Patrick Scott Hogg
Images Of Youth - Part 4 - Poem by Patrick Scott Hogg
When the sense of longing comes too strong to resist
Where e'er I am or have ever been
No matter who or when
The huge beech tree we used to swing from
Comes to view.
Then the apples thunder to the ground;
It's blackberry picking time once more -
Along the railway line embankment we scrurried
By the deep forbidden loch (that has no bottom)
Where the fields of corn wave hypnotic in the breeze.
Consumed, these senses charge my veins
In memory, like the wild wind calls its echoes home -
My spirit wings ever homeward, stirs
To view the scenes I know so well:
Down the narrow road, o'er the ridge
The panoramic view
A loch in stillness wrapped, outstretched, inviting
(That view was the wildest joy I ever knew:
To run to the waters edge, wild and free) .
Silent and mirroring the sky and racing clouds
That darken and shade the greeny water by;
Where the brown burn
In flood, 'mid a rainy gale,
Tumbles its way to the wider waters
A trapped soul, never to its sea
Yet that is not the fate of you or me.....
There I watched the fast-weaving wood-pigeon in flight
Swish o'er bush and brier, thru
A grand mesh of protruding trees and branches
Safe and keen;
Proud meteor of the woodland sky.
There, where my father's footsteps echo every glen
And his forebears, Etterick born,
Looked down across the forests green to the trout-filled lochs
From the bracken ridge at New Luce;
Scanned westward to the open seas.
It's there the pheasants rise
Raucous, on startled wing
High o'er jaded, golden yellow bracken,
Up o’er the wild-wood dale, soaring,
Where sweet-noted woodlarks sing;
Where ravens circle and peregrins eye their distant prey.
Aye, there I tramped the country ever round
With a pocket full of spiked conifer cones, singing,
With a tale-wagging Labrador, sniffing by
Every bush and covet, never still
Never un-free and chained -
Nature has no masters - a maxim pure.
I've watched the bats scurryin'
Swoopin' thru the thick night
Skimming o'er dark blue-black velvety waters
Vibrating sonar, like bullets rivetting thru the night,
As moths and dragonfly dance,
Where the new moon hangs, high o'er the old castle, silhouetted
(Those ghostly tales of the Lilly Pond lady in chains!)
Glistening on the silvery, mercurial loch
A bright, shimmering reflection -
And there, a silent swan hides her young in the night shadow -
All to the darkness wrapped, shivering
Embraced in the quiet murmur of the creature stirred night.
I've seen the auld grey bearded badger
Nose-peering at dusk, curious,
Timidly watching; twice sniffing the air
As he welcomes night's returning balm
To retreat, deep in his layer, scurrying
From the soil shaking tremors
Of 'guns' walking by
And, being from country stock,
I was once of that number!
So devoted to and a lover of Nature
That I could ever be her executioner!
Yet deep love flows thru the veins
Glistening in the eyes of a child
Wild excitement untamed - a jar-trapped bee:
Watch him go, zig-zagging away
Buzzing dementedly in his mad cell of glass...
'Busy buzzing bee, I will set you free! '
Then off, in frenzied freedom to the blue sky arena, winding
Winding, winding, disappearing,
Never to be seen or heard again.
I swooned 'mid the bluebells aroma, forever elate
Soaked in the earth's musky grandeur
Chasing a butterfly's fragrant tender wing -
A junky of unconscious woodland soaked smells
Of Autumn's gold decay and Spring's effervescent regeneration
Hope's eternal wing and returning joy;
Often lost in the crowded days
To the tree sap, peat and O the scent of honeysuckle!
O that those who have called me 'Dreamer' could know:
These - all of Nature's charms - were the lovers of my insatiate youth!
I've watched a dog fox tease a rabbit;
I've stood in awe as silly crows
Crowded, almost prescient, swirl high before the storm –
And laughed at the gulls rain-dancing their dinner from the soil
I've picked a single yellow daffodil, deep with its water-soaked stem
And always return to the wild aromatic bluebells
They stir me still to be again that LOST BLUEBELL KID
Running where the perfumed air
Drowns the senses in the sun's heat
Where the foxglove bends to the soft breeze blowing
In that eternal summer day that never seemed to end
When peaceful harmony sang in silent triumph
Through the wood boughs, forever young and dancing!
In these scenes and moments
Distilled, in the kiln of Nature's raw heart
Are the emotions, fallen and uprising,
Like the waves upon the shore of life's vast ocean
When humanity awakens!
When the miracle of each moment is lost ere we grasp it
When the eyes of a child open, in awe
And can never close, no matter what dreams may come
Not even hoary grey and furrowed age-lines
Can erase the deepest sigh and wonder:
Yet all expires with the leaf and sap
To the warm embrace of Nature's arms enfolding:
Beauty is transient, as love is brief.
O let me be buried there, forever at peace,
'Mid the places I loved when my spirit was young.
If, in all this, there is a light to shed
On the vagaries of life's paths and the decisions we must take
It is this and this alone:
Take your children from the cities.
Take them from the dark towers bending
Take them from the deep shadows that run
Take them from vitality’s anaesthetic screens...
Take them from walls of grey on grey...
Take them from greed's brainwashing
Take them from the badge of status and illusion
And cast their nets of imagination in the country,
Or by the sea, before it is too late:
Let them run free in country places
In the shadow of the woodland flowers
Where the shafts of light steel down like golden spears
Where Time never chases those moments that bend
Between waking and the call of dreams
For these days that never close
Where the stars twinkle high and the lochs are mysterious
Where their suppressed heart of humanity awakens, anew,
And let the spirit of Nature, that reigns in glory, come to them
To be always and forevermore
A light within that washes away the darkness and renews the soul
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