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The Racer Burn

by Robin Munro

When Scoulag moor has had its fill of rain
it lets the water leave,
a seabound urge
we intercept in ditches, cuts, lades and the like
(where Thom the engineer trained water to his will.)
This Racer Burn (before it had a given name)
ran through a Great Estate (before the ground had status).
John Patrick Stuart (to personalise the Marquess)
saw it was good to landscape in the Bute design
and had the Torr Wood brae laid out as Calvary
far from the dust of Jerusalem
fae from the dust of Cardiff coal.

The burn, incorporated, splashes into artificial pools,
stations, I suppose, of lamentation, absolution
and containment

then release
out of the Policies, over the beach,
into the Firth of fulfilment.

Today, a Glasgow boy playing on the shore
apart from the others, like John Patrick,
takes stone after stone he can barely carry
to place in the determined water.

He is young but has an old intent
to rein in, redirect,
be master, albeit for a second,
of the Racer Burn.


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