Before The Flame

January 29, 2017


Candles are we before the flame,
Receiving the flame, but not higher,
We are fashioned to serve the flame,
And the flame will serve the fire.

Bruce Mundhenke


January 29, 2017


Bookshops are infested with ideas. Books are quivering, murmuring creatures.

Rodrigo Rey Rosa
trans. Chris Andrews



January 28, 2017


Talking about me again

January 28, 2017


You should give this a try

January 28, 2017


Only by Cunning Glimpses

January 28, 2017


Diary 26th January

Grey, cloudy day. Cold wind, too. Coming straight off of the arctic wastes.

The cottages on fore street all have smoking chimneys today. The cottage next door to corner-cottage pumps thick black-grey smoke from its chimney; the smoke swirls in the strong gusts of wind and fogs the street near the farm shop. Coal smoke, I think it is, but it really stinks and catches unpleasantly in my chest. The wind takes your breath away, but the smoke kills you…

In the farm shop I purchase a bottle of red wine, some dark chocolate for C and some soft baps for lunch.


The old mine workings nearby are a ruined labyrinth of pleasures. You can see a few trees about them: Hawthorn, Grey Willow the odd Rowan. Moss-covered stones and ruined mine-buildings abound. The path you walk on is the old railway bed and it runs for miles. There are rare liverwort and moss species growing around here. Spoil and spree, the environmental catastrophe of an earlier age, grow up to right and left of you. Maidenhair Spleenwort, Black Spleenwort, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Common Heather, mosses, liverworts, and Wild Strawberry all grow in the gaps of the stonework in these ruined engine houses. Horse Shoe bats use the buildings as an hibernation site in winter time…

Orkney/This Life

January 27, 2017

It is big sky and its changes,
the sea all round and the waters within.
It is the way sea and sky
work off each other constantly,
like people meeting in Alfred Street,
each face coming away with a hint
of the other’s face pressed in it.
It is the way a week-long gale
ends and folk emerge to hear
a single bird cry way high up.

It is the way you lean to me
and the way I lean to you, as if
we are each other’s prevailing;
how we connect along our shores,
the way we are tidal islands
joined for hours then inaccessible,
I’ll go for that, and smile when I
pick sand off myself in the shower.
The way I am an inland loch to you
when a clatter of white whoops and rises…

It is the way Scotland looks to the South,
the way we enter friends’ houses
to leave what we came with, or flick
the kettle’s switch and wait.
This is where I want to live,
close to where the heart gives out,
ruined, perfected, an empty arch against the sky
where birds fly through instead of prayers
while in Hoy Sound the ferry’s engines thrum
this life, this life, this life.

Andrew Greig

follow like a witch-fire

January 27, 2017


Yes, oh, God, Robin was beautiful. I don’t like her, but I have to admit that much: sort of fluid blue under her skin, as if the hide of time had been stripped from her, and with it, all transactions with knowledge. A sort of first position in attention; a face that will age only under the blows of perpetual childhood. The temples like those of young beasts cutting horns, as if they were sleeping eyes. And that look on a face we follow like a witch-fire. Sorcerers know the power of horns; meet a horn where you like and you know you have been identified. You could fall over a thousand human skulls without the same trepidation.

Djuna Barnes