Blame Dr Beeching
Trains no longer ran on the branch line
at the end of our road, and the station
had burned down years before. So your threat
to throw yourself off the footbridge
was a gin-inspired gesture even I saw through.
It was true, that after months of trying,
I had given up on you that night,
started chatting up your best friend
in the pub, didn’t see you sink down
into a morose gooseberry. But I had no idea
what would happen after I talked you down,
walked the booze out of your system,
took your hand that first time,
held you close, shared that first kiss.
Do you remember that first glass
of Vouvray? That tingle? A little bit of bite?
My garden’s like that today, everything
opening up. It smells of growth,
as warmth releases little puffs
of energy from every stretching stem.
We’ll walk along the narrow path
so you can feel the forms of leaf
and twig on either side. And then
the lawn, how your steps compress it.
It does no harm; it springs back
after we’ve gone.
Listen to the wind pushing through
the birch trees, moaning in the wires,
notice how the sun’s heat
switches on and off – cloud shutters.
Then we’ll sit, sheltered, and talk,
my cat in your lap or mine,
and we’ll try to make sense
of our separate worlds.
Colin Will is a poet, publisher and gardener living in Dunbar. He has had eight books published, the latest being The Book of Ways (Red Squirrel Press, 2014). He chairs the Board of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival.