The Ruin


Unroofed in 1864

There is this ruin standing proud
as ruins do, in unloved isolation
high, high on the Highland ‘fain’
(a ‘barren place’ to Gaels).
It draws the traveller’s eyes afar
on the road from the Braemore turn
midst all the autumn tints, grey black
close by a newborn tumbling burn -
tears from the face of An Shallack*

No one I know remembers whose
strong arms once quarried, shaped
and lifted heavy stone on stone, or why,
and no one knows this ruin’s name
though many costly cameras click
it from safe roadside car parks:
‘That unlived house bereft of door’,
when asked, a Highlander remarks,
‘Stood there unroofed in 1864’.


*phonetic:
(the mountain named) An Teallach

I completed this pastel and poem a few weeks ago. Actually my client, the commissioning lady who already has two other of my originals, took one long look and rejected it as being 'the wrong view'. Having assured her that it is perfectly OK to accept or reject something you intend to be looking at for all the years to come I ascertained what would be 'the right view'. I will shortly have another go. But on her way out of our cottage she turned and said, 'I expect you'll be saying that was the customer from hell'. I said no, we would not. And meant it.

Meantime I have started another painting. One I have been mentally composing for some time: Badachro Inn and Bay. It's looking good - in my mind, that is. Hope the hand obeys the mind!

p.s.. Anyone fancy paying £480 for a framed original?

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