Peter Doig, 'Figure in a Mountain Landscape' 1997

Peter Doig
Figure in a Mountain Landscape 1997
Etching on paper
image: 300 x 203 mm
Presented by the artist and Charles Booth-Clibborn 1998© Peter Doig

Bothy

Let’s just say I am lost. Father said
there’d be a bothy. I’ve carried
my water, my map, matches wrapped
in polythene like lambs in amniotic sacks.
A sheep is flung from a fold in rock
where she’s been hiding from the wind.
Other than that, there’s nobody:
just darkness and my own company.
I see ghosts in the shape of my breath,
jump over my footsteps. Father?
 
            Are you there? Father?
 
I sense you before I see you:
a body from a bundle of wood
emerging from the mountain
the way a son grows into a man.
I kneel, unwrap my matches,
picture you cradling the kindling,
sparking the tinder and whispering
as if to a broken bird.
You always said ash doesn’t burn well
but when I light you, Father,
 
           there is a whistling sound.