A very good man died today,
Was gone on a breath of light.
He could not stay: it seems
There were other pressing tasks
Beyond our sight, souls to serve,
Somewhere we might, one day, know.

He will lower his head to those souls too,
And soothe hearts, sharing grace;
His hand at a shoulder, sharing care,
Facing with them, too, the question of how we live.
He, so rare, knew how.

Contemplation (from ‘Seven Days at the Shore”)



My version of sitting quietly with God

Is no kind Eden.

Sounds, thoughts heckle,

Like skinheads in a bar,

Hating my couth look.


Is a faraway shade moving in slow,


I dread the possession,

Yet seek it;

Eyeballs strain further within,

Socket flesh tight.

Like a dark whale rising

He comes.

And there’s no, no, no room for me.

I slap and flash and flail,

Occipital urgency

To get out, get out


Tendrils of dream climb my spine,

Like interweaving snakes,

Selfish helix, hemlock rising fast.

Did twin snakes coil Eve’s tree,

Not one?

I watch them come.

And plead for Him to find me

When they’re done.

Storm Rising (From “Seven Days at the Shore”)

Storm Rising


There’s a wildness in nature tonight

I cannot answer.

They say a storm is coming,

But I think these surging trees,

Beckon only to eternity.

You and I have known

The glistering cosmic draw

That counters with the urge

For peace, in careless complacency.

How better would it be to have left these things unknown, as before?

There’s a wildness in nature tonight

I cannot answer.



Whalesong (from “Seven Days at the Shore”)


 Sun streams down

Through blue to a

Spangling point,


Still shade below

Could not be life, as I

Flail, graceless, on the surface.

Haunting purrsong

Grows louder;

Timeless, melodic moan

To sound the world I’m here,

Come to me.

Come to my darkling piece of blue

And know my peace.

Rising shadow knows my

Feeble frame and eyes deep inside.

As I wonder, shallow,

At his calm clarity;

Accepting, in ageless wisdom.



John Irvine (from “Seven Days at the Shore”)

John Irvine

 A stranger gave John Irvine fifteen quid

To take him to West Lingua.

Slow daybreak on their breath,

The two men sailed in silence,

Leaving flickering Whalsay for Lingua’s dark shore.

John was glad for the cash;

But he’d seen this man’s look in other men,

And guessed he was a suicide.

Ha’else would wan’ three days in that manless, Godless place,

No’but stones and dust?