Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 183: Tarlair


The old man pauses
Catches his breath,
Eyes narrowed sea-ward,
inward, timeward
Tired ears straining
To hear the song

Snatched up by the wind,
the years, the sea-flung spray
of younger days
when she ran,
bairns scooped
into the saltshock cold.

Toe-stubbing pebbles
skelped fair shins,
Head flung back
on waves of laughter,
Riding high, a Force of Nature
His life-force … she was bonny then.

Changing rooms, now boarded
Saw the tight, white
wet skin peeled
from seersucker suits,
Tangled braids
wrung out, shook loose.

A dervish wind
Mocking, blocking
The slap and flap
Of dookers flung
by jumping boys
with ruthless mirth.

At Tarlair
Characters are salted,
Tear-stung, wind-whipped
Licked clean.
Music stirs the nooks and crannies
Time forgot.

And as they gather
Down the brae,
Winding through the rocks and years,
Friends ensure
A special place
in this
Circle of embrace
And Tarlair lives again.


Anna Lavigne

The poem was composed for and presented at an open air recital at the pool as part of the annual COAST Arts Festival. Anna Lavigne's words were set to music and accompanied by Inverurie saxophonist Alastair Thomson.

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