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Donkin's World: Tay Week

Richard Donkin's poem records a week spent in Scotland - remote from control.

Remote from control

I found the world for
the price of a cappuccino
in McDonald’s in Perth.
Three hours it took
to get unstuck,
sifting a week’s emails,
storing some,
deleting most unopened.
The river bank
out of signal,
those metal phone antennae,
passing for conifers
at Bridge of Allan,
being ostracized
in these parts.

The TV wouldn’t work,
just a still picture of
some unkempt garden,
a glass cold frame
broken in the foreground.
We looked at it
like dogs begging
at the master’s table,
tried four different handsets,
but the Champions’ League
was as Ithaca to Troy
and Rooney’s goal as
remote as the heel cut that
silenced poor Achilles
and the whole of Stamford Bridge.

So we let the red spot die,
tinkered with the crossword
and had a cup of tea
and went to bed
and even read
a chapter or two.
Communications dead,
we waited on the weather
and stood beside the Tay,
engorged from flooding in the west,
wondering what to do for the best,
we set the satnav for St Andrew’s
and sheltered with our picnic
by the shore
in the lee of
wind-scored rocks.

And afterwards we paid twelve pounds
in Scots and English notes for
a round of the museum
with dozens of golf clubs
and feather-centered balls
and the Claret jug.
I thought they’d take it home, I said,
but no, it’s here,
emptied of everything
but dreams and sweat
concentrated in a moment’s
celebration, jug held high
or kissed for cameras
and the family album,
online these days,
but only at McDonald’s
when fishing near Perth.


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