A Song for Sandy
A Song for Sandy
i.m. Alexander Hutchison (1943-2015)
Of course, there may be swans
on the Kelvin now, kingfishers if you
close your eyes and dream in blue –
sleepy heads breathing sweet summer sun.
Sadly, too soon, all this has gone
downstream to spangled reed beds
where small fish keep their cool and you know
what will be true and when
fresh water will smack of salt again.
And, yes, lies will not sink the truth, left
to good salt, little by little
until our aching ayes will sea
dancing waves of possibility, blue horizons
burnt and turned to ash in our hands.
We’re fired-up on potash and smashed shells –
old smut scored onto sandstone rows,
broken fingernails scrabbling to unpick truth
and a glitter of mirrorball moon on the water
watched quizzically by a heron
who hopes for the scales of a thought
but not as much as he hopes for a meal
like the poor gleaning our city for food and respect
and a cloud in the shape of a cloned starfish
grows out of the head of a man crossing the river.
Night is staining the edges of the sky,
a tie-dye throw cast on the horizon
scattering shattered diamonds above our heads,
drawing us back in and together
to map out our spinning wheels of fortune.
Our weans ask: is this in real life?
And, enigmatic, we reply:
the real of life is elsewhere’s dream.
Wake up, even if you’re not asleep
fish suppers, mince an totties are still on the go
and you can still die with a promise or a prayer,
die tied to winter, in salt-stained leather
buttoned to your weathered neckline
as much yourself as the bin-shed crow
as much the crow as the croak-throat gull, diving
inside the meniscus of life’s envelope.
So it’s all back to yours – where the secrets are kept
secure and safe as dawn.
In the pause between exhaling & inhaling
there’s a space for words to form
in the transfused marrow of your ageing bones,
in the living grace of your roomy heart –
to hear that one tune whistled again.
These are all songs he would sing
found in a Blackbird’s songbook,
carried in summer’s gentle breeze –
gathered in by an ear at the river’s edge.