whispered love
some poems




Here are a few poems I have written:


Summer Meadow


In the lost country of our abandoned childhood

There were no worried parents to watch over us,

No rights of way to tell us where to go,

But adventure beckoned and the long day of delight.

We would troop off to the summer meadow

Over the ancient wooden style

And down across the grasses

The sunlight glistening

And all our life a prospect.

As my friends pressed on toward the stream,

Their voices floating dreamily away,

I would lie back and gaze up at the sky

Through the undergrowth of green,

And watch the scudding softness of the clouds

Passing, passing, passing through blue heaven

Heaven of the childhood summer afternoon,

That drifting now, that timeless never ending,

Then stir and wander on alone

The whole field flecked with pretty flowers

Bright shining buttercups and white loveliness

Of little daisies, open and so radiant,

Reflecting the radiance, reflecting prettiness

Of my own childhood, my own open mind,

Before the wind turned cool across my face

Clouds bringing shadows, and first

Drops of rain at dusk.


Elusive Treasure

To catch a trout the traditional highland way - without rod and line - you lie down on the side of a stream and reach down under the peaty bank with your hands, and - if you find the right place - there in the cool you will find one trout or several trout. The next stage is not too hard. You gently reach your open hand under its belly and start to lightly stroke it. This is tickling trout. If the fish is not initially alarmed, the stroking relaxes it into a dreamy lull. The really difficult part is the sudden pull of the fish, up and out of the water and onto the bank. I remember a dreamy late afternoon in summer when I several times had fish in my hands, but each time failed in the final manoeuvre.

And I recall the lurking trout, speckled browns and tan,

In the sun-flecked, peat-stained waters

That sauntered and swirled, dreamed and drifted,

Quite undisturbed in the afternoon gleam:

Hidden streaks of silver in the deeps,

Stroked in the shadows beneath overhanging banks.

Felt the quiet throb of their trance-like reverie

As I caressed them, hushed them, lost them

In a darting moment, of shattered sunlight, sky-sprayed rainbows,

And falling back into the shining heather.

Down in the threads of waterweed, the mottled fish

Inhabit their own country, their secluded silence

Among the dappled shadow and sunlit pebbles of the streambed

While indolently the waters journey on,

Winks of sunlight playing on the surface, but further down

A lurking otherworld, lurking within ourselves as well,

That ancient flood and flow.


The walk to Culra bothy


I will never forget the frozen winter's night

We walked to Culra bothy.

Our minibus had headed north

Through the darkening miles beyond the last dim lights

Until the engine died at the silent road-end

And we jumped down with our packs

Into the fallen snow, beneath the shadowy trees,

The coldness snatching those first few breaths

Amid the quiet laughter, the strapping of kit,

Flickering of torches and shadowed faces.

It was deep winter.

Overhead the galaxies hung and shimmered,

The path before us ten miles of moorland track

And lonely woods, the snow so crisp

Each footstep broke its surface then

Sank in to ankle depth, or else the wind

Had swept it all aside and left instead

An ice-smeared causeway, hard as black iron,

While further on the drifts, in knee-deep softness

Had us ploughing and plunging, falling and pressing forward

As we journeyed through the night.

Switching our torches off, our eyes accustomed to the dark,

We marked the outline of hills and approaching forest

And the cabin at Pattack.

There we cast off rucksacks for a little rest,

Whispered and murmured in our hushed and midnight dreams,

Then harnessing ourselves once more, the last four miles

Across the open wilderness towards Culra.

Tiredness by now was nibbling the frayed edges

Of our last consciousness, true-love sleep beckoned,

Yet - see - there was so much beauty, so much romance,

Like journeys you might read about in books

Into strange lands of wonderful adventure, other worlds

Of dark enchantment, and precious faith.

And we had left behind the mundane comforts

So we could come out here, and enter in

Enter this kingdom, court this distant land.

Out across the final meadows, where the silenced streams

Reflected wheeling stars in their dark stillness,

And hushed by the coldness descending from Ben Alder,

The bothy nestled, awaiting our occupation,

The spreading of sleeping bags, the muttered goodnights -

Knowing in that darkness, in that sleep-bestowing darkness,

That dawn would break dazzling, the mountains white battlements

Calling to us, the blue-skied heaven shining, everything

Gleaming, gleaming and overflowing with life,

Overflowing with joy.


Highland Beauty


Highland beauty, dark one, mo nighean,

All day we have laughed and known the close

Encounter of attraction and flagrant desire,

And I have longed to press against you

Hold and enfold you, give myself to your ardour

All nature whole and beautiful within you,

Your breasts like paps - like the distant paps of Jura -

Far off beyond the waters, beyond the cold waters,

Remote and out of reach, untouchable.

How I would long to sail across those narrows

And steal up the silent glen at dusk

Between the dark flanks of the shadowy mountains

And know you, meet you, in the darkening wilds,

Fighting and clashing in the summer evening,

Reclusive, lovely and given to one another,

On the damp cool earth under glimmering stars.

Or play with you all afternoon once more

Laugh at your laughter, smile at your smiles

And let you splash me in the stream again,

Your kisses like wild strawberries,

Our bodies pressed together on the hillside

As you rise above me in the gleaming sunlight,

Forcing me down, face down, in the tangled heather

Leaving the stain of bilberries smeared across my lips.


Twenty Years Dead


I was born among daffodils,

hushed and softly present all around me;

or rather, those dreamy nodding dancers

with their fresh green stems

were my earliest memory of all.

I was born amid beauty and wonder,

and I felt no need to ask

questions of any kind.


Or I would lie on my back

looking up into forest-fragrant green

of mysterious christmas

and see those perfect coloured spheres

suspended, out of time,

reclusive among the branches

whole universes of loveliness and wonder

without the need for thought.


Then I recall the monstrous billowing,

hand soft-snuggled and tucked in my father's love,

as the Royal Scot was coming, coming

and - past - in the child-dancing,

arm-swinging, wild-joyed uproar

of one abandoned moment, one grandeur, one hope!

How I miss him, twenty years dead

and all that childhood past.


'And the river flowing...'


The day had dawned grey and overcast,

Autumnal showers in the unfrequented corries

And silent shroud over still Glen Etive.

Skirting the lonely sheep-folds, and ruins of bygone days,

I hopped across the lichen-crusted quartz

And quiet waters by some turquoise pools -

A peace within my heart

And the river flowing.


Climbing the ridge, toward the darkening clouds

That loomed and lurked on old Ben Starav,

I saw an eagle, drift and loiter,

Before turning a buttress and soaring out of sight.

While far below me in the sullen glen

I could see the boulder-fretted rapids

Thread in a distant silence down the valley

And the river flowing.


On the summit plateau, alone and quite apart,

I negotiated the rock-strewn desolation -

A scattering of early snow and keening gusts of wind

Told me the day was on the turn, the seasons also,

The year end beckoning, drawing dark days in -

And felt my own life on the move as well,

Its drawing in toward the winter night

Like a river flowing.


At end of day, long after light had failed

And the early evening stars were pricking out

In the clearing darkness of a far-flung sky,

I tracked the shadowed bends of the River Ba

Along all those low meandering miles, with the sad and distant moon

Reflecting on its dark and silent surface,

Felt that still silence of the deep heart's ceaseless flood

And the river always flowing.


These little poems were written by Susannah Clark





return to previous poetry page

return to homepage