In October, each year, the pink-footed geese visit Aberlady in their thousands on the way from Iceland and Greenland down to the warmer climate of the Solway Firth or Norfolk.

This year, the numbers are down, but last year, I had the privilege to stand on the bridge at Aberlady and see the geese, at dusk, coming in from the fields where they had been feeding during the day to their resting place on the mud flats.

This is a poem about that experience.

October 2018





Pink-footed geese

Teem in thousands

As summer turns 

Leaf by leaf

To yellow fall




In our neck of the wild

We gather 

To gaze 

East and west

To catch the waves

Of flight-formation 



But first the noise

Turns our heads

Stirs our hearts

Excites our voices

As geese gaggle 

Right above us



Line after wavy line

Scribes a 



Sky journey

Immersed in descending darkness



We watch

As this discipline



Turns to

Chaotic flurry



Each garrulous goose


Dropping down 

Scrabbling for space

On the over-crowded sands

Black heads massing



In the dusk

An intimate moment

We stay quietly

In this sacred place

Hands touching

Feeling our own homecoming call.