THE EAST NEUK
What am I without him?
who opened these eyes
shaped my every perception of this world?
As yesterday we drove the coast
of our childhood: the red tiled-roofs
labyrinthine streets of longing
a past from which my heart
may never find its way out
towards the glittering sea
high on the horizon at the end
of every vista.
The old park behind Crail church
where you dazzled the local lads
with your incredible football skills
when we reluctantly accepted their challenge.
The churchyard whose unquiet voices
chilled my soul each time I was sent to retrieve
the overshot ball.
High in the sky like a sun
that ball will never fall now
the whispers of the dead a promise
all too eloquently fulfilled.
The seagull that attacked us
swooping over the church:
we joked it was a dead sailor
from our father’s naval folklore;
I see now it was you
an omen from the future
your restless soul crying out
for the love that life could never give you.
But I can find it for you at last
a little longer now, be patient
and I will return to you
(The East Neuk of Fife is an area of Scotland characterized by ancient fishing villages of narrow winding streets. The obituary of my brother Ally Thompson can be read in The Herald newspaper here.)