The ruins of Polmaddy, a traditional Galloway ferm-toun (farming village), can still be seen in a clearing of Castlemaddy Wood (just of the A713 nr Carsphairn). Changes in farming in the 18th and 19th centuries led to the abandonment of many such small farm villages in the area. The earliest reference to Polmaddy was in the 16th centur


If words have ghosts,
they are wandering these fields,
whispering of an absent town
and lives that could last no longer.

If names have hearts,      
Polmaddy's has been broken                                                                                          
by the bitterest cut of all.
It lost its reason to be.

If stones have souls,
then let these ones rest in peace.
They had their time, let them settle
into the earth of their story


Polmaddy, stones in an open field,
Braille for a low sun’s fingers, waiting
For the light to trace it’s pages.

There’s the pack road, almost rubbed out,
And there, the inn, the house of stories.
That thin line, the mill race where water flowed
To turn the wheel that fed them all.

Two houses side by side, to share
Warmth and the gossip of the day.
Here and there, clearance cairns, where fields
Were opened and furrows written.

Now the sun goes down, closing
The covers on another day, leaving
Only silence and words in the dark.

By photos,poetry and haiku by Derek Ross

I am a photographer/ poet from Dumfries in South West Scotland. I concentrate on minimalist images and prefer using an iPhone these days. As far as my writing is concerned, I usually write short poems (some in Scots dialect), hence my interest in haiku and related forms.


  1. Your poems really struck a chord because we have the same evidence of abandoned farms and villages in New Hampshire and Vermont–although the landscape is very different from that of your haunting photographs.


    1. Thanks Liz and greetings from Scotland. there are plenty ruins in this country (myself included)! This part of Scotland suffered from the Lowland Clearances which were just as devastating as the Highland Clearances which are more famous. I’ll Google your part of the world for these abandoned villages etc, sounds interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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