Dolphins at Arisaig
The sea was grey, Razorbills black and white.
Bird rafts on lusty waves edged with fine lace.
The ferry out of Eigg ran in grey light
toward the distant mainland. Grey rain fell;
a cold Norse wind arose. We went below
to wait the unseen harbour – then a yell!
‘Dolphins’ we rushed on deck. The bridge –
empty, crew with cameras, raced towards the prow,
took photos lying up against the ridge.
Ringed by dolphins that diminished waves
we watched the strength and grace of curving backs.
Engines turned off we heard the quieter sound,
Slip-slap of waves against the wooden planks.
Joy is a school of dolphins out to play.
Joy was in the rain, the wind, the wave;
Real freedom in the unrehearsed display.
Friendly under the ferry, one glided round
to show green belly, then a watching eye
broke ocean with a tiny spume of spray.
As suddenly as they came they went away
and we were left without both dive and soar;
A July sun poured splendour round a cloud
on sea, rock, mountain and the lonely shore.
The Mystery and Reality of Swans
Whoopers fly across on whining wings
no other bird makes quite that rhythmic sound;
a soulful bow drawn across violin strings.
Looking up – they`re just above my head,
huge birds, necks stretched along the morning sky
they make for greening fields, having fled
the winter tundra`s soulless ice and snow:
Strong of bone and sinew each with a jewel
that leaves them in no doubt of where to go:
Alabaster birds, silk feathered, in whose veins
the mystery of Mother Russia runs,
come to these fields blattered by great rains
to puddle the ground with huge and damaging feet;
that lay waste acre upon acre of winter-wheat.