‘Our tongues taste shapes and angles…’

Angus Dunn is a poet whose work examines and portrays the natural world with delicacy and careful observation.
‘Angus Dunn’s magical poetry lures us into a world where crows are fruit, the wind is a wire, the moon has a voice and weather holds memory. In effect all these poems are poems of love and each one serves to remind us that precisely because we have been granted everything, we can take nothing for granted’ – John Glenday

Extract from High Country
By Angus Dunn
Published by Sandstone Press

Stealing Away

Out on the moors,
where I had not walked for thirty years,
I found a skeleton
and thought of you.

I took its horns
I took its ears
I brought away the snails
that sat upon its skull.

From the wastes
of sphagnum,
peat and heather
I stole away
with cochleas, seashells
curling ferns
and piggy snouts.

And, though abstractions do not travel well,
I carried off
the logarithmic spirals –
the shapes that form
the galaxies,
and the precious wenteltrap.

Then, last of all,
(though there were only two)
I plucked the trumpet-lilies
from the fragile bones
and brought them back, for you.



 My friend Will tells me
that water has a memory –
the angle of the molecule
holds information.
So he says.

But I remember the light on the river –
river we called it.
The black peat water from the hills
is a dark burn flowing
through many years into the sea.

A drunk man gave us a bottle
and we drank the Sweetheart Stout,
fishing from the undercut bank.
The ancient eels in the black pool
tangled lines and stole hooks.

We’re mostly made of water, Will says.
Which of us, he asks,
has not felt a yearning passion
for a river, for a loch,
for a waterfall. I don’t reply.

Following the burn
on day-long explorations
looking for the source,
we came down from the hill
when the light was gone from the sky.

Years later, not looking for anything,
but resting high on a mountain,
I see a silver trickle running down
the face of the rock,
sinking into the damp black ground.

Our tongues taste shapes and angles,
Will says.
And when we drink
we taste the memories of the water.
I lick the wet rock. It just might be true.

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