This piece faetures a poem written many years ago following a walk up a hill near Colintraive, on Argyll’s ‘Secret Coast’. Chris was driving home from a meeting on the island of Bute, after a stressful day. Winter was just being pushed back by early spring, and suddenly he wanted to be outside, so stopped the car and headed upwards. This ceramic framed picture was created for an exhibition which celebrated the ‘secret coast’, and includes the outline of a map of the coastline.
We are offering this picture at a discount, as we appreciate that many of you will not know the beautiful location that it refers to- after all, it is a ‘secret’!
Here is the poem
The road from Colintraive
With all the optimism of the early spring
I turned the car from the road home and looked to the hill
Taking the camera more for motivation I head for the high point over the Kyle.
I feel the old excitement in the smell of wild places
All around I can almost hear the soil coming alive
The whisper of the wind in the larches sounds like blood flowing
And, unconcerned as my unsuitable shoes take on water,
I climb through heather and the old years dry grass
Up through ancient Gneiss outcrops
Still holding the shape of their birth in lava poured out in days so distant
That there seems no point calculating.
My feet cut into slow growing mossbanks
And scatter the stalks of bracken
And in the moment, I fear that I bring a human rhythm,
In this place unwelcome, discordant
Drowning out the stillness
Oil on water
I notice blackened heather stalks swept by fire
Perhaps lit by a smouldering cigarette last summer
And remember that this place is everywhere marked by men
Close cropped by the sheep, the land curves towards
The regimented contour crop of Spruce trees in the valley below
And half hidden, there is the evidence of older dwelling places
Now memories in the soil
Barcodes in bracken and dead nettle
Feeding on the residual richness
Leached from these poor houses
Whose people drained away.
Then perspective shifts again
To the far horizons
Across the sparkling Kyle lies Bute
Then beyond, Arran’s hills rise above Lochranza
Still wearing winter white against the blue sky
I stood and gloried.
Awed by things much bigger than I
By creative forces far beyond my understanding
But by Gods grace
Not beyond my reach
Blessing received, I take photographs recording only human spectral light
Then scramble back to shiny car, and head, too fast, for home
Anxious to see my loved ones
Eager for my own slice of civilisation.
© Chris Goan