Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Birlinn fills the silence

Some time ago I had an unusually vivid dream, a rare one that left me with a positive expectancy for days after. In the dream I wandered into an old dilapidated workshop. The roof had given way while glass and debris lay all around. Drug user’s needles poked up from piles of cans and broken bottles and a constant dripping noise echoed out any other sound. I felt very fearful and had to summon the courage to move forward through the building. Suddenly, as I turned a corner there stood the most beautiful exotic tree, quite unexpected. A clear pond full of plant and aquatic life was there next to the tree which had itself grown out of the stone floor. It was an image of sheer unsurpassed beauty in the midst of decay. A few days later I heard a radio Scotland interview with Colin Macleod talking about the Galgael Trust. I had not heard of Galgael until that moment but thought that the organisation and their tree logo related to the dream and the overall theme of new life growing from an old industrial landscape.

Birlinn fills the silence

The rabble of my dream-world stilled

‘A message’ brought halt to nightly adventures

There I was alone in strange enclosure

Beneath rusting iron beams on feeble tenures

Whistling wind filled buildings,

empty Twisted corrugates had given way to sky

The visible remains of a speech less tanoy,

Dry docks drier than bone dry

A place that once supported kind and kin

And enthusiasm for life’s gifts

Had now receded and grown thin

A tale of the wind that shifts

The solitary echo of falling water drops

drip, Drip, DRIP

Drills a hole in ones heart

A lifeless shipyard, broken glass underfoot

Where the threads of life depart

Used syringe that once contained liquid ‘bolt hole’

A serum to take one to the edge of known time

They were caste among the discards

Smashed bottles of strong lager and cheap wine

Each step into further fear,

the fading myth Wondered what it could revealed to ‘me’

And there with unapologetic place of worth

Renewal in the serenity of a tree

Root demands surface unconditional ‘life’

Branches sway to sooth conditions Inherent in common strife

A primary coloniser to an inhospitable place

Breathing, purifying the air

Where we still hear the whirl of the lathe

A wooden column of growing strength

That sprung from solid stone Points towards a state of being

Forgotten but not unknown

The threat of silence resisted, hammer falls once more

Who knows what the rigors of industry had in store

Building boats now to voyage internally to undiscovered shore

Propeller thrust superseded by rhythm of wooden oar

The bearing fruit and seed of tree

Caste in places that they once knew

And Birlinn fills the silence

Where the great ships horns blew

Desmond Mc Donald Simpson.

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