In Another Life
You trod the boundaries of the fields and moors,
lived in a stone room burning peat on the hearth,
your dog, prone and alert, would stare at the flames,
who sometimes shared your salmon, when fish
were on the run and in season.
You fixed the roof and sent that collie
arcing round the bleating sheep
to bring them home into the wooden ring,
and watched the fire of sky at night
above the windswept sea-loch, for a time
till the orders came and you packed up
what you could carry and headed for the city,
that beautiful collie mysteriously vanished.
The hills were swapped for Glasgow high-rises,
the river for the trunk road, the sea for tears,
though you never forgot the three colours –
black, white and red – of deer hair on the branches,
the mirrored eyes nearby at nightfall,
the tales of wolves passed on from mouth
to mouth recalled upon the croft-side vigil.
(First published in The North)