A window shutter opens onto a fleeting sight
of a child’s yellow dimpled ball kicked up a hill –
of a father and his brother, their wives and kids,
in a municipal Sunday park, just as if it were yesterday.
Borne by the wind through the trees, the ball
wavered in its flight, beset in its purposelessness.
Fifty years on, the significance is plain –
it was really more balloon than ball, in the grip
of many cold and calculating gravities.
A DIFFERENT ENDING
Do we turn and go back,
back to find where we lost the way,
back to when it all began to unravel?
At what point was the potential lost,
our lives a different track taken?
I remember it well.
I was seventeen and a half and only a boy, but a boy
that could apparently paint and big Ian McCulloch,
a tutor at that time, the painter of Adam and Eva
(Pat Lally’s bête noire) in the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall,
looked at my work and smiled and told me how ‘really rather good’
it all was, and I knew, over forty years ago, that there was
my lost thesis, right there and then, sometime back in 1976.
And now, travelling to work beneath this morning sky
of frosted cars and kitchen roofs, life-long dreams,
like still lone figures, stand on empty platforms.
BY HEIGHTS ROAD, BLACKRIDGE
Walking in Indian file beneath an open sky,
our hands trickle through swathes of tall dry grasses.
Stubborn hawthorns punctuate this rutted track,
their arthritic joints bearing green leaves.
In time, we reach our destination;
of Drumtassie Burn up by Black Loch, where
a herd of cows crest a hillock and stare out at us
like a posse of big-eared cowboy clowns.
They’ve read this script so many times before:
Strangers come to town; strangers leave.
Copyright © Frank Gillougley 2017
Frank Gillougley (27.7.59) above all else (bar God, of course), believes in the hugely comforting power of a chosen word. He has had 3 slim volumes of work published by Lapwing Press, Belfast.