Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 143: Linlithgow

Abroad in Preston House, Linlithgow

Six white nymphs,
transplanted north,
support a gazebo
without expression,
silently hefting it
above their heads.

They are dwarfed
by a splendid undead yew,
its weeping bark tea-wet,
tea-red,
split
like tilled earth.

It is a gravedigger prince
giving testimony
to the lives of maids,
lamenting them
more eloquently
than an epitaph.

Is this what you’d want
when your time comes?
A single mourner
singing resin,
singing needles,
singing shade.

 

Jane McKie
from When the Sun Turns Green (Polygon, 2009)

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