Thursday 20 August 2015


The words below belong with the spoken word track - alternatively titled in a previous post as - NOT ALWAYS SAFE TO TOUCH

There's a bear across the river
Eating berries from a bush
If you rush to the kitchen window
You will see him 
I feel I could touch
His soft dark fur
If I reached out but
I must remember
It's not always safe to touch

It isn't safe to touch
Isn't always safe to touch
I would like to reach out but
It's not always safe to touch

There's a very small bird
Feeding from a flower
And if you rush to the kitchen window
You might see it before the shower
Of rain which is falling
Chases it away
Small birds when it's raining
Are inclined to fly away

There's love in my heart
As I tell you all this
A love that wasn't wanted
Less of real and more of myth

There's sadness in my soul
As I exit from this scene
Close my eyes to its beauty
Go back deep into my dream

That one day I will find again
The courage to be free
Of mistaking the real
In what I see

There's a light in the sky now
The rain has gone
And if you rush to be here with me
You'll hear my latest song
Which will tell you I m trying hard
To see what can be seen
And leave the rest to fade away
Fade into that dream
Of thinking that the hurts of old
Can always be healed
Can always through love 
Be mended and healed

There's a place in my heart that
Will always be for you
And if you rush to be beside me here
You'll see that it is true

As true as the bird
As the bear
As the rain
As true as I can 
never be
As lost in love again

The bear the bird 
Love and the rain
If you don't get here soon
They'll all have gone away

Wednesday 19 August 2015


Perhaps this spoken word track is more of a story than a song 
Entitled NOT ALWAYS SAFE TO TOUCH it is very new and has now been uploaded to Bandcamp 

The link is

The image is of a real bear with soft dark fur - as mentioned in the words 

                            Real bear with soft dark fur - as in a dream                      
The words were written down in the dark several nights ago and as such they feel more like a gift than something I made up
But I am glad to have got them The only change I made to the words I received was to omit two of them

Later they were recorded on the portable recorder which I have been trying to negotiate since I bought it several years ago And then they were professionally mastered 

This was my first attempt to produce a track of reasonable quality using this particular machine

The title is not set in stone and the words for the track can be found in the next post which uses the alternative of the THE BEAR THE BIRD LOVE AND THE RAIN  

Tuesday 18 August 2015


What is it about the place? I have asked myself the question so many times. This latest looking back is again in obeyance to the notion that doing so is likely to facilitate going forward - which is after all the decreed and generally accepted direction in which to travel

But if I am ever to have any sort of understanding of why I feel so strongly associated with Masset - for somehow it is the town itself which exerts the strongest pull - then I need to linger and to resist the urge to go anywhere but stay with the associated feelings and let them have their say

And paradoxically for that to happen in its own time I need to stop saying more and to move quietly aside while leaving the image below to make its contribution to finding an answer

The photograph was taken from the dock in Masset 
It was here that I first stepped on to the land of Haida Gwaii and it was from this viewpoint just a few days ago that I looked back towards the area of the town where I stayed for the majority of my time there

Monday 17 August 2015


This post is a crumb of a story in which I have the audacity to make reference to what - for example - Robert Bringhurst describes as a major classical literature 
To quote directly from his Introduction to Raven Travelling: Page One

'In Haida, what we have is nothing less than a major classical literature—one which would be admired worldwide if it were freed from the deadly combination of critical neglect and uncritical awe with which outsiders often respond to Native American intellectual and literary traditions'.

Many other references could be provided - each one likely to enthrall - but that is not the purpose of this post and I want to avoid wandering into an area of knowledge in a way that might imply a lack of respect for the Haida language and culture

For this is just a brief account of what for me was a magical moment - of the sort that comes your way only once in a while and which feels special - although hard to define 
And I accept that my magic may be your mundane 

In the weeks leading up to my journey to Haida Gwaii I chose to use two images of clouds to accompany words which were, for me, of a particularly poignant kind One was of clouds over the Rockies and one was of clouds over Tlell

And with these images still warm in my mind, here is what happened when I was: -

On a bed
With a book
In a room
On an island

The book was Small Birds Cling to Bare Branches: nesting song birds on Haida Gwaii by Margo Hearne

I had the book open at the page preceding the Foreword where, in a frame, was text with the title How Shining Heavens Caused Himself to be Born

It referred to a story told by Walter McGregor of the Sealion town people to J.R Swanton during his visit to Haida Gwaii during the winter of 1900-1901 

And it tells how (and here I am quoting Margo Hearne - with her permission) 'the Creator, Master Carpenter, adopted a child found in a cockleshell by the Chief of Dju's daughter. The daughter and the Creator raised the child together. When the child grew up he created the elements'. 

But the actual words I was reading as the wren flew into the room - a few feet in front of me - before landing on a desk to my right -  were those from the first part of the story (again it is the version as presented in the book by Margo Hearne)

(The youth) went out from his mother's house wearing his wren skin
He said, "Look Mother, look at me."
Then his Mother went out after him.
He sat as broad high cumulus clouds over the ocean. His mother looked.
Then he came in and asked his mother, "Did I look well?"
"Yes, chief my son, you looked well."

And this is how the clouds were created

But before the story ends similar actions involving a blue-jay skin and a woodpecker skin - and their part in creating the sky and the sunset - are described

Much more about the story as told by Walter McGregor can be found on numerous sites but I am choosing to leave the search to those who are genuinely motivated to learn more

However, as someone with limited knowledge of the subject, I admit to having enjoyed reading Matthew Spellberg's article in the Los Angeles Review of Books 
And for this the link is

Information on J.R. Swanton can be found using the following link

With no image of a wren, a very recent photograph of a humming bird (taken on Haida Gwaii) is being presented in its place Considering its size and name it is surely an apt replacement

And for anyone wishing a closer to look at this particular small bird  

Sunday 16 August 2015


A brief comment on my previous use of cloud images. It has been explained by a wren who flew into my room several days ago
There is a story to be told about a story that was told many years ago
And it will be retold in a few days time

Saturday 15 August 2015



This is the house that belonged to the Scotsman who inspired the song Mr Moon It has apparently been owned by many different people since he decided to return to his native land - and to Edinburgh, the town where he was born, in the late 1980's (?)

The song has been played often on several different radio stations and there is a lyric video on you tube at 
Also in that version - during the playing of the bridge - there are some words about Alex and an experience he had during the Second World War

They are similar to those which are presented below

This song was written for Alex Rutherford, a Scotsman I knew in Canada, who had fought in Africa during the Second World War After being given the task of shovelling his best friend out of a blown up tank he found himself standing alone in the desert addressing the moon which was particularly clear that night. From then on whenever life was hard for him he would tell the moon about it

There are two versions of the track and both were arranged at a studio in Glasgow Scotland One of them features Fraser Spiers on blues harp and I continue to feel honoured that he agreed to work on this song as well as several others

The version without Fraser is the fifth track on the CD CUT FEET AND EMPTY SHOES and if you would like to try it out the link is

And now having relocated the Fraser Spiers version this has been up-loaded onto Bandcamp separately as a single The link for this one is

Friday 14 August 2015


Two days after posting WALTER- AND THE WREN AGAIN, a plate, recently forgotten about, is noticed on a shelf alongside some books 
For several years it has been carefully stored in a cupboard but last year it was brought out and used as a container for an assortment of horse chestnuts - some in their cases, some having pushed their way out  - like conkers being born

But memories associated with the plate were immediately aroused It had been a gift from the man spoken of in the comments which accompany the track LOWLANDS AWAY on Bandcamp 

And from some of the text around the rim I was reminded, although I was not altogether certain, that the plate was about the wren 

But what were all the words and what, if anything was underneath them 
And before removing the chestnuts to find out I took a photograph 


And after placing the chestnuts in a paper bag I take another photograph

And having got this far I need, for my own reasons, to say that, as far as I am aware, I was not on the look out for more about wrens - for more anything about wrens - although I am open to thinking that information about wrens might have been looking for me

The track LOWLANDS AWAY is not at all polished It has been mastered but not arranged and leaving aside my rather low key performance it is a beautiful song It can be heard on Bandcamp at

There is nothing more to be said just now about the man who made the gift However I have begun writing about the last time I was with him and hope it will be continued 

The plate was made by John and Jennifer Davies: Potters of Tlell Haida Gwaii

Information on conkers and horse chestnuts can be accessed using the links below