Issue 13 – Winter 2007 – Poetry from the West Coast of Scotland by Gerry Loose

Poetry from the West Coast of Scotland

Gerry Loose




how can it be said to be grasped & flowering here

clegs midges shield bugs dragonflies gnats earwigs wasps humblebees 
bumblebees honey bees

moles bankvoles harvest mice field mice pipistrelles wrens robins 
treecreepers buzzards woodpeckers brent geese herons

spotted orchid veronica harebell ragwort nettle sorrel docken tormentil 
ragged robin strawberry & that one I can’t name blue the colour of her 

Filipendula the sweetness of meadows Myosotis as if it could be 
forgotten Cirsium the farmer’s thistle Cirsium the common thistle

jowl & cheek Kuanyin Avalokitesvara Chenrezig Milarepa the nettle 
eater & the thousand armed one Kwannon

beings necessarily converting changing walking dwelling




wound-healer   horsetail     spenophyte   
midge-wakener   earth brush

all we have grows in this ditch   
equisetum   a 400 million year node


place another jet coal on the burning 
carefully with those wrought tongs   a

hard-pressed carboniferous fragment 
feel the green glow red in that ditch



Camellia japonica

such cold among stars
I’d like to hear with my eyes
pluck off my lit eyelids
& throw them
becoming blood 
red camellia petals


white noise & two icy nights
off this month’s tranquil moon
&  Arcturus’ light
forty years tangled 
in the river 
reaches the cold camellia


is the hot mind fast
as light or faster
cold truth slower 
than humble thought 
somewhere in  Kyoto
camellia flowers are falling



Clethra barbinervis

on the hill behind my hut, Dumgoyne’s the other side
a helicopter the size of a lightning blue damselfly
perhaps Coenagion puella, methodical, back & forth 
a pollinator in reverse spraying what will not grow next spring
to ripple the spine or widen the eye here

in recalling the hill behind your house
imagination perhaps recalls fragrance of the plant called ryoubu
that the nursery man calls Clethra barbinervis – it smells of privet
growing in humid heat above beyond twisting with the path
round shrines there

the clatter of the helicopter echoes across
the glen; teacher of silence the unmoving hinds know
of watching waiting listening



Akebia trifoliata

there’s a discourse here
this unknown plant argues

for me to eat its fruit
purple with black

seeds its own reason

four years growth in

a mouthful my life
grown to this point plant

& myself & you
move to a beginning




Every autumn we’re at Bowling
where cormorants crucify themselves
& kingfishers illuminate the wharf
to pick fleshed summers through
the blooding of thorns

in each room a thurible of long
hot childhood which we reduce & 
eat with spoons deep into snows
dark northern mornings with 
bread. With bread.



Huyuichigo / winter strawberry

where it all comes together as all things do as a wild strawberry which he 
& I find on that hill behind his house which is also the hill behind a 
temple which is the one another now gone recommended

where together we find a winter strawberry plant with its small fruit sweet 
& fresh January on this hill & I’m reminded of that path below my hut at 
Carbeth where each summer are sweet wild fruits of our own strawberry

where we find overlooked berries together with industrial revolutions 
they will bring low here on this little hill with 88 temples which casts its 
net wide in a way even together we cannot begin to name

where perhaps this is wisdom after all to not name strawberry huyuichigo 
but taste together & eyes meeting move on to a temple though we’re 
already there as we all are though we have forgotten

where together we find ourselves forgotten begetters of names & stories 
of our faces before birth & journeys on a little hill another node in that 
net where together we always are unnamed random

where it’s possible together there’s no need for tension or wisdom there is 
neither but long lines of sight rolling out from eyeballs lighting berries & 
red memory leaves always unnamed always visited

where it matters beyond measure that together there’s silence that there’s 
no measure that there are berries unnamed visited wisdom overlooked by 
us together where it is possible that this is



To simply sit for a while.

With this plant worlds brought

together. Redness on a child’s lip.

All children who discover

strawberries hidden in

mountains or on verges.

First faces remembered.

The only lullaby. & gone


from the deer path to my door

forty years splitting logs for fires eh

cuckoo sings her own name again again


easter sunday woken by a blue tit bat

tering trapped in my hut so the days pass




mice sleep in the bed when I’m a

way I don’t encourage them



blackbird & chaffinch sing darkening

day I stare stare mind absent ears



arms in rain fetching water from the standpipe stand

ing still sky rainbow sheets forming aching forgotten



birch & willow herb among roof moss nesting
blue tits in the chimney wall how short my stay here



one whole day watched sky

change from grey to blue



mushroom days put on overalls fix the gutters

at the front today yesterday fixed those at the back



buzzard delicately tilting wing to tip air

I pour a little water from the bowl overfilled



being time

the sense of the water of the oak

sense of the air in wood

knowledge of the oak in air

knowledge of oak in the wood

sense of knowledge in sense

the crow in the oak




song of the thrush

sense of sound on air

knowledge of tree space in thrush-song

thrush weight on the branch

thrush weight on air sense

song weight on air space




hearing slow rain in air

sound of air rained on

knowledge of hearing air

edging sense

movement hiss

smack of rain on leaves




hinds on the path

       /     no hinds on the path

sense of presence

sense of absence

knowledge of hind space

bracken moving




bedrock bulk hill of Dumgoyne

sense of no sky

sky colour in loch water

sense of no colour

water meets air     air meets sky

mute swan




digging wet earth under moss

wind moving bracken

no sound of wind

sense of wind

knowledge of hearing

knowledge of no-sound in muscle



Gerry Loose’s words are as likely to be found inscribed in garden or landscape settings as on the page. He’s been Poet in Residence at the Botanic Gardens of Glasgow & at Montpellier, France’s oldest botanic garden. His latest book is Printed on Water, New & Selected Poems (Shearsman 2007) & his online journal of the ancient Sunart oakwoods, where he is currently living, can be found at