Pilgrimage IV - Worlds

And on these machines
as they cross the countryside
from one coast’s end
to the other, I sit

squashed between three 
women: an Edinburgh one
with tartan trews, and two
Glasgow friends.  The air

is smoky and the window
blocked, time crawls.
In the land of the living,
Soundgarden in my ears, the

square rosebeds, the oak
tree and the neat pointed
crosses of the sisters’ graves
seem other-worldly – their

narrow silent beds an affront
to movement and life,
as if in death they
regretted their living cloister.

I look up and am met 
by Scottish coalyards, new
houses being built, a
temperate sunset.  The peace

that was there I hope
to bring with me, the Glasgow
women drink whisky and lemonade,
bacardi, eat crisps.  I am home.

The Berwick countryside stretches
on either side of the train –
pines and a pale sky, ploughed
fields, ready for sowing.
Holy City
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