Field sketch


On this mornings walk I heard skylarks, reminding me of the island of Sanday, and walking at the north end, at Tofts Ness, a place of neolithic dwellings, cattle, sheep, grass of parnassus and eyebright. Lying in the dunes, the fulmars would glide past, inches away, fixing you with a curious eye. And the skylarks would rise up from the fields singing until they disappeared from view. It is the edge of the world there.



Snow falls in the hills, a clouting bruise. At the eastern edge of the town a narrow path between the caravan park and the factory leads to the hert-scaud sea. Steel cables coil over drums. Pigeons, pipes, silos, cranes. Inky crows fight on rooftops. Offers of sex sharpied in blue on the wall of the Close as the wind skelps the hard to get to places, the nooks and crannies of the street, in tenement stairs, between stone and slate. Bus shelters huddle bodies, small, silent, as the town turns in on itself.