After Reading Charles Sisson's 'Broadmead Brook' for C.H.S.
by David Wright
'Where in another century my mother
Had played and laboured.' There, for him, all was changed.
For me his lines recalled a Lowland valley
My forbears laboured in: with nothing changed
Bar hedgerows, grown to trees, and fallen stones
Marking a farm; and ruined Auchlewan
A ruin still. There once my mother played
And in another century. I recall
Walking with her some sixty years gone by
Beside its river to Pinclanty Mill,
She naming every field – for all had names –
Those bounded by the river known as 'homes'.
There, by the mill, long silenced, a sheep-pen
Shaped like a shield was pointed out to me:
'That was the cottage once, and that is where
My father and your grandfather was born.'
And when, long after, myself and old man,
I brought his great-granddaughter to that valley
I found no change bar decay: stones remained
Where they had fallen,; autumn stalked the leaves
And that was all. Even the curious field's
Contour, next to that sheepfold, kept its claim
To the name my mother gave and had been given,
Which in my turn I gave: 'The Coffin Home'.