Sixty-plus years of living in Scotland, sixty-plus years of loving the land, trying to express my feelings through words, art and song.
I have always loved the fringes of the land; the places land users have forgotten, laid aside or given over to wind-breaking treelines. These places are not akin to city fringes where abandoned concrete, steel and brick rot in silent no-man-land fear. No, these rural places hold the silence of ancient soil where chiselled toothless stones sink into the ground, returning to their womb. These are the places where trees grow, break, rot, root anew. These are the places where sheep rest, where birds nest and wind blows unceasingly. Here may be an abandoned farm road, a disused rail track, a crumbling crofter’s cottage, a shelter-belt to blunt the wind. Here bright tearing gorse, brittle purple heather, soft blue scabious, yielding green moss and shy blaeberries cover the earth. Shy creatures travel and rest in this wild highway. There is invitation here. Even in the car driving by, I feel it. There is an aspect, a combination of trunk, grass, stone that says – here, here I am. Among the twisting grey pathways of the combustion engine, clustered along ridge, dyke or hidden valley, something grave and natural calls – stop, listen, rest. Here I sense deep calm patience. Here I hear the voice of the wind. Here crows craw, wrens peep and sometimes, water runs clear. Here, I find connection.
Fringes © Lorraine Goodison 2020
Inspired by a seed of thought,
touched lightly by memory of land,
I take myself out, seeking
There must be heather,
the give and take of dank peat soil,
the rough solitude of moorland.
This is the essence of the call.
My spirit says yes – this and this and
the gentle spring sun are what I need.
And when I find it,
I shall drum.
I Shall Drum © Lorraine Goodison 2019