One for ‘The Rocks’

Dunbar Writers are doing an evening entertainment in ‘The Rocks’  (a bar and most excellent restaurant) in Dunbar next Tuesday. It’s a heady mix of music and readings by our members. Here’s one of the two poems I’m reading – it’s a new one:

Cold start

It came in with snow,
with cold, with a north wind
blowing the waves into frothy peaks
and scouring the beaches.

I’m old enough to have seen it
before. I remember a Hogmanay
in Bathgate, first-footing the old way,
with whisky, black bun and coal,
a young couple knocking at the door
for help; a drunk girl in a fur coat
and nothing else, desperate
for a lift home.

That year, six-foot roadside drifts
lasted until March, but we all coped,
came through it. We battened down,
stopped draughts with towels,
stayed in, stoked the fires and heated soup.

Outdoors, frozen birds fell from the bushes,
migrant geese failed to find the stubble fields
and moved on. We walked
everywhere, but that was nothing new.
Folk still went to work,
and drivers learned new skills
or boarded the smoke-filled buses.

A terrible winter, but at the end,
a new job, a new life, a love.

Now a new decade, born in snow,
opens with promise, not threat.

There’s a yellow rose blooming
in my icy winter garden;
its name is Peace.

Colin Will


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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5 Responses to One for ‘The Rocks’

  1. anna says:

    Good luck with the gig. I like the poem, it is good to put this time in context.

  2. sunnydunny says:

    Thanks A. The Bathgate incident was the awful winter of 1962/63, and it’s all true. My father gave the couple a lift to her parents’ house, rang the bell and drove away.

    Looks like we’ll have another sell-out at The Rocks.


  3. swiss says:

    i very much enjoyed this. esp the end which might not have worked but so does. was talking about it to t in the van today, turns out the peace rose was her grandad’s favourite, and have just read it aloud to her. she too, likes it very much

  4. sunnydunny says:

    Thanks swiss. It was really odd seeing the rose against the snow and I couldn’t resist using it. I’ve got yellow chrysanths flowering too, but I don’t think that would have worked.

  5. sms says:

    I like the new decade born in snow.

    nice Colin

    and my that beard groweth!

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