David Cattanach


Within the room a shadow
creates ill-defined shapes.
Outside beyond the window
lives’ race with the swifts’ grace.
Palm fronds sigh above the earth,
beyond sienna stone walls 
hold a compass of green.
Swifts coming round again,
breezes shake the palms,
wings form letters 
fast as a painter’s stroke.
Shadows lengthen across pathways to you.
I walk from the window
through a door to the outside.


I stood looking through the bower
a window on the river bank. Beyond
golden bales sat on a shorn field,
crows winged across, searching 
for crazed insects and fallen seed.
In the procenium arch formed by rude trees
characters progressed to the west, 
peeling dogs ran far out into the cornfield.
The family like a shadow play wheeled their arms and legs
in a cartoon way against the field,
their heights’ like a lowered skipping rope 
formed a significant curve from front to back. 
The buzz of laughter and gesture 
heightened the slow afternoon heat
a ripple ran through the trees.
Time passed the stage emptied and the bales 
caught the shadows at a different angle. 
The putt putt of a tractor came slowly into view.


In the cool afternoon light water dripped slowly from dormant branches

Inside, the vacant flat the familiar ticks had stopped.
A robin alighted on the window ledge
the dash of red an antidote to the grey.

 Winter fog rolls in again
I could only make the traffic lights,
colours had been bleached.

The key to the empty flat is
in my hand.
Pushing, the door stiff.
Inside, I swing the torch.

Light picks out 
places where pictures once hung
and wires lie threaded across the floor.
The last delivered "Beano" 
lays opened in a corner.

I closed the door 
opened a can of beer, 
re-read the letter.
Then loosened my collar,
closed my eyes
and remembered the sun
in the Costa de Luz.

After years of participating in Creative Writing evening classes David is now venturing into the ‘online world’.  In 2022 the opportunities for publication are more ‘open’ and it is a pleasure to engage with writers around the world.

Flights, Issue Five, June 2022