I keep the heid. I’m cool. If asked - but you never ask - I’d answer in tongues hinting of linns, of Leven, Nethan, Kelvin, Cart - but neutral, balancing both banks equally as I flow... Do I judge? I mind the hammer-swing, the welders’ flash, the heavy steel-built hulls I bore downstream from my city, and maybe I was a blether-skite then, a wee bit full of myself, when we seemed gey near unstoppable... But how can I stomach any more of these storm rains? How can I slip quietly away to meet my lover, the wide-armed Ocean, knowing I’m a poisoned chalice she must drain, drinking everything you chuck away... So these days, I’m a listener, aye. Think of me as a long level liquid ear gliding slowly by. I heard the world’s words, the pleas of peoples born where my ships once sailed, I heard the beautiful promises... and, sure, I’m a river, but I can take a side. From this day, I’d rather keep afloat, like wee folded paper boats, the hopes of the young folk chanting at my bank, fear in their spring-bright eyes so hear this: fail them, and I will rise.
About this poem
Narrated by Eilidh Cormack