Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 29: Wigtown

The Kissing Gate

Night bleeds into day as light expands
from the horizon. Grey dawn ripens
to a deep red before diluting,
surrendering
to the first heat. Slowly,
as the day grows, petals of light
unfurl on the gravel pathway
passing through the Kissing Gate.

As a gull circles its solitary tour
of the sky, the earth reaches out
with tongue, palate and breath.
Across the long
horizon, burnt colours of trees
shimmer beside rocks
covered in lichen, rocks
sculpted by wind and rain.

Hills, which retreated from glaciated
roundings, watched as steamboats
from Liverpool, schooners,
names and dates
became as much a part of Wigtown's
Bay's intricate scaffolding,
as the Covenanters executed by
drowning. Now night tides flood in

and wildfowlers smear mud on white faces
in the dark, windless morning. Religion
and beliefs are immersed
in the mud
discovering their own rhythms and tides.
History, like dust swirling
in disturbed air, eventually settles,
revealing the reality of people's lives.

 

Kriss Nichol

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