Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 279

Kite-Flying on Cullen Beach


I run until the wind plucks at my hopeful handiwork -

Brown paper, string, old cane, held with glue,

And carries it aloft, like Icarus, towards the sun.


My parents huddle, pinched-faced, like refugees, against the rocks -

The Three Kings trudge wearily down the beach,

Towards some promised Bethlehem

Long buried in the sand.


At night, by guttering gaslight's glow, my great-aunt tells me

Tales passed down the long, defeated years -

Of the day the young men left, fresh-faced,

For Culloden, or the Somme, or other Calvary.


And so I run on to catch the wind,

Oblivious in my youthful dreams,

Not grasping yet what Culloden means

Or Gethsemane's night.



Lizzie Napier



Footnote: The Three Kings is the name given to three rocky outcrops on Cullen beach.


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