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:
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.