Poetry

We have some creative talent in our midst. Here are some poems from local residents.

A Garvald Limerick, By Jim Pattison, 2014

In Gervitt there’s a braw piper laddie named Colin
And at his pipes he aye seems to be blawin’
Ye’d think wi’ this curse
Things couldnae get worse
But Davy next door’s got an accordion (accordyin!)

There is an old Inn doon at Gervitt
Where on a Fridays they aw’ fight to get servitt
But if Susan is in
and suppin’ the gin
Don’t fold your erms or you’ll get it!”

Garvald, by Judith Blatherwick, 2014

Judith says: “A little while ago an elderly lady wrote to me. She lived in Garvald as a child and shared her memories with me. Based on what she told me I wrote this poem for her. I can’t speak for the veracity of the facts but they are as given to me by this lovely lady. Her name is Margaret Tough.”

There is a little village
That I lived in, in my youth.
I cherish it with fondness
In my heart. That is the truth.

The village was a haven,
Just one road, not long or wide.
The villagers who lived there
Kept their cottages with pride.

Some characters I knew there
Still come to mind today.
This little country village
Was a lovely place to stay.

There was a local policeman
He had a quiet time.
I can’t remember if he
Ever had to solve a crime.

To fetch the milk was my job,
Bought directly from The Mains.
I did the job with gusto
Walking swiftly up the lanes.

But if they did not have it
Then The Grange is where I’d go.
The hill was quite a challenge
From the village down below.

The farmer had a fish pond.
In the winter, when it froze,
We’d slide and skate upon it.
That’s a secret, no-one knows.

For we had all had warnings
From our parents, so concerned.
This fish pond’s reputation
Was a harsh one, they had learned.

One day a horse and carriage
Had stepped on. The horse had reared,
And horse and cart and driver
Had, quite sadly, disappeared.

They’d broken through the surface
Where the ice began to thaw.
The horse and cart and driver
Hadn’t been seen any more.

For this was a strange fish pond.
It was deeper than you’d think.
It didn’t have a bottom,
So forever you would sink.

Now back down to the village.
Just a few more things to see.
A few more childish highlights
Which meant everything to me.

The grocer and Post Office
Were where housewives liked to meet.
But to the village children
Somewhere else was hard to beat.

Mrs Beaton’s Sweet Shop
Was much loved by boys and girls.
With caramels and toffees
And her thick black liquorice swirls.

But if her shop was busy
And we felt we couldn’t wait
We’d rush to buy our sweeties
Down the road from Mrs Tait.

This village, it is still there,
Though it’s changed a little bit.
But if I ever go there,
I go to the park and sit.

I close my eyes and think back
To the days when, as a child,
I’d landed in this village
And at once I was beguiled.

So if you go to Garvald
Please pass on my fond hello
To villagers who live there
And to those from long ago.

The Cottage in the Woods by Judith Blatherwick, 2014

This poem was inspired by a walk along past the cottages beside the burn.

There’s a cottage in the clearing
In the woods down by the brook.
I often like to walk there
And I always stop and look.

The cottage is neglected,
Though I’ve never thought it sad.
They say, down in the village,
The old lady there is mad.

But I have seen her often
And I think that they are wrong.
She’s at one with the cottage
Because she’s lived there for so long.

The cottage has a garden,
Laid around it like a rug.
The flowers lean towards it,
In a bright, sweet scented hug.

The garden is not tended.
It is wild and it is free.
In fact, were I a flower,
It is where I’d want to be.

I’ve often seen the lady,
As I’ve stood and looked a while.
I’ve heard her whisper softly
And then give a gentle smile.

I don’t know who she talks to
Or who she is smiling for.
But it seems the garden’s listening
When she steps outside her door.

I’ve passed there in the winter
When a hoar frost grips the air.
And she’s been in the doorway,
Talking, though there’s no-one there.

And out there in her garden
Crystal threads run through the trees.
Frozen webs of silver,
Glinting brightly in the breeze.

In springtime I have seen her
Watch her garden re-emerge.
I’ve watched the green shoots pushing
Through the brown earth with a surge.

The winter webs now sparkle
With an early morning dew.
Washed down with April showers,
They look clean and fresh and new.

In summer she still whispers,
Though I’ve no idea to whom.
Yet I don’t think she’s crazy,
As the villagers assume.

The webs, now dry and silky,
Float in heady summer air.
The flowers in full glory
Seem to hold them with great care.

In autumn she stands gazing
As the leaves fall to the ground.
I see her lips are moving
But I cannot hear a sound.

The silken cobwebs hold fast
As the wind blows up a storm.
Below the mice and insects
Search for somewhere to stay warm.

Then as I stand there watching
From the place I stand each day,
She stops while in mid-whisper,
And she turns to look my way.

“I think you have a question,
Something that you’d like to know?
To whom is it I whisper
With my voice so soft and low?”

I nod, ashamed and worried
In case she should think me rude.
I’d hoped she hadn’t seen me.
Never wanted to intrude.

Her eyes sweep round the garden,
Then she turns them back to me.
“Look around my garden,
Then describe what you can see.”

“I see your plants are wilting,
Ready for their winter sleep.
I see your cottage waiting,
Refuge from the snow, so deep.

“I see the leaves have fallen,
They are blanketing the ground.
I see so many creatures
As they scuttle all around.

“I see the lacy cobwebs
Wafting in the air like ghosts.
Artwork out of nature,
Framed with simple garden posts.

“I see a gentle lady
Who is at one with it all.
I watch her as she whispers,
In reply to nature’s call.”

She holds her ageing hand out
And she bends close to my ear.
Then in a lilting whisper
Tells me what I want to hear.

“My garden is a canvas
Filled with wild and living art.
I cannot live within it
Without doing my small part.

“The silken threads lend romance,
Give an otherworldly feel.
They blur the lines and boundaries
Between fantasy and real.

“The spiders do the spinning,
For no other work is finer.
I whisper patterns to them,
For I am the Web Designer.”

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