Landscape outside Glasgow
(for David Donaldson)

Good David, did you sit among
so much hay, and not encounter
Culicoides impunctatus, we know
better as the Highland midge,
and did you know it likes the cold,
can outlive bats and birds in icy
winters, still come back to bite

But, wee lad fae a workin toun,
wha pentit royalty (‘wee bastard’
as you dub yourself, ‘bairned up
a close in Coatbrig’), when you
touched canvas with a brush, it
opened up a dialogue between
the seeing eye and what was in
the space you framed and filled,
those stacks, the cart, and how
the field slopes out between full
trees, toward, beyond a distant
regiment of stooks, low hills, and
yon thin blue moisture in the sky:
late summer’s warmth is bright

What’s manmade’s still, but joy is
in its tendered dance of colours,
no hard labour’s in this clement
sheet of gentle narratives. While
human breath is absent from the
scene, the spirit sows rich thought
that grows in silence, fecund song

Aonghas MacNeacail