The Man

.!. Above Boleskine 29th June 1996 .0..1....0..1. In Memoriam A.C. .0..1... 

It was a high place, sacred to the man who had
Owned the land there.  A rough hill formidable with
Boulders and sliding shelves of rock, great misshapen
Lumps of stone bundled high above the portico 
And the delicate lawn.  Back then there would 
Have been no trees, none of the birch and douglas fir, 
Just panoramic water and the mountain brooding opposite.  
We found it that afternoon - the correct angularity for his 
Armlength and height.  Extract the saplings, dig through
Accumulations of roots and pine needles, and it was exactly
What he must have used, clean and covered with a cloth,
Some sumptuous draping thing of gold and crimson.
We decided to honour him by imbibing our own portable
G and Ts on the crag, entering by his doors as was only right.
We planned poetry from the man's Collected Works, creamy
Church candles and a fire.  And he would be there but it needed
A full moon to make conducive atmosphere.  By way of confirmation,
Two Schweppes pottery bottles appeared as if by
Magic from the early nineteen-hundreds - a basecurve spied
Through heather roots, pulled by hand from knotted soil.
One was intact, the other spoiled, but assiduous hunting 
Turned up the shards, the neck, and modern methods would
Make it new again.  At that precise moment I remember,
The sun shone.  
That was how we arrested time, brought back the man
For a moment, from not quite a hundred years.
We could imagine him with his harris tweeds, litre of gin,
Ice-cubes and lemon stowed in his pack - for all was done 
With an eye on etiquette as was only right.  
Perhaps he watched the rising moon, or the sun go down 
Over the mountain opposite, the one he liked to climb
For he was young and energetic then.  He must have 
Thought about the same things we do now:
His life, his love, his women, the ceremonies of honour due 
Much more than these.  So we positioned ourselves 
Exactly where he must have sat to discard these artefacts, his empties.
We felt communion with the man beyond scenery, beyond
All the years the rocks had sat behind.  And we'll go back to be
Sacrosanct with him - to speak some words, light some candles,
Look at the moon, drink some gin, just for the hell of it.
Just for the man.
Collected Works
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