Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 131: Balumbie, near Dundee


"So Boo," I whisper, "are we the old guard now?”

Boo glances at me then turns,
To sample a palimpsest of recent smells.
Food, mate, rival, friend, foe, fear, but definitely -


We out-flank Elm Gardens and Lime Grove,
On our own retreat from Moscow,
Rusting gorgets and ragged overcoats,
Shamefaced in the morning damps,
As we scatter dew drops from cobwebs,
Before suburbia stirs awake.

Silvered traces fade camouflaged
Dazzled under slick tar macadam
But I can still glimpse some prior paths
Still trace glinting scents of earlier intentions.

The rhody walk now rose-bayed over
Was once a road to her absent Mandalays.
A peripheral sniffer regularly hesitant,
By the sponge soft sequoia sequoia.
Hoodie damp, behaviour uncertain,
Prospects - not good.

Target spears like checkered survey pins
Chased with homecoming penants
Snap over freshly hoovered turf.
Yellow on green: please repair.

When they broke ground for foundations
Off today’s close cut fairways,
They found a plague pit. I wonder
If household insurance covers
Unquiet nights, two-up two-down,
Above the grim?

Where Arthur once tended garden order,
Our pagoda bus stop's basal stones
Lie emulsioned under nettle and dock,
Over exposed long before this recent development.

Near the walled garden, young houses sprout.
Close by Faraday's bleeping coils once
Found a hurried cast of big-hoose stolen trinkets.
Fruit trees and lost loot all forgotten,
Indoors latent images digitise the present
To remote clouds of fire safe memories.

Before dancers in suspension, before a burned-out shell,
Before blue domed invisibles, before all the rest,
There was still another other place
And fine trees cast their shade on other policies.


Boo stops to glance at me and sigh.
Then, turning with firmer purpose,
He inhales the unborn air: definitely -


Steve Smart

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