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This is a poem about the tough but beautiful, wild landscape of Scotland - and how it is in the heart of anyone Scottish. It doesn't matter where you travel, it is always calling you home - even if that is to an austere and cold climate.

Silver Highland Evening Landscape

Gillian_ferguson_photo_high_resby Gillian K Ferguson05 Aug 2013

How this cooling Moon, daylight ember –
her silver eye crying over shiverless water
to grinning black rocks,
has called me: like a terrible love.

Before sea, she laid her bright seed –
mercury-skinned. Frozen embryo souls
of Highland night’s heathen autumn light;
cloistered in my chilly, loch-blue eyes.
With a cluster of Scotland’s gorgeous tough stars
stuck in my heart like frosted burrs:
unshakeable, prickling. For good measure.

When America’s pumpkin moons swoll,
bulged into fairytale faces -
burning Aztec sky looked red daggers
into bloody orange earth.
Sudden evening was passionate -
panting trees exhaling like race-horses,
sweaty flowers drooping
in feverish yellow beds,
nauseous with scent, drooling rank syrup:
how she called to me.

Her Presbyterian silver sliver like a closed lip -
pursed white mouth singing pure unaccompanied psalms.
Through all temptations of blousy, bosomy Harvest Moons:
the swelling yolk - luscious, bulging, membranous quiver;
ripe wobble and throb,
low-slung golden swagger.
Those big gritty stars you could pince in your fingers:
crack in your teeth like sugar.

For I had won her cold love,
as northern Earth had done so long before.
And she mine. As she wins every Scottish heart.
Skins their souls.
Centuries practising her silver arts -
though the only life she offers
is this amputee heron’s anorexic black ghost;
a muscular rainbow of jumping salmon,
plated in a flash,
jumping in and out of her witch’s mirror:
fish riveting the rippling shimmer-seam
of her hypnotised water world/air world.

Even sky’s flustered blush over reluctant purple islands
dies gratefully as ghost-glimmer on mother-of-pearl sands.
My city sugar-roses, still opening sophisticated pink hearts
in the garden, now offer their posh frosting to wild starlight.

A filigree curlew picking diamonds on the shore
sings of history here.

Everything warm and blooded has gone away to sleep.
Leaving our eyes but a luminous film -
just thicker than a ghost’s skin:
spirit mixed with used molecules of light.
A silver print of evening to keep us snared.

Everything is surrendered to her celestial sorcery:
numb, lovesick.
Blood and colour - merely dreams.
I stumble, embalmed with paralysing light:
a resurrected white effigy of me,
stepped from my future tomb -
unicorn light on marble skin.

I have answered her call,
her high silver horn sounding -
also frightening a sailing white owl;
inspiring dead wolves in the skeletal mountains,
polishing the rolling eyes of amorous mad stags.

Dutiful, enslaved, I am back.
I have returned: for good. Stricken with remorse
for thinking there could be any other.
With pity for her Moon-haunted Diaspora
who do not know the trouble in their older blood.

I only have eyes for her.