Wild the Clouded Gleam

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Algy perched on a large rock beside the quiet loch and watched the dark clouds scudding fast across the sky. It was clear that he would soon be drenched again, but for the moment a rare burst of sunshine was providing some much needed light and a wee bit of comforting warmth. The autumn was advancing rapidly, and the damp leaves and grasses were glowing with their last bright colours before the fall. Not that leaves often had a chance to fall naturally in the wild west Highlands of Scotland; more likely, they would be all be gone with the wind, when the next Atlantic storm blew in…

Somewhere on the hillside behind him, a robin was quietly warbling its autumn song, and as Algy listened to its sweet notes he was reminded of another song, by Canon Dixon:

The feathers of the willow
Are half of them grown yellow
Above the swelling stream;
And ragged are the bushes,
And rusty now the rushes,
And wild the clouded gleam.

The thistle now is older,
His stalks begin to moulder,
His head is white as snow;
The branches all are barer,
The linnet’s song is rarer,
The robin pipeth low.

[Algy is quoting The Feathers of the Willow by the 19th century English cleric and poet, Canon Richard Watson Dixon.]

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