Second Hand - Poem by Garry Stanton
I reach into a Grandfather Clock.
The parlour is still,
in this dead afternoon hour,
and smells quietly of
Broons books, yellow, and archaic
I feel a spring inside, my head
awkwardly angled. I fumble.
Through the ancient sash I see
the Strath, glowing in October
Ancestors glower in sepia.
The last bluebottle throbs
and bobs. Bumps against walnut.
A green-eyed orange feline,
in, then leaves, bored.
I hear him
pad down the hall, boards creaking.
The mice are no longer
in danger here.
is seventy-eight in 1961.
Red of whisker, Pictish, strong,
he steps heavily on a rusty nail,
hammered into a plank
by his own great-grandfather.
It hides in chickweed,
and by November his tick has ceased.
I fumble again. Pull. Twist.
The old clock seems to shake
And rock. The pendulum lives again,
Ancestors smile gently.
‘Well done', they grudge.
‘Just don't let it go to your head, young man.
Whoever you are'.
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