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Wildlife & Landscape Photographs

Red Squirrel in Scatwell Forest

Red Deer Stag scenting the air

Red Deer Stag in Winter

Red Deer Hind alert to danger

Wild Rabbit

Mute Swans

Atlantic Puffin on Handa Island

Guillemots on Handa Island

Red Admiral Butterfly

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies

Black Darter dragonfly

Male Sparrowhawk at kill

Oystercatchers in flight

Scardroy sunset

Rogart

Strathconon

Strathconon

Loch Meig in Strathconon

Scatwell Farm sunset

Beauly Firth in Winter

Ullapool from Morefield Brae

Loch Hourn in August

Arnisdale on Loch Hourn

Early morning on Loch Achonachie, Strathconon

Wildlife Poems

Here is a selection of wildlife and nature poetry.
Please contact us with any other poems you would like to see included.

In memory of Tess, a loyal friend and companion for over 13 years, and a member of the Wildlife & Countryside Services team - she is sadly missed
Adopted April 1992, Died 27th July 2005

Tess, Belgian Shepherd, loyal friend and companion of Martin Bailey, adopted April 1992 in Dumfries & Galloway, died 27th July 2005 in Llanfair Talhaiarn, North Wales. May she sleep peacefully beneath the wildflower meadow

Old dog.
Why do you stay so near?
Go lie in the sun and drowse.
You needn't follow my every step,
And jump up when I appear.
Your joints are stiff;
You've earned a rest;
Lived your life well;
Passed every test.
And now you're very dear.

Old dog.
Why do you stay so near?
You lie close to my side
Each time I pause,
Head in my lap, alert to hear
Every nuance of my voice. You long ago made your choice
And never once looked to the rear.

Old dog.
Why do you stay so near?
What is it that you hear?
A far-off call, coming closer,
That I, too, know is there?
With each day our time together
Draws nearer to its end.
Please stay a while, old friend!


(Given to me by a close friend)

THE COMMON CORMORANT

The common cormorant (or shag)
Lays eggs inside a paper bag,
You follow the idea, no doubt?
It's to keep the lightning out.

But what these unobservant birds
Have never thought of, is that herds
Of wandering bears might come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

-- Christopher Isherwood

JABBERWOCKY

’T WAS brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’T was brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe

-- Lewis Carroll

Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots, on the Approach of Spring

Now nature hangs her mantle green
On every blooming tree,
And spreads her sheets o' daisies white
Out o'er the grassy lea:
Now Phoebus cheers the crystal streams,
And glads the azure skies;
But nought can glad the weary wight
That fast in durance lies.

Now laverocks wake the merry morn,
Aloft on dewy wing;
The merle, in his noontide bow'r,
Makes woodland echoes ring;
The mavis mild wi' mony a note,
Sings drowsy day to rest:
In love and freedom they rejoice,
Wi' care nor thrall opprest.

Now blooms the lily by the bank,
The primrose down the brae;
The hawthorn budding in the glen,
And milk-white is the slae:
The meanest hind in fair Scotland
May rove their weet amang;
But I, the Queen of a' Scotland,
Maun lie in prison strang.

I was the Queen o' bonnie France,
Where happy I hae been;
Fu' lightly rase I in the morn,
As blythe lay down at e'en:
And I'm the overeign of Scotland,
And mony a traitor there;
Yet here I lie in foreign bands,
And never-ending care.

But a for thee, thou false woman,
My sister and my fae
Grim vengeance yet shall whet a word
That thro' thy soul shall gae:
The weeping blood in woman's breast
Was never known to thee;
Nor th' balm that drap on wound of woe
Frae woman's pitying ee.

My son! my son! may kinder stars
Upon thy fortune shine;
And may those pleasures gild thy reign,
That ne'er wad blink on mine!
God keep thee frae thy mother's faes,
Or turn their hearts to thee:
And where thou meet'st thy mother's friend,
Remember him for me!

O! soon, to me, may summer-suns
Nae mair light up the morn!
Nae mair, to me, the autumn winds
Wave o'er the yellow corn!
And in the narrow house o' death
Let winter round me rave;
And the next flow'rs that deck the spring
Bloom on my peaceful grave!

-- Robert Burns

Ballad of The Forest

Wiley fox darts through the foliage,
Turns to fix me with a gaze,
As I wander through the forest,
In the clouds of morning haze.

I feel a sense of bravery,
My inner fears lead me to roam,
Inspiring me to venture,
Into the deepest dark unknown.

As I wander amidst my demons,
The creatures of the dark,
I am carried by the drummer,
The beating of my heart.

Shafts of light spear through treetops,
Illuminating every step,
The aura of the season,
Golden mist upon each breath.

Wading through the fern,
My modern values come undone,
I feel primal as I wander,
In the presence of the sun.

Mother Nature sings its ode,
In a symphony of light,
And it echoes through my soul,
Giving reason to this life.

By David Cannon
[email protected]

"LEISURE"

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

By Wm. Henry Davies.
(Wm. Henry Davies (1871-1940) was born in Newport, Wales, and then went to America and lived the life of a vagabond.
One day, as the result of jumping a train, he lost one of his legs.
Davies returned to England where he continued to live the life of a tramp and a pedlar.
He wrote poetry and, eventually, he determined to print his own book and did so with the little money he earned.
A copy of this first work, A Soul's Destroyer, came into the hands of George Bernard Shaw; which, in turn, led to the popularisation of the poet.

The Lesser Lynx

The laughter of the Lesser Lynx
Is often insincere:
It pays to be polite, he thinks,
If Royalty is near.

So when the Lion steals his food
Or kicks him from behind,
He smiles, of course - but oh, the rude
Remarks that cross his mind!

E V Rieu
(Sent in by Rod Bell)
Hear a musical version

The Hills of Dream

The tide of noon is upon the hills.
Amid leagues of purple heather, of pale amethyst ling, stand isled great yellow-lichened granite boulders, fringed with tawny bracken.

In the vast dome of blue there is nought visible save a speck of white, a gannet that drifts above the invisible sea. And through the hot tide of noon goes a breath as of the heart of flame.

Far off, far off, I know dim hills of dream, and there my heart suspends as a white bird longing for home: and there, oh there, is a heart of flame, and the breath of it is as the tide of noon upon these hills of dream.

Fiona Macleod
From the Hills of Dream - 1902

Martin Bailey and Tess, in the oak and hazel woodlands of Anglesey, looking for red squirrels
Martin Bailey and Tess, in the oak and hazel woodlands of Anglesey, looking for red squirrels

THE TIGER

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

-- William Blake

ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS

FAIR fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o’need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin’, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ hands will sned,
Like taps o’ trissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
Gie her a haggis!

-- Robert Burns

The Redbreast and the Butterfly

Art thou the Bird whom Man loves best,
The pious Bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin;
The Bird that comes about our doors
When Autumn winds are sobbing?
Art thou the Peter of Norway Boors?
Their Thomas in Finland,
And Russia far inland?
The Bird, whom by some name or other
All men who know thee call their Brother,
The Darling of Children and men?
Could Father Adam open his eyes,
And see this sight beneath the skies,
He'd wish to close them again.

If the Butterfly knew but his friend
Hither his flight he would bend,
And find his way to me
Under the branches of the tree:
In and out, he darts about;
His little heart is throbbing:
Can this be the Bird, to man so good,
Our consecrated Robin!
That, after their bewildering,
Did cover with leaves the little children,
So painfully in the wood?

What ail'd thee Robin that thou could'st pursue
A beautiful Creature,
That is gentle by nature?
Beneath the summer sky
From flower to flower let him fly;
'Tis all that he wishes to do.

The Chearer Thou of our in-door sadness,
He is the Friend of our summer gladness:
What hinders, then, that ye should be
Playmates in the sunny weather,
And fly about in the air together?
Like the hues of thy breast
His beautiful wings in crimson are drest,
A brother he seems of thine own:
If thou would'st be happy in thy nest,
O pious Bird! whom Man loves best,
Love him, or leave him alone!

-- William Wordsworth

SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi"
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
--------------------

The Windhover

I caught this morning morning's minion,
Kingdom of daylight's dauphin,
Dapple-dawn-drawn falcon,
In his riding of the rolling level
Underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy!

Then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bowbend:
The hurl and gliding rebuffed the big wind.

My heart is hiding
Stirred for a bird, the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! And the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous,
O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold vermillion

I caught this morning morning's minion,
Kingdom of daylight's dauphin

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

Wild Mountain Thyme by The Silencers

Wildlife & Landscape Photographs

Oystercatchers in flight

Scardroy sunset

Rogart

Strathconon

Strathconon

Loch Meig in Strathconon

Scatwell Farm sunset

Beauly Firth in Winter

Ullapool from Morefield Brae

Loch Hourn in August

Arnisdale on Loch Hourn

Early morning on Loch Achonachie, Strathconon

Red Squirrel in Scatwell Forest

Red Deer Stag scenting the air

Red Deer Stag in Winter

Red Deer Hind alert to danger

Wild Rabbit

Mute Swans

Atlantic Puffin on Handa Island

Guillemots on Handa Island

Red Admiral Butterfly

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies

Black Darter dragonfly

Male Sparrowhawk at kill
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