This charming rural tableau by Kenneth Steven catches the freshness of spring and love and the possibilities of new life on the west coast of Scotland, where the author lives in Argyll.

Though first and foremost a poet (praised by Ted Hughes amongst others), he is also an admired writer of prose and short fiction.

 'Today's choice is from Steven's volume of collected poems, Island, published by Saint Andrew Press in 2009'.....




Twelve o’clock. She stands in the back porch,

Strands of gold hair tangling her face.

She calls his name; her voice is blown away.

He looks up nonetheless, as though he’s heard

Something deep inside. Light scours the hills,

Gullies of wind sweep back the shadow.

Fleet’s heard her, flows down the field

In a bouncing waterfall of black and white.

She smiles. A lamb pities the air

With a cry as thin as milk. She turns inside.

He thuds the mud from his boots.

Has the mail come? Delivery from Hulberts?

The clock flickers softly in the hall;

Up in the landing window the blue of April

A rippling flag of sky –

This land is in his hands

As surely as it ran his father’s.

At the table she rumbles the potatoes from

the pan,

Looks at him with soft eyes. I’ve good news,

she murmurs.