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Bird Sanctuary — A Memory of My Fathe

Christopher Wiseman
From:   Crossing the Salt Flats. 1999


The Bass Rock out to sea, sunlit white now,
And I think of how it was part of those holidays
After the war, staying in North Berwick,

In exotic Scotland. That shining reminds me how
We took sightseeing boats, on the calmer days,
Around the Rock, two hours, seeing North Berwick

From the sea, watching the feeding gannets, how
They's plunge a hundred feet just to amaze
Us as we rocked on the Forth, out from North Berwick.

Mad skirl of birds! And that one year, somehow,
My father got permission to land. Long days
Of waiting, swimming in the pool in North Berwick,

And then the Bass Rock jetty, and then how
We climbed, avoiding nests, all in a daze
Of shriek, stink, and magic. Back to North Berwick

Triumphant, films used up, and it was how
My father managed it, far beyond my praise,
That I think of now, revisiting North Berwick,

Back here, without a father, in North Berwick,
No pleasure boats in the harbour these run-down days,
And the pool's abandoned. Only the birds dive now,



Christopher Wiseman's works copyright © to the author.


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