Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 363

Tay Reflections: A Flying Boat Renga

1
Rain mizzling, a St Ayles skiff
cuts jabbly water,
trailing pink and blue upriver. 

2
Flying forwards, gliding
to pass old ribs that held The Diver.

3
Oars dig deep, catch and pull,
plough through roiling eddies.
Eyes climb in awe

4
to aged iron girders,
cathedral spans over water.

5
Slipping past the bay's soft curves,
a silken-headed seal surfaces ―
rhythm companion across the void.

6
A watery sun peeps through clouds,
glints on the sandbank furrows.

7
Surging westwards to Jock's Hole,
Old Kilburn wreck in view,
Fife's green hills behind.

8
Flisk Point lures the hungry ashore,
Bodies rest amongst the pebbles.

9
Tide on the turn, return leg beckons;
spray somersaulting on shifting winds,
bow rides high, surfing a lathering tideline.

10
Oars slap water, plash,
train toots a greeting from above.

11
Homewards bound, under the bridge
water swirlin and birlin;
smirry rain on warm faces.

12
Powered by light, each image traces
a line leaving something of itself behind.

Tay Reflections linocutSandra Charles
Evelyn Hardie
Alex John
Gail Low
Heather Marriage
Ruth Morrison

Sarah Leenhouts (linocut artist)

Note: During lockdown, some of the women in the Catalina rowing club, based in Wormit, wrote a collaborative poem modelled on a renga. It's about rowing upriver on the Tay in a skiff called "Flying Boat". The renga form was inspired by Bill Herbert's Dundee lockdown rengas, and it enabled all of us to keep in touch with each other. 

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