It stinks round here –
small town, closed mind, rank
behind the cavalcade.
Hey you, with the silken rosette,
get down off your horse and bag up the mess,
it’s good for the roses, you know,
go pluck yourself another
thorny red one.
All made quaint. Even now.
And yes! They would have us believe
the Southern Upland Way to be less jagged,
the starting band on a home-spun blanket;
plain stitch dyed natural, heather, bracken,
moss, the ‘stane’ of an ancient cairn –
It belongs in the washhouse!
coarse wool softened only by the pummeling
hands scooping scum
as if it can’t rise to the surface,
as if it doesn’t exist
like the crack in that old tin bath,
new fire contained by the grate
we huddle round.
Here, they climb the hills for one reason,
not to take in the air, but look down.
Carol Stewart is a mother and grandmother living in the Scottish Borders. A former freelance editor, her poems have recently been published in 404 Ink, That (Literary Review) and Abstract: Contemporary Expressions.