On my heavy-legged way back from
flames, coffee, poems at Rankine’s Bay
the fading world surprises me
with one last flare erupting
goldenly over Torrs Hill.
I’d stamped the fire, scattered
still-burning logs onto cold rocks,
was careful, considerate, didn’t
want the possibility of complaints
by southmouthed weekend residents
afeared of caravans a mile distant
going up in smoke. And there,
atop those tenuous pitches,
something worse; a sky of ready
embers on the verge of spilling over
onto roads already glowing a long
way back to months of Sundays
sunk in front of tellies, drawn curtains,
Tam O’Shanter Inn, May 2016
Chico’s the size of a favela rat, sleek
as a racing snake. Don’t be fooled by his
tabletop antics, his one-take poses on
Kapoks of barstool, his acquired
resemblance to a pre-midnight Gremlin.
Chico has run with the old pack,
goes way way back to when dogs got things done,
ran loose in ordered roles, tackled
jaguars, anacondas, had endless
loyal fettle. Even now, a part of him
sits watchfully on the bottom step
of great Quetzalcoatl’s temple,
ready to repel invading hordes
of pagan neighbours, slice through
the jangling armour of Conquistadors.
He’ll settle for a biscuit, tickled lugs,
the hoppy fug of long-tamed men who
feed him cheese & onion crisps in pubs.
And while we’re sinking deeper in our beers
Chico sleeps & dreams of nothing less
than seeing off those spectacled fucking bears.
Copyright © Stuart A. Paterson 2016
Stuart’s 2015 collection of poems on Dumfries & Galloway, ‘Border Lines’ (Indigo Dreams), won the Best Poetry Pamphlet award at the 2016 Saboteur Awards in London. His first collection of poetry in Scots, ‘Aye’, was published by Tapsalteerie in June 2016. He lives by the Solway coast in Galloway.