Remains.

 

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The byres are coming down, to be replaced with new ones. There are workmen on the far side of the roof. I sit drawing, listening to their conversation. ‘Aye Christmas is coming.’ Starlings on the wire,  geese in formation. ‘I’m in the wrong place yet again’. Crows, shotgun. Angle grinders golden stars, ‘….sparking like fuck up here’. Each corrugated sheet is removed. ‘See over there, there’s someone sitting on that pile of rubble. They’re wearing red and there’s something white. Thought it was fuckin’ Santa, man !’ ‘What are they doin’ ?’ ‘I’m drawing’, I shout. ‘She’s drawing’. ‘What’s she drawing?’ ‘All of this’, I say. ‘Uh huh?’ Silence. Stillness. Shatters. Screech of metal on metal. ‘I must have magic hands, ma brain doesna ken when they’re doin’ things’. The cold seeps and sits on bones. I stand  and stretch. Daylight is dwindling.

November day.

 

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You picked a fine one. Take some apples if you want,  there’s plenty.

At the edge of the pond a birds nest sways in the crook of a branch, it leans right out over the water. I used to live by the sea lying awake listening to the waves roar, fearful. In dreams the house would float far out to sea.

Wind skites the surface, a row boat slowly spins and there at its bow a cormorant

gothic, mythic, glorious.

It stretches its wings as wide as the pond,

incanting spells,

whin, haw, haglet, craw,

blackie, phasie, doo.

The burns all around here used to be full of fish. Mind after work going out with my rod. Now they’re all gone.

The sky darkens and squally rain blatters the grassy banks making it slippy in wellies.

A kestrel hovers for a moment and wheels away to the north.

Off for a day of health and safety.

My knees are buggered now see. Stuff I used to do when I was young. My ain fault. A rope around your neck, pulling out an engine. Ha, daft eh….

I take a bite of an apple and pull a face watching the music box bird take flight

singing its song for winter.

Lost tracks.

 

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Its knobbled bones poke through,

worn down by wheel, foot, hoof.

Under the carpet, all but forgotten, the road to the kirk went this way once.

See along here,

carrying coffins, prayers, sins, song.

Age old rhythms far away now, faint, the edges of memory are brittled with age. Yet still the groove can cut the rug, crackling, spittling to life when the needle touches skin.

One two three, one two three,

dust rises and falls.

Settles again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the byre.

 

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I hear the beasts along the track well before I reach the farm. In now for winter, they bellow, snort, moan, even sing. A gloomy November day, the little light there is washes through the slatted wood of the byre. ‘1771 I think she is…..’ Buzzing of the clippers, a stripe down each of their backs so they can be sprayed for fluke – Ian tells me about the life cycle of the parasite that lives in the liver. Whistling, ‘go on’, ‘hup hup’, as they are moved around the byre. I ask Craig what he likes about the job and he says he just likes working with cattle, he can’t see himself doing anything else. Talk turns to bovine related injuries, how some simply have mean demeanours. Just like folk. Raymond announces its 19 years to the day since he started at the farm. Talk of pensions bring grumbles and its noted that for some Glasweigans life expectancy means they won’t even reach retirement. Pause, ‘196’…….a flu vaccine, a trim of the hair in their ears. Sitting in the hay, drawing the men and the cows.