Margaret Gillies Brown

Another Perthshire Writer

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margaret gillies brown

Margaret Gillies Brown was born near Edinburgh. She trained to be a nurse in Dundee Royal Infirmary gaining her S.R.N. in 1952. She married a farmer shortly afterwards and has lived all of her married life on Perthshire farms except for three years when the family emigrated to Canada. She had seven children and after they grew up travelled extensively.

Margaret started writing seriously over thirty years ago. It was mostly poetry to begin with and she has had many poems published in magazines and anthologies plus eight collections of her own. More recently she has had three books of biography published and is currently working on a fourth.


Sheba is quite different
Outrageous some would say,
She comes in richest greens and golds
To light the dullest day
And make us wonder yet again
At our banality.

Sheba is quite different:
She loves to shock the staid
And show us where a southern sun
Has on her body played
Till men`s thoughts turn to amour
And women are afraid.

We only meet at parties
With sometimes years between
Where always there is laughter
And always Sheba`s queen
But where in all the lost years -
Where has Sheba been...?

And when at night she waits for sleep
I wonder does she ever weep?


October -
The mist of morning
has drawn up her steamy breath
to reveal something so astonishing
that at first you don`t believe it.

In this wide river plain,
where, long ago a general and his men
once raised a dreaded camp,
an unseen army, a billion strong,
working overnight
have set up tents of gossamer
with awnings strung to every golden pole
in this vast field of stubble.
Now the sun breaks through
and, wet, they catch the brilliant light
in rucks and tucks and ripples.

At the field`s wet edge, dandelions,
round and white as moons,
where silken web has caught the early mist,
are clocks too heavy to be blown.
Tall grasses, too, have had the spinners busy
creating intricate designs in filigree
that catch the light in silver.

Who programmed into spiders
their astounding skills -
Worked out the first blue-print?

cobwebs on the stubble field

Picture by Tommy Hemmert Olesen of Denmark

solway farm cottage

A Solway Farm by Alick Riddell Sturrock

Holiday Cottage

On its own the old farm cottage stands
facing the peaceful fields where cattle graze.
The morning buzzard scours its chosen lands,
his home the air above green swards that raise
to close horizons banks of blazing broom,
rocky outcrops, hawthorn in heady bloom.

It`s snug and trig inside. The panelled pine
gives off a satin glow. A wall of brick
and stone surrounds the warm, black stove. We dine
off willow pattern. Cottage walls are thick
keep out the Solway wind. We like the rain
that runnels gently down the window pane.

Today the rain recedes. The morning haze
lifts from field and hill and at the door
the Yellow Hammer spends familiar phrase.
A day to dance in sunlight - to explore
forest and firth while healing nature strives
To furbish up worn fabric of our lives.

The Singing Tree

The singing tree is silent -
Early April and no one rests
On the wooden seats
under its waking branches
where once we sat and watched
the twirling blades of barley
rise from solid clay.
This morning it`s sun and mist
hills are shadows
and lark song hits the low ceiling.
From lost edges grey geese call,
voices subdued waiting for
the mysterious call
to fly north.

singing tree

Soon warblers will return
Ignite this tree with music -
Their songs
Small explosions of love and longing
[cynics will tell you other]
and I will sit in the sun,
glance at the empty chair
and see you there.