licensed tosca weijers
Killin
For Anne, David, Kim and James Gray
by Graham Wood

Here the centuries run like seconds, skies of cloud
and countless suns scud in time-lapse overhead.
Long swathes of time etch their histories
on the hillsides, the stones of the river bed…
This valley gouged by ice felt one day
the thaw begin, grew gradually green, inhabited —
and echoes now this summer
with the bleating of black-faced sheep.
When did the last ice melt away and the glacier
leave its footprint here, this small deep loch
holding in silence its complement of brown trout
and the elusive char? Such questions disappear
in the wind at night through Henry’s wood,
or dissolve in the brown water rounding old stones,
the river’s slow revenge on glacial imprisonment.
Here the summer dark is brief and light,
laughter and stories dance together in the Lodge …
but in Winter, if the mood is right,
the ice will reassert itself and whip
the length of glen to gale, from the blind
face of Strone to Garrogie’s spruce towers.
Each winter brings this inkling back of what
once was, a cold hackling in the early dark
of how things were for time beyond remembering.

© Graham Wood

First published in The Scottish Banner, Vol 43 Number 6 (December 2019), an international Scottish newspaper.

PHOTO: Loch Killin in the Scottish Highlands, with Monadhliath Mountains in the background. Photo by Tosca Weijers, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written for good friends after a holiday stay with them near Loch Killin, a small loch in the Monadhliath Mountains of Scotland. It is near the southern end of Loch Ness and not to be confused with another place also named Killin, a village near Loch Tay. The poem celebrates the glacial origins of the glen in which the loch is located, and the fact that on some days in Winter it is impossible to escape the memory of the ice. The poem began in the Summer of the holiday but was completed on return home to Australia. In any season, the glen and the loch display the stark beauty characteristic of the Scottish Highlands.

PHOTO: The poet high up looking down on the glen and river of Killin in the Scottish Highlands.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Graham Wood resides in the northern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, but prefers to live in poetry whenever he can. His poems have been published in a range of Australian and international journals and anthologies. He is currently working on a collection of his poems and looks forward to the day when poets achieve the recognition Shelley gave them as the true “legislators of the world.” One of his poems (“Picking Up the Sun”) is included in the recent Vita Brevis anthology Pain and Renewal (USA, 2019).