Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 400

Return to Stranraer

Long before seatbelts were a thing
we made the annual trek
up the West Coast to Stranraer,
its stony face nestled on the cliff edge
as if the very bones of it may crumble.

We camped within Aunt Stella’s walls,
the graveyard clearly eavesdropping
on ghoulish tales told by torchlight
while Lock Ryan hissed and roared
his disapproval, sharp as Stella’s eye.

Mostly, I remember rain, insistent,
drumming on canvas like an intruder
dressed in gabardine grey,
his spit and spat grumbling
at ankle socks and summer frocks,

at giggles of tourists spilt across Toon,
dining on harbour and Galloway charm
while The North West Castle,
perched on high, nodded sagely,
arms laden with tattie scones.

These days I meander up by train,
enthralled by rugged, coastal path.
I check in, take in the litter now
replacing a town’s fading smile,
place petals in Stella’s Kirk, return.

Kate Young

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