There are granite curb-stones missing
like the town is under investigation –
evidence for some child grown old
who cannot believe the photographs
of him playing in in the street
and how in the dusk the eyes ceased
to be king, dethroned by the ears,
how somewhere there was one stone
that made him fall, drew blood
but, for once, not a single tear.
The fob-chains of the Corrigans
The men stand starched in their collars
perched on clicked heels of hobnail,
one antler between the lot of them
cut into buttons to keep them decent.
Their paunches draped in fob-chains
of thick silver drooping from waistcoats,
two arcs mirrored in greased handle-bars
below unbreathing broken Roman noses.
The chains tether at the belly-button
a hunter watch and a vesta of matches,
time and the flames still held at bay.
They weed behind chained civic gates.
The skulls of lost sheep
that once grazed these hills
are found with flat teeth,
plated with gold-leaf.
There are traces of gold
in more or less everything –
over the thousands of pages
I’ve dragged my stub nib.
The value seems to be in
the living, not the finding.
Richie McCaffery is a doctoral candidate in the Scottish Literature Department of the University of Glasgow. His articles have appeared in such places as The Dark Horse, Études écossaises, The Scottish Literary Review and The International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen.
He recently finished editing Finishing the Picture: The Collected Poems of Ian Abbot (1947-1989) for publication later in 2015 by Kennedy and Boyd.