Am I one of the graceless
hordes of Saturday shoppers,
bowing to the God of consumerism,
two for the price of one at the end of every aisle?
Exotic fruits; mango, kumquat, figs,
tomatoes ripened on some far off vine.
Dutch butter, French cheese, Australian wine.
Christmas carols, out of season.
Absolution; I cut to the car park,
the still-empty trolley protesting.
The scent of winter in the air
and a sound that catches me by the throat.
I could sacrifice my soul
to this incantation. Wild geese,
skein upon skein, in perfect formation,
winging up the Carse of Gowrie.
If there is a map to all of this,
you might read it in my heart, my bone.
With the coming dark,
I feel the pull and turn for home.
About this poem
This poem was commissioned by Shiona Baird, MSP for North East Scotland, in 2005. It was part of the second stage of the SPL’s Holyrood Link project, through which poets and MSPs were partnered and explored areas of mutual interest.
Shiona Baird commented:
This has been a particularly rewarding experience. I undertook the exercise more to support the poets but have been overwhelmed by the rapport that developed so quickly with my poet partner.
Lydia has reflected more than just my political interest, she has captured the very essence of our shared feeling for the wonder of nature, transcending our frenetic daily lives. I didn't realise that other people are aware and wonder at the glorious sounds of birds above the roar of city life as I often do. A real poet partner who has enriched my life and hopefully all those who read her work.
Lydia Robb commented:
Having met up with Shiona in Dundee, I discovered that amongst other things, she loved wild geese. I do too so felt that they had to have a mention and of course, the ‘green’ issues came into it. I have to admit that I found it a little difficult writing almost to a format and after several drafts, realised I had to revert to writing more for myself.