The Creel Man and The Body Boarder

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One works the sea, the other worships it,

One runs to the carapace of the prime element

The other walks steady in and off the deck.

 

The quotidian pace of this northern water

Means nothing to the sea floor denizens,

The surfer goes to a different deep

Paddling out, past and round Kirkcaldy Harbour.

 

Fife, Scotland..the world wait as the tides turn and turn and ebb and flow….

 

Kirk Harbour       Kirkcaldy Herbour/Harbour, Fife, Scotland.

Ubuntu

Chief Seattle

The hyperbole, the plasticity of truth

Had demeaned the word world

The pandemic reminds us

We all share the same breath+.

 

The billionaire shall be as lifeless

As the jellyfish picked apart on the hard shore.

 

The grasping politician shall be shamed into morality

As the mother screams for her child.

 

The unappreciative shall hold theirs

Lady, man or child

Like an ocean of love will not secede, relent or give out.

 

*When former president of the United States, Barack Obamamade a speech earlier this year in Johannesburg — at the 2018 Nelson Mandela annual lecture — he said that Mandela “understood the ties that bind the human spirit.”

“There is a word in South Africa — Ubuntu — that describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us,” Obama said.

 

+ ‘All things share the same breath, the beast, the tree, the man, the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.’ Chief Seattle.

Greyfriars Bobby in the Time o the Virus

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Here A sit an immortal memory tae loyalty

‘Whit is thon? A cloth mask bindin ma metal jaws!’

 

An mair fowk wi the same

Lik a plaque is here.

 

Hoo thon?

Safe in thair metal boxes, playin wi wee fantoosh

Squares lik wee tombs, skinklin picters an souns.

 

It is near one o’clock and the castle* gun will skelp oot.

A hear him in the dusk an the city is so douce-

Quiet lik niver afore.

 

It is ma maister’s voice callin me hame

Whaur all is calm, quiet an steady at last.

Scots Glossary:

tae-too; whit-what; thon-this; mair fowk-more people; fantoosh-fancy; skinklin-shiny/bright etc; picters an souns-picture and sounds;  skelp oot-sound/bang; douce-quiet, soft; maister-master; hame-home; whaur-where.

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872. The story continues to be well known in Scotland, through several books and films.

His statue in central Edinburgh sits near his grave and that of his master.

*Since 2001 the gun in question is a L118 Light Gun, which is fired from the north face of Edinburgh Castle. However, the firing of the gun started in 1861 as a time signal for ship’s captains to set their chronometers in Leith Harbour 2 miles away. It is fired at one o’clock.

The Virus in the Townships

Roodpaan

I fear for the townships

Where cheek by jowl and taxis hum.

 

Brendan’s polis* boots were extra moon density tough

Unlike the bodies dissipated by fire

He showed me in their winter our summer.

 

Roodepan township-

Community, love and family titanium to the apartheid

Acid of hatred and separation.

 

I think of the Oma who seemed 100 and loved

Like a 21 year old free in the sunniest Paris spring.

 

Each day, I watch, listen see its red ground-

Northern Cape, South Africa in dreams and awake.

 

* Polis = Police, Scots word

Red and Green In the Park In the Time of the Virus

It blares at a socially distant stop

Red saying ‘Danger, thin ice!’

Green saying the pond is not be swam in.

 

The walked dogs, tracked toddlers

The worried, closer couples ignore the colours.

 

The unseen, the virus which is untouchable

Is beyond colour, is intangible, a carapace

So deadly to its myriad random victims.

 

My stretching and karate done

Seems like David being at a toe of the universal Goliath

A small, a minute a nothing presence.

 

Still

No, that feeling is defeat

And the fight is never over.

 

Even when rest and succour is taken-

Spirit above all else in the fight

Love above, even that.

 

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The Kirkcaldy* Mile

It says on the sign on the sea-bounded Esplanade

Its first iteration in the other deadly ‘20s

Now it is more death-like than busy.

 

A hundred years have passed-

Wars amongst humanity

The others that have ripped the earth.

 

The moment’s hour is seven pm

And now it is death-like.

 

A few cars, a few figures

Socially and emotionally distant from each other. Me.

Definitely it is death-like.

 

A camper van is lit up like a boxed candle

It is dead-eye centre on the sea front

Parked from a live Lidl store-shutting up

Unusually for this Wednesday it is death-like quiet.

 

I walk the mile and back

Walking, waiting for Scotland’s spike

For now the Kirkcaldy Mile is death-like.

 

*Kirkcaldy-birthplace of Adam Smith-founder of modern economics, Fife, Scotland