Northwords Now Issue 36

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Lullaby for a Folk Singer

for Dave

by Robin Wilson

stories do not sleep
stories never sleep
they find you in the dark
and make your hurt sing

it’s the first chord you borrowed
because it belonged to you truly
it’s the first chorus you shared
when voices recognised their loss
and lifted up their testimony

it’s the scale of the betrayal
it’s the time that it took
it’s the pettiness of history
it’s that we haven’t changed a bit

did you walk the birks of Aberfeldy?
did you hear the mavis singing?
did you follow Bonnie Dundee?
did you drink a service to your lassie?
are you my ain kind dearie-o?

it’s the Floo’rers o’ the Forest
falling as the moon stands still

and all the rogues and wantons
passing round the parting glass
cannot sing us back to blooming

the pride that swelled our chests
when we were young chevaliers
is dismissed by winter’s breath
that returns no whisper of youth
or prospect of the world’s honour

but you can summon company
when you call we will respond
with love songs of our own

stories do not sleep
stories never sleep
they find us in the dark
and make our hurt sing