By Stuart A. Paterson

That sound outside, near Sandyhills bridge,
along Barnhourie Burn, a high wild wailing
winding down to a long low growl of echo,
has me up in my chair, neck hairs tight.

You’d tell me it’s a heron out on the scope
for sprats, perhaps a dog fox losing its head
to the vast dark freedoms of a Galloway night.

Part of me wishes you here with your
brush-off urban logic, dismissing
superstitious whims of banshees, bogles,
shades, you who are out there, somewhere,
unaccounted for too.

Yet part of me thrills, the part
still too unsure to rise & draw the curtains,
like a vole forced into the bright
desperation of winter moonlight
on untrammelled snow, fearfully
seeking proof of something other
than its tiny self on the go,
trembling, held somewhere terrible
between warm safety, hunger
& the old need-to-know.

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