Read a Poem

The Snow Moon

On the night the snowfields above the cottage
became bright maps of somewhere else,
we climbed up in the crump of each others’ boots.

Capstones of walls charcoaled the white.
The hawthorns prickled it. And a leaping trace below
a dyke was slots of ghost deer gone into the fells.

There were rags of sheep’s wool freezing on the barbs
and lean clouds dragged the roundness of the moon.
Jupiter shone steady to the south. It was so cold.

And the children threw snowballs, all the time.
My old coat took the muffled thump of them.

Night snow shirred our mittens with silk. We turned
for home, left our shouts hung out in the glittery dark.


This poem was inspired by a winter night some years ago in northern Dumfriesshire, when we realised the heavy snow was lit by a full moon at bedtime. So the whole family set off up the fells behind the cottage. It’s published in my second collection ‘How Time is in Fields‘ (IDP, 2019).