Photography & Travels (finding fantasy in reality)

Stolen: A Poem
Inspired by a Waterfall

At the time this was probably the most beautiful place I'd visited on Earth - and nearly 10 years later it's still up there with the best.

Steall Falls, Glen Nevis, in 2004Steall Falls bathed in sunlight in verdant green landscape. Photo by Alex Harford


I would not envisage this in a dreamy delusion -
it is not a hazy-hallucination!
Confirmed by sun shining from blue skies
beautifully blemished by white-wisps;
it's a paradise I'd never imagined.

Serene sound;
Sprinkling, splashing, dousing, washing -
nourishing water hushing like silk over stone,
traversing without care, for it is free!
A smell so cool and fresh, cup your hands
and taste its innocence.

Air, water, flower and stone in harmony create perfection.
The Garden of Eden's far-richer relation -
flourishes of heathers and trees and grass,
Shangri-La's European cousin, but this one is real -
a green utopia of untouched elation.

If I wasn't below the clouds,
I'd believe this was heaven.

To see the skies angered,
overcome by grey,
to see this gentle brute
escape its boundaries and power!
Rains fall – thunderstorm!
Water bounds like petrol bombs,
coarse crashing irrigations
against a rocky facia floods the plain!

The falls have stolen my heart;
My heart can stay.

Steall Falls in 2004Steall Falls in background with large rock and person in foreground

Inspired, But No Pen!

This poem nearly didn’t happen. It was hot. The sky was a brilliant blue, the ground a verdant green. I was overwhelmed and inspired, but I didn't have a pen! The day passed with more sightseeing, then back to the tent to cook, eat and sleep. The potential poem was forgotten about for a few more days until one late afternoon at home a few days later, when I suddenly had the urge to write the poem I hadn’t been able to write on the day.

It all came out in a few minutes, and I think it's the first proper poem I ever wrote, excluding anything I did at school. Up until Stolen, I’d only written a few lyrics, and conversed in Haiku over e-mail at work for a laugh. There are definitely a few lines I’d change if I edited it (e.g. “petrol bombs”), but hopefully it's not too bad.

Steall Falls from belowLooking up Steall Falls from below

P.S. These photos weren’t taken with enough megapixels to be available for anything but small prints. Photography wasn’t even a hobby in those days and photos were just a record of where I’d been. Perhaps that’s why I was inspired to capture the waterfall in words...


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