February 2017 - Alastair Williamson

Alastair Williamson

I was born in 1949 in Edinburgh and educated in New Malden and Edinburgh schools and at St Andrew’s University.  After a disastrous foray into teaching English in Fife, my career was largely in insurance in central Scotland. My wife and I moved to Bridge of Allan over 30 years ago. With two grown up children and having retired from work 4 years back, I now enjoy walking the fine countryside with my wife and friends.  My Christian upbringing and church membership are an important part of my make-up and thinking. Like many around me I am concerned about our world, its politics, people and environment.                                                                                                                               

I began writing verses as a teenager and stopped during early adulthood, writing resumed after some years and I have collated some 280 pieces, written mainly for personal reasons and shared with family or friends rather than published.  In my writing, I explore the age-old aspects of mankind dwarfed by Nature; love and faith.  


Marvelling Laughter

Dying chords of song, poppies wave
By the grassy wall foot tumbled;
Sky blue chicory stars gaze
Up as electric bright convolvulus stumbles
Over the stony verge of warming day.

Stopping beneath almond trees
That full-stop shade red plots,
We spot snails swarming spikes of fennel, like bees
Alighting, dazed by wild thyme, around some ruined cotts.

Then to stride on, blanketed by heat
That makes this new treescape sleep
Like ragged, dusty sheep in the fig tree shadow ball 
And tiny woodland birds cease their chirping call;
To step over tumbled wall or broken kiln
And stand, emerged from trees, surveying with a thrill
The bright blue treasure trove of sea,
Casketed by golden cliffs, with jutting, rocky handle
Through which the cobalt swell can, rolling, amble,
A massy arch of stone framing air and water,
“Heaven’s gate”, they say, ‘midst marvelling laughter.

A second portal exists, perhaps,
Groping skywards from storm-gnawed cliffs so swirled,
Like tube-squeezed terracotta paint, they will collapse.
This second gate stretches up, a flag unfurled
So “daring-do” can rope themselves to climb,
May even risk an early heaven call before their time.

Is that the way to reach our final worldly stop,
The last trek by twisting path and star-mapped heading,
Guided by some who know the ultimate destination
We reach late; is that how it is, through Heaven’s gate?

WAM Williamson May 2016
On walking through woods to the ocean
Northern Ibiza