I Know a Place

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Acrylics on canvas, 45x61cm.

I know a place where the birds sing softly.
I know a place where the leaves lie gently.

I know a place where field mice forage
And wood lice feast
on fallen logs.

I know a place where the wind sighs high through the canopy
and pine needles drop to replenish the earth
in a thick spiky carpet of orange and brown.

I know a place where we always meet
To renew our bonds
In secret union.

I know a place where I will be happy
To spend eternity
With you.

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Down By The Riverside

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Acrylics on paper, 42x59cm.

Riverside
Down by the river by the boats
Where everybody goes to be alone
Where you wont see any rising sun
Down to the river we will run

When by the water we drink to the dregs
Look at the stones on the river bed
I can tell from your eyes
You’ve never been by the riverside

Down by the water the riverbed
Somebody calls you somebody says
Swim with the current and float away
Down by the river everyday

Oh my God I see how everything is torn in the river deep
And I don’t know why I go the way

Down by the riverside

When that old river runs pass your eyes
To wash off the dirt on the riverside
Go to the water so very near
The river will be your eyes and ears

I walk to the borders on my own
To fall in the water just like a stone
Chilled to the marrow in them bones
Why do I go here all alone

Oh my God I see how everything is torn in the river deep
And I don’t know why I go the way
Down by the riverside

Agnes Obel.

 

Doon the Glen

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Acrylics on canvas, 51×100.2cm.

Doon the Glen there’s a great muckle tree                                    :down, great big
Blaw’n o’er by the wind last January                                               :blown over
It’s roots exposed to the winter rains we get in June
An’ a’ it’s branches ripped aff in the fa’.                                        :off, fall

It spans frae bank tae bank o’ the wee mickle burn                     :small
That feeds the Rotten Ca’der,                                                              :Rotten Calder
That meets the Clyde at Redlawood,
Rins through the great City of Glesga                                               :runs, Glasgow
And oot through the Firth tae the wide Atlantic Ocean.             :out, to

D’ye think a’ they sticks I drapped in the watter                         :dropped, water
Will wan day wash up on some foreign shore – France,
Spain, Portugal? Mibbies e’en America?                                        :perhaps even

If ye fun wan o’ them please send it hame.                                  :find one, home
It’ll hae ma name oan it.                                                                     :have, on
And the Saltire Cross.                                                          :Scotland’s national flag

Fairy Dell

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…or, Spot the Elves!

Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!

Acrylics on canvas, 51x76cm.

Bare Mountain

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Last October this small mountain sported a full covering of deep dark forest but this year it has been stripped bare. At 224 metres Leac Gharbh is but a hillock and could easily be climbed if one was of the notion. But  having just come down from Am Binnein I would rather sit here on my little canvas travelling seat and sketch.

If I had made the effort I would likely have found a flat stone at the apex for that is what Leac Gharbh, translated from the Gaelic, means.

One thing is certain: it is not a place to be caught out on after nightfall especially around Halloween!

Am Binnein

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Not the highest mountain on Arran (Goatfell at 874m claims that distinction) but at 662m it still was too high for me to climb to the top. The truth is I’m such a wimp at clambering up bare rock-faces I rarely go beyond the tree-line. I get vertigo just going upstairs on the bus.

This sketch was made, as you can see, just as the trees were thinning out and gasping for oxygen. Ach, no, that was me that was gasping given that I had never walked that semi-vertical route before from Corrie at sea level, up past High Corrie, and didn’t know there was a car-park half-way up!

Though I am not a Gaelic speaker I think Am Binnein  means ‘top, or apex, of the peak’. It certainly is an imposing lump of rock and I love the Gaelic place names that give me a deeper sense of their ancient Scottish history.