Vairy early on a spring morning,
the year afore last –
I went luikin in the Kilsyth foothills for a God.
In the Garrel Glen,
a journey into experience began.
The early morning light wis wunnerfu’ –
luminous without being fierce.
I luiked fa’ a lang time,
fa this God –
realising with every step [and breath taken]
that I had hardly begun tae see!
I gaither that the Kilsyth Wayfarers’
used to ramble here.
I came across several o’ them
in a churchyard withoot a church.
Wan broken tombstone aifter anither.
I returned tae the Garrel wi’ my friend:
‘airmed’ wi’ new fangled gear
and satellite coordinates [for the God’s heid].
Bit, alas, we cud find nae carved God!
It wis then that we came across a shepherd,
gaithering his flock.
He telt us to ask his wife –
fa she wud guide us.
Whit a wunnerfu place she led us tae.
It wis here in dappled, gentle light,
that we met a maist fierce luikin God!
On the same rock face
my friend spotted yer
G R A F F I T I O.
[I hud hairdly begun tae see!]
Here ye carved yer name, date, and hame toon.
That year wis 1892,
an yer hame, Kilsyth.
I noo ken,
thanks tae a’ the new fangled stuff
– o’ which my time noo benefits –
that ye were born, an deid, Kilsyth.
How yer life changed.
That wis the year you married Margaret.
Yer parents did not live to celebrate this special day –
yer mam dying the year afore.
Peter, yer brither, a policeman –
wis much respecktit in Kilsyth.
A photograph o’ him in uniform survives –
I wunner if you luiked like him?
Yer childhood wis spent by the Garrel burn.
From Charles Street and Duntreath Terrace –
you had tae cross the footbridge to get tae
That footbridge is still there,
an leads tae
the war memorial and
Music still plays.
I cannae see it.
But I hear it!
The sounds of the Garrel.