Restless mix of rain and ocean veneer,
The Tay, as always, glows – blue through green.
It’s whalers creak as they are scrubbed; then, thousands cheer
When liners are launched, in Caledon years.
Their ghosts appearing as next day’s news,
In a city on the edge of saying – how proud we are.
And once, in café clatter mixing with a flutter
Of river memories, you phoned and whispered:
You should see the river – it’s sparkling and beautiful.
I thought: you are, but only murmur:
That’s strange, I just this second found the word…
As our seven years shone like a waterfall.
Walking back, as I knew one day I would,
To the library hut where my scribbling began,
I touched the sun on books and on inscribed tables,
And ached to join my words to breathing. A wound
Carried from stumbling in late, babbling to my sister, and
Boasting of exploits: badly formed fables.
Our shipyard closed, the docks became deserted.
Thousands who cheered vanished to distant worlds.
My words I used – to shout, to blame and point,
But not to feel. For decades, each phrase was emptied.
Until, in tiny rooms, I found dreamers
Lighting candles for every blacked-out street.
They smiled me a voice and sparked my match to theirs.
Hard then to walk a lonely path again,
On grey stones to Seven Arches Bridge.
Incursion to nowhere, staring sun and skies
Above fields of solitude, to an empty horizon.
How could I name and survive that edge?
I walked in the rain, exhausted from hiding
In gyms, or running, or in thousands of dusty meetings.
There, blinds were down and windows tightly shut.
I slumped inside books, frantically searching.
Sensing – I could touch the wind, if only my words
Could step on to a ship and grasp uncanny movement.