Poetry Map of Scotland: Poem no. 303

By Ballachulish Bridge

I mind the time, when I was very wee,
A chain-pulled ferry stretched across the kyles,
Medallion-like upon our neck of sea.
The loch-side road meandered many miles
To Kinlochleven – rock and machair grass,
And rain, and ling, below the mountain ridge –
A track so narrow, two cars could not pass.
But then one day they built for us a bridge.

My errant grandson came for lunch today –
He drove from Glasgow city in his car,
Brought wife and kiddies with him all that way
And back again, now distance is no bar.
I mind the time we waited for a bus –
A wooden shelter shared with highland midge
That pestered till the driver stopped for us –
Such were the days before they built a bridge!

Upon the bus’s flank it said “MacBrayne”;
Along the gravelled track it toiled and groaned
To Oban, where we had to board a train,
Snail-slowly, and a southward pilgrim loaned.
These new-built bridges, leaping lochs and braes,
Would seem to span from mountain range to range;
What bridge is there from age to younger days?
There’s none – there’s just the one-way loan of change.

Marie Marshall

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