'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane; ...quite literally a ramble down it...

The memories of Achiltibuie and North West Scotland triggered recall of a narrative poem I scribbled when I had stayed there, November 1983...you may wish to grab a cuppa tea and biccie. It's lengthy.

A walker enters the West coast day,
a fine, crisp, autumn morning
whose dawn has been
as sharp and clear as the purest glass.
Vastly, the air is breathed - 
hitting the lungs with the tingling
of a myriad icy shards.

The wand'rer's dress is warm and waterproof;
flasked soup and vitals packed,
camera on shoulder slung.
Mountain and hill tops lie wrapped white,
granted lacy mantles
from a sky now wiped and freshened
by the previous stormy night.

The rambler briskly sets a line
over stagnant bogs, decaying land;
heather blacked with age:
weather having turned to mires the peat.
Brief, rocky tables thrust
free of root and clod, providing
welcome rest for dampened feet.

The intruder now is pelted softly
by rounded, frozen raindrops;

albino fairies jigging.
A nearby gushing stream, enthusiastically
nearing journey's end,
forces itself upon the
saline mother of its history.

At water's edge great slanting slabs,
scored and etched as parquetted floors,
unable to defend,
slide beneath the lips of surflet waves.
Lapping liquid taking
its cumbersome toll of the
basalt with which its rim is paved.

Watching this, the walker feels warmth
from the low-slung autumn sun;
gold and silver light enthralls.
As boulders display their rainbow skins
the camera is drawn,
wielded by the observer
and the framing of time begins.

Clambering onto some higher shelves,
sheer beauty brings a halt -
glistening rock, swirling sea.
A perch is found whilst soup is drunk.
The eyes take in trawlers
(c) Yamini Ali MacLean
sheltering from their labours,
safely at rest with anchors sunk.

From that far harbour the tiring sun glides
along the seas length, which
is lichen-covered stone,
becoming jade crystal at shore's meeting.
Graceful gulls leave little
trace of passing; the shags
whip the crests to froth with their fleeting.

Moving on, this lone soul treads
a strand, brightly gold against
the surrounding duns.
Sandpipers, redshanks and oysercatchers
mingle with the councilling
gulls, mutualy ignored and
blind to the crouching watcher,

who, wishing to attend, approaches;
but a plaintive wail goes up -
"Aaaaalien! Aaaaaalien!" setting
to flight their wings. Pouring down abuse
upon the encroacher
the airborne seek solace
on the gentle swell, there to muse.

So, spotted, the walker crosses
to the farther rocky bank,
passing by a carcass,
sure this was no natural demise;
for the slender throat was torn 
and the sockets now were
empty where once had sat the eyes.

The water tugs and pulls at it
but the sandy grains fight back,
desperate for possession.
The great grey-black frame of the gull
is no longer magnificent,
for death has wrecked the wings,
wantonly turned the feathers dull.

Territorial disagreement
must have been the killer, as
infringement of mating
rights; but his place will soon be filled,
the mourning and the
memory of his passing short-lived,
as is the habit of the wild.

Further along the land's edge the
walker sits again upon
a much-barnacled stone.
Making room beneath nature's wall,
the restless ocean eats
her way inland, stretching;
causing even granite cliffs to fall.

lulled into meditation, the
watcher becomes aware of 
being watched.  A sleek head,
dog-like but ear-less, guilelessly peers
at the thinker who,
scarcely daring to breath, is
moved by this presence to shed a tear.

Diving below the surface, the 
sea dweller rises again
some distance away.
"Grey seal, grey seal, show yourself once more!"
The entranced observer calls as it sinks twice, thrice.
"Grey seal, grey seal, visit me ashore!"

The caressing plea is unheard
for the whispered words are caught
up in the homeless breeze,
freezing them, carrying them away.
Knowing this, the walker
looks up, notes the dipping 
sun which precedes the close of day.

The eyes drop to the see-saw dancer
going on regardless of
the audience it draws.
Shoulders appear as the seal grows bold;
flipping onto its back
the fins are shown and the
thick, spotted coat which bans the cold.

Too soon the time for departure
presses; the sea turns to
pewter with the gloaming.
Beauty brings its own heartfelt pain,
for it too must be left 
behind, like those moments
of sadness and sorrow and rain.

Heaving the body back uphill
the walker's mind remains
encapsuled in that scene,
at one with all. Hearing a song,
the body turns to claim
the mind; sees the one seal
become two, now the intruder is gone.

(c) Yamini Ali MacLean


  1. Some beautiful, precise and evocative imagery there.
    And not enough poets have tackled the experience of walking through bogs! I love
    'Brief rocky tables thrust
    free of root and clod, providing
    welcome rest for dampened feet'

  2. What a Lovely poem... it filled my mind with the sights and experiences as only a GOOD writer can.

  3. It's a lovely bit of writing but it paints a cold and rocky landscape for me, I prefer warm sun on my back and very even ground to walk on.

  4. Beautiful, very vivid!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  5. Mum got that cuppa and a biccie before reading this to me. I got nothing!! Is that fair?? Crikey Aunty ...... is there anything you CAN'T do?? Mum was enthralled ..... I was bored but I think that's a whippet thing. How the heck could you pass by a carcass?? I'd NEVER do that. You can play with 'em you know. You toss 'em in the air for a bit and run around with 'em in your mouth before having a bit of a chew and if they are old enough you can always roll on 'em and that magnificent perfume lasts for days. What were you thinkin'? Passing it by, indeed!!
    Mum said to tell you that earless dog would have brought a tear to her eye too.
    She also kept mutterin' something about talent. Don't know what that was about but it must have been your talent cause she's got none that she's aware of.
    Go easy on the framin' of time too, aye??

  6. 'Scribbled' me arse! You are witty and clever with words.


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