Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 177: Califer Hill, nr Forres

On Califer

Squinting west in blinding glare,
serrated sky-line stark,
the silhouetted distant hills,
stand colourless and dark.

Much closer, but still miles away,
Nairn burgh, proud and old;
tall spires beyond the forest stand,
pale ceiling blue and cold.

Light-curtains lap on Cluny Hill,
soft, sun-kissed, velvet green.
Dark Culbin broods on Moray shore,
with Forres in-between.

A ship ploughs west for Inverness,
as dark seas heave and toss,
lonely clouds graze snow-bright hills
across in distant Ross.

Kinloss stands silent, no planes fly,
its days of glory past,
Findhorn’s churning windmills proud,
Withstand the winter’s blast.

Descending geese head for the bay,
wide-circling as they fall,
long low shadows stalk the land
where glinting glass specks crawl,

and in the east the heavens dark,
from black, descend to grey,
there Burghead harbour wall appears
through pounding mist and spray.

On Califer, in biting wind,
snow-flakes begin to fly,
wan winter sun, obscured by clouds,
fades in the shivering sky.


Andy Allan

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