climate | Scotland | action | writing

Paperboats Zine

The urge to explore and celebrate all the kinds of lives of Planet Earth is stronger than ever, but the environmental and ecological crisis demands we also lift our eyes, and our voices, to species extinction and habitat loss, to what is happening to the forests and hills, the rivers and seas, our streets and gardens. The writer’s instinct to pay attention has never been more vital. Literature can help us to see the natural world – and our place in it – differently.


Iced over loch

Imagine a world without ice

Imagine endless blue, imagine an absence dumb

with extinction – polar bear, penguin, walrus, whale –

unfrozen oceans where once you could walk from


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Dinosaur footprint in rock

Dinosaur Valley

Sic a drouth, watters recede

tae kythe fitdunts lang hidden,

merks left bi the clauts

o muckle craiturs plowterin

in a shallae sea

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Fox in a park

Sly Bold Reynardine

It was four o’clock in the late summer morning, still full dark now that the nights were stretching again but greying a little towards dawn.

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Top of a tower

Royal Funeral, 2022

I want a protocol for the end

of Eurasian Starlings – clipped tones,

pronouncements and on the grouse moors

well-cured skins should hang at half mast,

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Fieldfares at rest

Hurtled from high Blamanen by Bergen

to this resting-field at my door,

where they catch breath for the next flight.

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River with dense riparian vegetation

The Black Burn

The Black Burn’s origins were dark and mysterious. It emerged ten feet broad and several inches deep from between two hedges of scruffy hawthorn

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Revisiting the Forest Walk

Years since we walked this way. We’ve forgotten

the landmarks; loggers

have cleared much of the woodland.

Bald slopes are littered with tree-trash.

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Old woodland

I dreamt a wood

in which I was lost, carrying

a colourless cloud of grief

in a close half-dark. Roots grasped at me;

moss underfoot was radioactive green.

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Sycamore leaves in sunlight


Each autumn our small suburban garden is filled with sycamore seeds. They helicopter down from a mature tree on the green space

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Loch in the highlands

Limits of Language

The coca-cola water of this river

pours and pools in sudden calm

between the rocky arms of land,

and here an otter coils

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Flock of geese


We heard them long before we saw

the squabblers hove into view one night,

white bellied geese, lit from below

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