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Twa Ducks at the Port Elphinstone Brig

by Derek Smith

Its fower year syne the ane in twa-hunner
year flood; sic a muckle spate it smoord
the fires o’ Hell and rose like the deid

through the very founds, ruckling fluirboards,
seepin through the fabrics o’ oor lives,
watermarking these days. Indelibly.

Whit rare gifts o’ second sicht would hae seen
sic a torrent in the noo mickle rin
o’ the River Don, whaur in the sun a pair

o’ mallards shokel; the drake richt prood
o’ his garb, skinklin like a dream coat,
his neebor’s shawl a mair modest affair,

drab as a Puir Clare nun. Further doon
ablow, a lang-droont sheep, grey as the nappy
o’ Christ on the cross, coories aroon

a staunchion to entertain the craws.
I staun oan the brig, a man abin it aw.
Weel versed in reason, I ken fu weel

that probability and the dyke,
rebuilt wi Tam’s Forest Quarry stane,
stack the odds in my favour. Mostly.

But, for the weetest winters yet to come,
there maun bide a deeper faith
in the twa ducks’ prayers and the sacrificial yowe.

Northwords Now acknowledges the vital support of Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
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