Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 40: Luing

Luing

For Irene Malchaski

A flying carpet
carved
from the memory of rust
corrodes me across
the eroding flow
to Luing.

Luing,
the signage pensively proclaims,
is
“A place to think-
A place to be”.

Well,
isn’t that true
of everywhere?
Unkind to the ferry
my words
may have been
but a deeper corrosion
is in these words
that scamper away
from meaning
from fear
of what that meaning
might reveal.

Today
I find it
a place to think
of being wet
and a place
to be -
wet

as the asphalt-tortured snake,
its sole remaining fang
fossilised
in a whitewashed trig point in the north;
its trig point rattle
in the distant south
a remnant of that time
when Scotland
was American
and Europe
and England
just a tale
to frighten children
who might some day
come to pass
and live here.

Or wet
as the bracken hillside,
scythed by Autumn tempests
like Campbells
at Inverlochy
beneath the Highland maelstrom
of MacDonald
and Montrose.

Or wet
as birch-capillaries
pulsing elixir
to the moss-green slopes
to feed the seeds
on that flesh
of leaves
passed
in the inevitable winds.

Here,
as anywhere,
all flesh is not grass
but it is,
very largely,
water
and
in this
it mirrors me.

But,
between the deluge
and the merely mist
that hangs
like flypaper
to catch what fate
may send
there is that western haze,
half-glimpsed
in the blue
of sea
and the green
of Luing
so far from the grey
of my life.

Roderick Manson

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