Some moments stay fresh and clear
as this morning or five minutes ago
though crowds of later, mostly forgotten events
have killed or changed people I used to know.
In nineteen sixty-one and the month we wed
I pleased a roomful of folk so much that
‘I’m proud of you,’ my young wife said.
Our son liked to walk holding my hand
for years before he was ten.
If another boy came in sight we parted,
walked like strangers until, round a corner,
he felt it was safe for us to join hands again.
My marriage ended soon after.
My son dislikes me now, is a real stranger.
Queer how, near my own end, such old moments
stay so uselessly fresh and clear.
Sunk ships do not dream of wreck,
storms and battles that sank them.
Their hulls recall wakening to din
of last rivets hammering in,
the glide down the slipway and how
their bows first bit into brine
that buoyed them up and out to sea,
brine dissolving them now.
uncollected, first published in in the Dark Horse, No 26, 2011, © Alasdair Gray 2011, used by permission of the author