My end was written into my very beginning, Into my terminal genes – My past and future are always inferred, Before I was born, my death was assured. With fate or biology, there is no winning, We’re entropy machines – But the road we take is mine and yours, To pass the time between the wars.
Despite the chimes and fireworks, Despite the cheers and resolutions, New Years start off slow – As continuity, not revolution. The banks begin on holiday, The schools are easing into term – There aren’t too many early birds, But then, there aren’t that many worms. The world is in need of a lie-in, Before the problems start to press. Even I am barely trying, Slurring rhymes with extra esses.
My feet were frozen, but for you, Who sheathed them safe in cotton. My toes would wriggle, all day through, My nails were chipped and rotten. My shins lacked spots beneath my trews, I couldn’t slide on wooden floors, My feet were too-small for my shoes, And empty was my chest of drawers, But you have given me a lift, I’m walking taller, free of holes – All thanks to your so-thoughtful gift, That sweetly saves my soles.
I asked her what was the tartan she wore, She smiled and told me Smith. I’d never considered that Clan before, But fair enough – the Smiths of yore, The Sassenachs of Aviemore, The flints in the monolith – The common Clan for the ev’ryman, The hammers and tongs of myth.
She asked me the tartan in which I deck, Buchanan, perhaps, or Brodie, or Beck ? I smiled, and told her Burberry Check.
It seems that the Gaelic word for smith is the origin of the Clan McGowan, but that even before surnames arose in the Highlands, some Scots had Anglisised their profession to ‘smith’.
You told me how you loved me, As deep as the magma beneath our very feet – Erupting, flowing, building, forever, Melting the stoniest heart with its heat. You told me how you loved me As tall as the Andes, and ev’ry bit as tough – I thought we were raising mountains together, But in the end, it was nothing but a bluff.
Chickens can fly, if they want to, Turkeys too, Though they rarely do. Peacocks can manage the haul, Tails and all, When they need to shoo. So don’t let anyone tell you That they’re grounded – he hasn’t a clue. They may be lazy, yes, And yet these flightless always flew.
There’s some things I’ve forgotten That I know that I’ve forgotten – That I notice where the hole is, Where the synapses are rotten. Yet there’s other things, I swear, I never knew, were never there – But they clearly weren’t important As they fall into the air.
Fiddlers do it on the bias, Swaggering about the shore – They lope-along lopsided With one pincer too-provided-for. An asymmetric sexual signal – Over-big, a pumped-up rig, To wave it peek-a-boo. I wonder if they topple when they do ?
It’s always one-nil, for or against, In my memory, Always four-four-two. Grandad would take me, shine or rain, In my memory, Were we the red or the blue ? Half-time pies and always singing, Stripey scarves across the board, And Grandad smiling, regardless of winning In my memory, And oh, his face when we scored !