where her dark stain spreads
Across the paving stones,
She sprawls in morning ambush
Back propped against the Bank.
Dark reptilian slits peer out
At housewives’ dancing high-heeled feet.
A living sepia daguerreotype
Carrick’s own Geronimo.
Her rover’s face wind-chiselled.
Malevolent, yet somehow lost and sad.
No reservation’s barbs can hold
This virago traveller, Spirit woman.
What paths, what troubled miles have led
These booted feet at last to this?
Her only friends the enemy boys
Who jeer and taunt her frailty.
Who, laughing, force her up to teeter,
Teeter legs aslant and slashing.
Seeking to count coup upon
Their bounding antelope backs.
To howl and curse at length to shed
Hot dirty burns of torment and frustration.
Scything the vibrant summer air
With her third leg’s hazel weight
Thenturn and beat her warrior rage
Upon the pavement’s desecration.
In some forgotten tinker Hogan
Beside a gravelled Highland burn
Did not a mother’s eyes gaze down
In warm-breast offered love
Upon her mewling newborn bairn?
…a tiny, ripening moment;
Fruited, picked and crushed
Beneath Necessity’s wounding tread.
As each inevitable seeding’s harvest
Soured the workworn vat of mother love.
Passing responsibility’s pack
To the daughter’s oldyoung shoulders,
Setting maiden feet upon
The path of lonely destitution.
Under what chaffing hawthorn bush,
Beneath what glistening sky
Did she at last, cold and alone,
Receive Infinity’s kiss of liberation………
George McEwan Orkney