Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 93: Darnick

The walk to school, Darnick

Our path’s geometry through the purple-headed grass
is mappable strong lines and blunt angles
a point of divergence when the stream is dry
or if we are in a hurry
an irregular quadrangle coinciding at the entry
to the rugby field

Its four corners marked by
fox’s territorial dropping
the nailed-shut gate of Bessie Reid’s field
a dead hedgehog
a sign prohibiting canine fouling

Within this structure are the dandelions
whose stems we can only kick free to convert
after the clocks have ticked away
swallows pink bellies just above them
that I always mark as martins
falcon pellets in the dried-up burn bed
or wet all-terrain sandals
and a plank bridge that does not fit the water

It doesn’t connect
a balanced spring dislodges
the wren’s nest
the kestrel and one fieldfare
pine cones and the worn-out path
the council try to discourage
salvageable litter on Abbotsford Road’s pavement

The weather we have learnt always and never perfect
in the scheme the nature of things


Bridget Khursheed

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