
cold light rolling
patterns of light on the water
a curlew cries
oystercatchers in a line
sky and river horizon
low the flick of wings
not touching the water

Return Crossing

red fishing boat
ripples
snow on the Cuillin

No tea room, but the hum of conversation of men in the back, their jackets luminous, waiting on the ferry. A line of gulls on the harbour wall, and one high above, circling. An engine hums. Diesel drifts across the stillness, a chain turning as the crane lifts and lowers, the trundle of a coach down the hill.

A fishing boat chugs into harbour, rippling.

Across the water, the ferry starts its return, snow still on the peaks, and the distant keening of gulls.

Mallaig, May 2014

Lunchtime Rush

Light on the street puddles,
Silver glinting on upturned aluminium.

A man in a wheelchair pushed by his wife
Points with his stick, leading:

Three oversized and dressed in grey and in a line together
Then one pink one purple
Hair permed in conversation
and hands in pocket bounce of kids
row of six eating pizza
laughing heads back free
as his bald head down to steady
slow the push against the wind,
a paper bag, blowing.

A man walks past
with feathers in his hat,
like a soldier,
from another time.

Three shadows talk the corner.
A young man bends to light a cigarette,
fluid, slow – a dance.

Then two hand in hand
And two walking sticks
Slowly one and then the other
And she shaking wired as she clutches at the phone
And he counting pennies,
Looking careful at his hand,
Like a soldier,
From another time.

Two old sticks.
A purple rain cap.
The street sweeper jacket bright.
All like a dance.

Sweeping the Streets

blowing smoke into the cold morning
silently the street sweeper
stooped with a cap and she moving slowly
phone to her ear and lips on a cigarette
the cart of
bus spewing passengers
her hair dyed maroon

shards of broken glass and stubs of cigarettes
the cart on the cobbles and a dog pulls the lead
a pair of brown shoes marching past
and the cart on the cobbles
a seagull in the pale blue sky and
three pigeons on the chimney
above Poundstretchers.

she sits, waiting,
and a sign don’t feed the gulls.
two pairs of women’s red shoes,
walking in rhythm,
the wings of a seagull.
schoolkids shuffle in big coats, laughing,
the paws of a dog on the stone.