Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 360

A Walk in Kilmarnock 

I kissed her first on Bank Street.
We strayed alang the cobbles.
I mind the freckles on her lip,
I mind my belly wobbles!
I mind my airm aboot her waist,
Her e'en, as we stopped tae talk.
I mind we turned up College Wynd
An' kissed ablow the nock.

Desire-lines coiled the Strand
Tae the station clock high up,
Then doon John Finnie Street we sang
Like when we'd won the cup!
We turned an swung ower Tim'er Brig
Tae King Street, an the shoaps
I pledged my love would aye rin true
Ti' the Fen'ick waatter stoaps!

We crept enrapt ablow the moon
That lit oor starry paths
An often by a daurkened door
We stopped tae catch oor breaths.
Ae nicht o blessed joy we had,
Frae Riccarton tae High Street
An aw the kirks in step tick-tock'd wi'
Oor herts' harmonic beat.

Kilmaurnock toon was oors that nicht
She was mine, an spun me roond.
I was but a geg on legs,
My spring was ower-woond!
Sae slow, sae fast, aboot the toon,
We turned, wi' the minute haun',
Ilk' brief, sweet second runnin doon,
Afore ye ken, it's gone!

We had naewhere tae go or be
Displaced, an young an free,
But jist hoo brief that daun'er wis
I couldnae then forsee.
As shair's the Palace clock sees aw
The fulness o the airts,
Sae monie faces has a lass
Tae vex a lad o' pairts.

For sixteen year' is still a wean
An lassies they are fickle.
My dear ye dealt a bonnie slap,
(Tho' no sae much the tickle!)
We split, we pairted, me bereft -
She said she had anither!
(Ae nicht I spied them by the brig.
I sweir, I grat a river).

Her hair, her een, her frecklet face,
For several cauld moons sired
Waukrife, fey, grief-stricken dreams,
That mony strolls inspired.
Alang familiar weys, yet strange,
I fun' masel, loast
An the chidin', happy, laughin' nocks
Exacted heavy coast.

I trailed alang thae bonnie wynds,
Again, an ower again.
An even prayed an raged at Goad!
For refuge fae the rain.
Losin' hours, days an weeks,
Autumn, winter, year -
My blood, fremit as the river,
As torturous (an clear!)

An' sae we growe, an' sae we learn
An doole, gie up the ghost.
An' sae we settle, sae we're bate,
Yet love oor torments most!
Kisses, they are o' their time -
An' glorious time we spent! -
But's no her lips I dream o' noo,
It's whit they represent.

Ma aul' hert cannae beat sae fast
As that time in the toon,
But memories o' ma braw, loast lass
Yet follae me aroon'.
I daun'er by the Laigh Kirk,
See lads tak' that same walk -
An' nae folk hear what I can hear,
The ticking o' yon nock.

Was it a noose, that ramblin' time,
A shackle I m'un bre'k,
Frae Gran' Hall tae College Wynd,
Lassoo'd aboot ma neck?
Micht I hae held the Moment
As licht's I grasped her waist
An' no dreamed sully, love-lorn schemes
She carelessly erased?

For "aye an true" 's but youth's desire.
- We burn tae be defined!
In time there comes a lettin'-go:
A wisdom we unwind.
Could I hae cheatet he'rtbrek
An hushed thae flytin' nocks,
By lettin things be as they'll be,
An takin' ither walks?


Come Spring, a flash-flood hit the watter -
A fella escaped wi's life -
He'll mebbe never be the same,
Aye watchin', worry-rife.
Experience's a hard maister,
An the lang shadda cast
Can rob ye o' the joys o'er-dear
If ye'll no let go whit's past

Roy Hair

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