From a series of photographs for Dighty poetry group taken yesterday. A big thankyou for everyone’s patience. An anthology of the poets work will be published shortly. Here is my contribution which came about from a particular walk a winter morning last year, when I came across an airman’s type jacket frozen to a wire fence, and a torn up Christmas card which read ‘To Lisa and the wee man’. I had been reading about a German airman who had been captured and paraded through the town. He was apparently exceedingly tall. A friends Aunty told me that during the war her Dad had buried an old bread van in the garden as an air raid shelter for the family complete with bunkbeds. I was also investigating the circuses and travelling shows that would come to Dundee. This piece came from those beginnings.
On the edge of town
a bone black fineness of winter air
licks the salty rime at the lip of last tide.
Bridge pilings punctuate the slaked slip clay
sooking the river toward the sea.
The small terrace of brick houses,
backing up the hill,
tell stories to
soft morning rolls of babies, tucked up in the grocers van.
Wash day legs give up to floral loose covers,
peonies and roses.
Beyond stiffened boiler suits forgotten on the line,
the tackety boot lane opens out onto waste ground,
common grounds for
stories and secrets, promises and plans.
With quickening pinched toes, blue knees,
that two day old bruise, deepening, darkening, at once,
birling, swirling, starry lights,
diesel, fried onions, burnt sugar.
All seven feet tall in his showmans breeks,
yelling scream if you wanna go
Head thrown back, blinking the colours away.
All seven feet tall with his brylcreemed hair.
The token he gave only good for a ride,
sorry ma wee lass.
The gennies tut as they quietly cool,
The uncoupling of parts.
Early morning sees a nippit wind,
funnels the soor smell of your breath.
A whale back sky brings word from the north,
whips the clay slaked water as it heaves upstream,
on its way,