This poem was inspired by the last time that I was in the Western Highlands of Scotland. It was the thought of returning home that was in my mind, and the sad prospect of leaving this extraordinary place. A definite case of highs and lows.
Three times I saw geese, flying and talking overhead. To the early Celtic Christians the goose had great significance – from the Holy Spirit to the traveller. The first two times I saw them flying were in the Highlands. I felt I had left them all behind until stepping out of the car back at home in Somerset, I looked up and there they were again as though they had followed me home.
The geese are talking while flying high
A wren chips noisily as I’m too close by
The tide creeps silently across the sand
Oh, to be part of this sacred land
But I’m just passing through this place
As the breeze blows mild across my face
There’s rhythm here for soul and mind
For here great peace I’m sure to find.
Now autumn’s here, the leaves must fall
As I walk along through birch wood tall
Old and gnarled, bark covered tree
And yet new growth on top I see.
But now to winter’s freeze prepare
The boathouse boarded looks so bare
And to wind the tree must now set loose
Its leaves to fly with that passing goose.
Alas I must fly from this place
So noise and work I must now face
But one more time to woodlands walk
And listen again to creation’s talk
There’s white tipped waves across the loch
Passing wall and croft and ruined broch
I return again to the gnarl-ed tree
And touch it while I watch the sea.
At last, a glimpse of nature’s beat
As though my soul could tap its feet.
Now this old tree that I held before
Sways to white tipped waves on distant shore.
The flying goose, its wings a-beat,
Now matches a spider’s tiny feet
Nature’s orchestra all playing its part
Soothes my soul and my beating heart.
So at last return to home alone
To email, text and mobile phone
With memories of that sacred place
Fading now with this life’s frantic pace
But this spirit of returning dread
Is banished by sounds from overhead
I look up to see this sign of peace
The beating wings of returning geese
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