Tom’s warmest smile is the sun at its prime. He swaggers in his baggy trousers, pipe smoke drifting in whirls as he hums pitch imperfect. His satin smooth fingers tap the beat.
Tom’s a firebrand, risking quicksand; never the doubting kind.
Saturday mornings, the bell sings as he steps into the New Town Bookshop, slips down hushed aisles skims, searches, dreams. Eat your heart out, Bertrand Russell.
Sunday afternoons, seated with quiet son, chatty daughter, sharing rainy matinees, his eyes brim milk-moist, skin mopped dry with a crumpled hankie.
Weekdays, he hugs Gran, strokes Tweed, waves cheerio, twice, brings Nessie wildflowers on a whim; her family man, our gentle man.
Maggie Mackay’s pamphlet ‘The Heart of the Run’ (2018) is published by Picaroon Poetry and her full collection ‘A West Coast Psalter’, Kelsay Books, is available now. In 2020 she was awarded a place in the Poetry Archive’s WordView permanent collection. She reviews poetry pamphlets at https://sphinxreview.co.uk (Happenstance Press) and loves to daydream with a dram.
It was what he did when we went away for the day, made up sandwiches, egg, cold bacon. If we were being posh – salmon, a little bit of salad, lettuce, tomato, cucumber. It did not matter how far we were going, he took a kettle – a stove – the kitchen sink, everything so that we wouldn’t have to go in somewhere and pay exorbitant prices. We watched the fun, his excitement as he tried to light a Primus stove, in the wind and out in the rain, to make a cup of tea. Get a rug out of the car, spread over the wet grass, determined we would enjoy a picnic, despite dampness creeping up his legs as he handed us our treats.
in this summer brightness I am a pup again with Dad outside the garden shed as he saws to fix a step for me to mount the rocking horse whose head he crafted in the shed at his vice whose eye he painted and whose reins made of ribboned cord hang loose for me the mane an old brown carpet strip I watched him tack with care and did not dare to say I hated how it felt to me like cotton wool in Aspirin shiver and baking in the sun I shiver as if the future had come shadowed and adult he smiles at my impatience holds out his hand and I step up to his step
in the hut are his drawer of sharpened chisels the carefully adjusted planes the line of lasts from father down to me leather wax and thread for him to repair shoes I wear happily strike sparks from segs click click my way into today.
The Hut was first published in Brantwood, Cinnamon Press, 2019
George Colkitto writes for the pleasure of words. Recent publications are two poetry collections from Diehard Press, The Year of the Loch and Waitin tae meet wie the Deil and a pamphlet from Cinnamon Press, Brantwood, that place of Little Green Poems.
There he sits in dusk in his favourite chair and the fiddle comes jigging, jigging, his fingers drumming Carmina Burana, baton-hand Beethoven strings, head nodding in a dream within my dream.
Tobacco tang swirls across his eyes slipping like melt. Golden Virginia, a gold packet, crackles to life. There’s a library book open, waiting to be read. He’s walking, walking to what counts.
Walk to me. Forty years of seasons and ageing, and a blackbird’s song.
My Father as a Zephyr
Lightest of all things, he blows in light of a perpetual spring, scatters the salty Clyde with early summer breezes, with seaweed fronds on soft foam, fruit of our childhood holidays. His soft stirring smile greets aquamarine. His wind-song dances on fiddle strings, sotto. The west wind restores dear ones with a tease, a coorie-in, a purr.
Previously published by Three Drops from a Cauldron and nominated for The Pushcart Prize, 2017/18
Maggie Mackay loves family history which she incorporates into work in print and online journals. She is a Poetry Masters graduate of The Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University. She has a poem in the award-winning #MeToo anthology. Others have been nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem with one commended in the Mothers’ Milk Writing Prize. Her pamphlet ‘The Heart of the Run’ is published by Picaroon Poetry and the booklet ‘Sweet Chestnut’ published by Karen Little in aid of animal welfare. She is a reviewer for https://www.sphinxreview.co.uk/