Staunin Stanes


Thir are those
Wha seek meanin
In the alignment 
O staunin stanes.

Wha line up
The stars an mune
An track the shaddies
Imprintit by the sun.

Thir are ithers
Wha accept a mystery
Fir whit it is,
Beyon an answer,

Perhaps it is eneuch
To staun an look
Within these places.
The stanes become

Question merks
Embedded in
The deep pages 
O the lanscape.

Sumtimes, wi can
Dig too deep,
An tapple too
Mony unknowns.

This is space eneuch
Tae leave alane,
Tae wunner an dream,
As wi search

Fir yon lane stane
We ken is oot there,
But is alwise
Jist oot o reach.
                                                                  Derek Ross

Jerhico Loch

Jerhico Loch

Small waves crackle
along the loch edge.
Small waves,
but deep enough
to douse
all those doubts
that simmer.

We are calm,
our eyes warmed
by the flicker
of sun on water,
and there!,
the flash
of a dragonfly.

Who knew?
The loch could hold
so many stars,
Who knew?
we could glimpse
the spark between
grass tip and air.



Light hides
amongst the trees,
drawing us in
to seek it out.

We step though
a shadowland,
watching the world,

Then, there it is,
bright and clear.
a glint in the eye,                                                                                                    
a sparkle.

We have found
our way again,
The light was there
all the time.

The Blacksmith

The Blacksmith

Shadows chase across the faces
of my children. The forge is lit,
flames spit to the bellows breath.
Buried in the fire, metal melts,
soon I shall fashion                                                                                                              
another sword for Urien.

My wife cradles our youngest life,
she is troubled but hides it well.
Like her mother, she has the gift
of far-sight, claims to see visions
being played out                                                                                                                          in the dancing flames.

I have no time for such notions!
I have a King to arm, children to feed!
My hammer falls, pounds
at my growing fear.
Yesterday, she looked into the forge
and saw only fire!

The Fishermans’ Wife

The Fisherman’s Wife

Pity the fisherman’s wife
who grieves by Merin Rheged.
The sea has devoured her life,
a husband and three sons drowned
by a storm that feasted a full
four days. Now, even the gulls
mourn, and the waves weep
upon the broken shore.

See, how she picks her way
through the bleached bones of driftwood.
Eyes ever seaward, hair streaming
like seaweed at the tide’s turn.
What can we offer her? Only
the warmth of our eyes, our quiet pity.
Wrapped in her pride, she walks the edge,
wearing her tears like jewels.

(Merin Rheged = Solway Firth)

The Wise Woman

The Wise Woman

They call me the wise woman of the wood,
That I hold the secrets of the ancients.
I belong to no cult or sisterhood,
I just see the forest for what it is.
Many here are jealous of what I know,
The same people who call me pagan!
Yet, they still come to me with their woes, 
Faith in their God is easily shaken!

Some Rosemary, perhaps, to chase nightmares?
Saint James Wort to ease your bruises and banes?
Chamomile to soften a headache?
A touch of Hemlock to dull a pain?

Tonight, I’ll face south at sunset, and while
The world sleeps, I’ll gather in … and smile.

(Herbs picked whilst facing south at midnight, were thought to be more potent. An interesting concept!)



In his longhouse in Caer Ligualid,
A figure stands by a smouldering hearth.
This is Urien,
                      Son of Cynfarch Oer
                      Son of Meirchian Gul
                      Son of Cenain
                      Son of Coel Hen
                      King of Rheged.
He is staring at the rising sparks,                                                                                                       Imagining figures forming in the smoke.
There is his lady, 
                           Morgan de Fay.
His sons,

Urien looks up,
Watching his family drift
Up to the dark roof timbers,
And wonders if this
Is what we all become,
Nothing but spirit and ashes,
A flickering of memory.

He fingers the cross
Around his neck.
His eyes seek the ravens
On the shield by the door.
He walks towards the light,
Crosses over the threshold,
And steps into his world.

(Caer Ligualid = Carlisle)