I’m often inspired by writers’ homes. This poem came from an afternoon at Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s country residence.



Walter Scott’s Garden, 2019


After the rain, I walk your trail.

Late-summer bees

buzz by barbed-wire leaves

and thistle-stems, wide as my thigh:

fistula heads, purple shocks

blazing a flat sky.


I see you at your writing desk

alone by a waning moon –

and your hand is curled

and your back is curled

and chieftains and kings are made,

thrashing their foes by loch and glen

by the flash of a deathly blade.


I think of you sipping a cup of tea

dressed in black with a watch and chain.

The mist of you through the window,

a bed of thistle-down.