Thursday 9 December 2010

Flower of Glenalmond

I can see him now:
the young man,
who was really just a boy.
It was almost summer.
It was a foreign country,
but not then.
He had removed his shirt,
as if it would make a difference.
He had a piece of paper
flattened on his knee.

Three weeks left in this oasis.
(he always wrote of people)
Sunday bells appealing
across a billiard lawn,
tolling the knell of this parting dream
in which I find myself
so willingly immersed.
Three weeks of borrowed time.
Flower of Glenalmond.
How true.

He was trying to understand something,
that would-be poet.
(his words remained hidden for years)
Self-inflicted wounds also heal,
I want to shout,
Things had run their course.
I know this now.

As I watch,
the boy turns
and raises a hand to his ear.
Is it a sudden breeze he feels?
Or is it hindsight
whispering garbled words of comfort
from an undreamt-of middle age?
Another language, almost.
Words from a foreign land.
Not Scotland.
Not now.

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