Sticks And Stones And Broken Bones


With the sun setting on another Remembrance Day; I took a walk along an unplanned route on the Isle of Luing, where I live. I had in mind getting some fresh air after several days spent indoors, finding some new sources for photography and some peace.


Coming across this skull, picked clean, amongst a circle of strewn feathers and other bone fragments; I paused to wonder on the nature of peace. Even here in this wild place it is hard to find – for members of the bird and animal variety that is.


Here on this heather-clad knoll has been created a tiny, natural garden of remembrance. At least I will never forget the bird that once soared graceful and free in the skies above this beautiful island.


Peace for humans will never be achievable while we allow sticks and stones to break our bones, and the word of others to hurt us.

Helen Thomson Finnie 10/11/2019

Any One Thing


You are not any one thing.
As fire-lit trees pierce sky above.
You are the gentle dawning purpose
And explosion
Of my love.

You are not any one thing
But the curving track of light undone.
Terrible diamond shards of laughter.
Mirror to my sun.

You are not any one thing.
Granite calls out to the shore.
See me? There! I’m in the water.
Look, along the burns
I pour.

You are not any one thing.
Hind, and doe, and time, they run.
Over granite, amethyst creeper
Finding cracks where there
Were none.

You are not any one thing
Speaks the sunset, cries the sun.
Find you there beyond the hillside.
Laugh and clap as though
I’d won.

You are not any one thing.
You are earth, sky, moon and sun.
Laughter of a beautiful daughter.
Flashing blade of a steely son.
Marking time.

You are not any one thing.
I watch you map your memory.
Challenging demons, stalking pathways.
Walking with head held high,
Riding storms.

We are not any one thing.
Sailing oceans, finding light.
Up, in the landscape of the eagles
Here, I dare you. Love.
Take flight.

Any One Thing.

Helen Finnie




We are told that the word of god granted man
Dominion over animals.
Man conveyed this interpretation of the word of god
from man to man.
Across all divides man came together to put animal to use.
Or to death.

Our reportedly developed, and enlightened world
continues to put to use – and perpetrate death.
To cause the world we all share,
Not to prosper, but to decline
And eventually fall.

We grant ourselves particular domination
In the name of “tourism and leisure’.
Where the killing of animals is sugar-coated as
Activities for the wealthy with no conscience.
With neither sense, nor soul, arguably.

We are all beings
Living on the same earth.
There is no dominion greater than that of nature itself.
That of the natural laws of the evolution of each
Animal family. Our family, too.

Dominion was invented by man to overcome weakness.
Not that of the animal but that of the man.
Nature has no dominion, no deity.
Man is neither god, nor wise as a god.
Man has put his wallet where his heart is.


Helen Finnie

Inspired by a Facebook post from: FP Family Polaris
from which the above image was taken.

Stand And Drink The Rain


Pour away the Iron Bru’
Stand and drink the rain.
Put away the footspa
And tread the sand again.

Turn off the t.v.
Turn down your mind.
Put aside the d.v.d
Open up the blind.

Get off the sofa
Stride along the shore.
Throw out the painkillers
They’ll only lead to more.

Turn off the mobile phone
Throw it in the pond.
It’s time now with people and
With Earth to make a bond.

Hang up the haute couture.
Auction the bling.
Wipe away the make-up
Let your beauty sing.

Little Owl


Outside my window
In the leafless night
The little owl calls.

From this window,
The owl and I
Reaching for the moon.

I too call out to my mate
Not knowing when I will
return to him.

The owl and I together
Calling to the night.
A small wind begins to stir.

Mine’s a silent call
But – together – the owl and I
Tremble in the treetops.

Helen Finnie
11th December 2017
Little Owl Image by David Chapman

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Night Light


Waking, I look first from the window
for the three lights in a row on the island
showing they’re at work on the lobster pond.

There’s a time of night when stars line up
in a row of three too; lofty
companions to Fladda Lighthouse.

Then there are the lighthouses on Colonsay,
and the Garvellachs – smaller stars skating
across the sea’s blank mirror.

Waking from a dark dream, I am fortified
for the day ahead by these nine lights.
Three on land, three aloft and three a-sail.

Night light, star-light, sea bright.
Looking out, I’m reassured by this
constant constellation.

Night Light

Whisky On The Rocks


Heated by the earth’s core,
Stirs a rolling boil.
Steaming waves of mercury
and gold, that I recall.

Glinting shards of sun’s light
Out across the bay.
Out of nowhere.
Out of this – unprepossessing – day.

Stir the soup of lava
Till lava flows no more.
Follow the crystal water flow
From hill to shining shore.

Magna from the cauldron.
Brew from the pan.
Storm from the bowl
Of the Corryvreckan.

Malt from the barley.
Smoke o’er the sprout.
All in the quest to
Coax the sugars out.

Wort through the washback.
Grist to the mill.
Yeast in the yield distill
The spirit of the hill.

The alchemy of weather,
Rockface, land and sky;
All the way from Islay
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Helen T Finnie
8th November 2017


Talking Bull


Taking the road to the shore
I pass two of the senior bulls
(On our island full of bulls)
The elder statesmen of the
Celebrated cattle of Luing.

They move neither to left nor right.
Pay no heed to traffic nor footfall.
I can walk right up to the great heads.
Only the eyes swivel my way.
Watchful, weighty.

How are you doing? (I say).
No answer. Although I’m left with
the impression of a stern response.
I don’t suppose much bothers them.
How could it?

Returning from the cafe
I pass the two leviathans.
They stand, seemingly unmoved.
And I realise I have spent the whole morning
Talking bull.