All This Time | Hugh McMillan

In the woods
where I roam, the Glen
between the two rivers,
young horses run

when the throat of the sky
closes and night comes.
I had been imagining
all these weeks

I was alone here—
my weans at home
bathed in screen-light,
my kind shuttered up

stowed against the news
that rips across the slates
like sea—but suddenly
I find I am not:

a dyker has been working,
slowly packing the walls
that cross land and
years like old sentences,

tight, elegant, other worldly.
He has been so slow
I had not noticed, but yet
look at him now so far

away on the brow of a hill
that he is merging with cloud.
This quite ordinary man,
this engineer, this bookbinder,

this clock fixer,
this shaman, all  this time
he has been
mending the seams.







Hugh McMillan is a prize winning poet from Penpont in South West Scotland. He has had eight published collections and has featured in many anthologies, three times in the Scottish Poetry Library’s online selection Best Scottish Poems of the year. His poems have also been chosen three times to feature on National Poetry Day postcards, the latest in 2016. In 2017 he was writer in residence at the Harvard Summer School. He currently curates #plagueopoems a daily series of poems filmed from lockdown. In 2020 he was chosen as one of 4 ‘Poetry Champions’ for Scotland, to seek out and commission new work. His website is at

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