Contemplating a map
Annals of the trilled R, gently stroked L,
Lamenting O of local literature,
Open, on this, their one-page book, a still
Land-language chattered in a river’s burr.
Small-talk of herdsmen, rural argument –
These soft disputes drift over river-meadows,
A darg of conversations, a verbal scent –
Tut-tutted discourse, time of day, word-brose.
Names places have been dictionaried in
Ground’s secret lexicon, its racial moan
Of etymology and cries of pain
That slit a summer wind and then were gone.
A mother calls her daughter from her door.
Her house, my stone illusion, hugs its hill.
From Eaglesham west to the rocky shore
Her cry is stretched across bog-asphodel.
The patronymic miles of grass and weddings,
Their festivals of gender, covenants,
Poor pre-industrially scattered steadings,
Ploughed-up davochs – old names, inhabitants.
And on my map is neither wall or fence,
but men and women and their revenue,
As, watching them, I utter into silence
A granary of whispers rinsed in dew.