INDIGO DREAMS

PUBLISHING LTD

 

BREATH OF DRAGONS

Andy Allan is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and has a background in education. He is a native of Strathspey, where his childhood and youth were spent roaming moorland, forests, glens and hills.  At present, he lives on the edge of the great forest of Culbin, which stretches along the shore of the Moray Firth to the east of Nairn.

 

His outlook on life reflects his Highland upbringing and much of his inspiration is drawn from the highland landscape, the natural world and Celtic myth.

 

Andy’s poetry has been widely published in magazines such as Reach Poetry, Poetry Cornwall, The Dawntreader, Causeway/Cabhsair, The Larcenist, Poetry Scotland and Sarasvati.  His work is also featured in the anthologies: ‘Living Poetry, ‘The Wait’ and the recent ‘Words in the Landscape.’

 

In 2014 Andy participated in a growing number of poetry-readings including reading at the annual poetry festival organised by Poetry Scotland in Callander, reading at Moniack Mhor (Scotland’s writers’ centre), reading at the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival and he was the November ‘Bard in the Bookshop,’ a series of monthly poetry-reading events organised in Nairn bookshop, each featuring a different poet.  He was invited to read at two separate book-launches for friends. Andy has also been interviewed and asked to read some of his poems on local radio. In addition his poetry features (online) in, ‘The Stanza Poetry Map of Scotland.’

 

Andy is a member of ‘forWords’, the well-known Forres writers’ group. ForWords has been a very supportive and successful vehicle for nurturing and developing a number of writers to published success in recent years.

 

 

“Breath of Dragons,” is his first poetry pamphlet.

 

 

www.aeallan.com

Andy Allan

 

Breath of Dragons

 

ISBN 978-1-909357-77-8

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

36 pages

 

£6.00 + P&P UK

 

PUB: June 2015

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breath of Dragons

 

The pumping throb of currents

races over rugged seas

of rank, dank heather.

Powerful, probing storms

swirl and rush,

grazing grey crags

where lurking eagles slide.

Moist and tantalizing fragrances

swirl beneath brooding skies,

caressing russet hill-sides.

The breaths of western dragons

swoop and soar;

mountain flanks teased,

lashed with life’s moist kisses.

 

 

 

 

The Pool of All Knowledge

 

Like the tired shadows of day’s end

his need-to-know hangs.

 

A tumbled grey dyke,

lichen-stained with greeny-blue,

lies desolate among dark ranks of nettles.

The burbling burn slaps mossy stone,

its song, a long soft murmur.

In flickering thick, green light,

the Willow loiters,

hunched on his root-riddled bank.

Above the peat-stained pool

where knowledge lies,

he broods in the patient shade,

his bobbing fingers knocking

on a window of liquid sepia.

Rippling circles widen,

encroach on a glistening rink

where insects flit and skate.

Swallows skim the mirrored surface,

seething clouds of midges bustle

in muggy shadow.

Old Willow waits,

patience on his shoulder,

desire blackens his mind.

Silver flickers dart in still, dim depths.

The pool’s heart is shattered

in a flash of feathery blue.

 

The salmon, knowing all there is,

says nothing.

 

 

In Celtic mythology, the salmon was the keeper of all knowledge; the willow was identified with the dark spirit of Wisdom.

 

 

 

After the Summer Rain

 

Sooty, black-stained buildings

bathed in smoke’s pungent tang,

rouse reminders of childhood

and a grimy world, unsullied.

Rafts of yellow pine-needles

sweep across slick paving

in a riot of ripples.

Freshness drips from

crisp green leaves,

flickering light-patterns

daze and dazzle.

Spouts of water gurgle

from gaps in rotten masonry,

reflections pour from puddles,

drowning the murky present.

Aromas tease through

innocent days of damp delight,

a freedom to take risks,

drizzle dribbling on sweaty skin,

wet hair plastered on contentment.

 

 

An Iolair Mhòr (The Great Eagle)

 

‘Coh-bac, coh-bac, coh-bac, coh-bac.’

Startled grouse voice their alarm

on the high path up over Lag Buidhe.

Swooping down the hillside,

they brush the ragged slopes

awash with racing cloud-shadows.

Wind-built waves of heather sweep

across a tweed-green sea.

 

North beyond the Spey,

over forested hills and moors,

the distant lowlands of the Laich

lie under a blurred blue haze.

A dark speck spirals high in icy skies

as I rest my weary legs to watch and reminisce.

‘Iolair Mhòr your days of greatness have gone,

Your clan is small, the world has turned.’

 

Oidhreagain clings tightly to the ground,

its presence reminding me that even now

there are still things I can only name in Gaelic.

Rising, breathing deeply, I crest the shoulder,

raise my eyes to the great dark silhouette.

‘Oh Iolair Mhòr, our day is done,

torn away with the tattered leaves of history.

Chaos laps at our feet, washing ever-higher,

drowning the memories.’

 

I shiver under passing clouds as

the distant eagle wheels to leave and

two heather-skimmers glide down into oblivion

repeating their timeless call;

‘Coh-bac, coh-bac, coh-bac, coh-bac.’

 

Oidhreagain is Scots Gaelic for cloudberries.

 

 

 

Why America?

 

Summer sparkled in Glenfiddich.

You were an insolent ten,

with a laugh that skipped

through breeze-rippled alders,

warm winds caressing the air.

Pale hair-strands floated, free,

danced to the river’s drone.

It’s pibroch smooth in memory,

water-washed as the round,

white boulders you grew among.

The footbridge, wooden, silvered,

clad in blue-green lichen,

cast a dark shadow over the gurgling ford.

You knelt in the sun’s sharp dazzle,

plucking the yellow flowers with care.

Your scowl captured in a shutter-click.

 

 

 

 

‘Breath of Dragons’ features Scotland’s highland landscape, those who live there and aspects of  the natural world. The poetry also touches on the lives, the myths and the legends pertaining to those who have lived in that landscape in the past ages, those who have walked the hills and the wildwood before us.

 

 

 

 

“Andy Allan’s poetry does what good poetry should do: it involves itself in those two landscapes, the natural world and humanity. I think the reason his poetry is popular is because it acts both as a window and a mirror, so that enjoying the clarity and honesty of his words, we discover fresh truths about the world we inhabit and ourselves.” 

John Glenday

 

“Andy Allan’s poems are intense and deep as the landscape they inhabit, full of brooding atmospheres and sweeping winds. They celebrate myth, legend and the wild beauty of the mountains, glens and rivers that root this poet to Scotland.”     Eileen Carney Hulme  

 

“Andy Allan’s poems about the Scottish Highlands are vivid and evocative. I loved, especially,

The Pool of All Knowledge.”   

Mandy Haggith

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy amend

Waiting for a New Day’s Dawn

 

Tendrils of woodbine creep into light,

their rippling search,

sifting the leaves of book,

the pages of story.

No guardians from elder days

remain to guide saplings

through their growth decades,

none have survived

to teach and protect them

as they struggle to awareness.

Witnesses with little hope

ponder the ancient shaman’s tales,

memories encoded in soft rings,

in the pathways of fungi-filament

that form the forest’s heart and soul:

such delicate, fragile strands,

injured beyond bearing,

mangled, ripped and torn,

by axe and fire and plough.

Deep-rooted survivors stand and watch,

waiting for a change in the wind.

 

 

 

Solstice Wood

 

Ethereal spirits waft

among barren boughs,

weaving through mystery,

slipping between gnarled fingers,

in dim and dwindling light.

 

Bathed in sun’s red descent,

leaves tumble through branches,

jaundiced and black-spotted,

drifting to the vast cathedral floor

where hungry foragers scrape.

 

Slithering through vaulted silence,

veiled presences lurk,

obscure and unmentionable,

inhuman eyes roving, probing,

intelligent, consuming, dark.

 

More than breeze as dank air moves,

a pigeon flaps alarm,

its feathered clatter freezing time,

merging shadows splinter

and disappear with ease.

 

web 9781909357778 Allan