Six Nine Seven

Below gallows where smugglers’ fates were sealed
An upturned Range Rover rots in a field
A couple deep in thought plod a moss troopers’ trail
Along a beech sheltered burn in the blistering hail
Past the towering skeletal crossroads tree
Now gone, but whose spirit they can still see
From the garden full of moles’ tea plates
In a haunted, crumbling sheep fold of rock and slate

Explorer hating bitterness shows its face
Through an antique door slammed into place
By a curmudgeonly lathe turner in a shed
Guarding rusty horseshoes and a wild boar’s head
By the plastic cow advertising shakes
That milks a caravan site by a manmade lake
Leans his corrugated jumble of treasure and tweed
Where the teeth of ancient farm tools bite the hands that feed

Brave souls of Flodden whose deaths were certain
Ghostly sentinels now over the wooden circle
Of an Anglo-Saxon hearth and home
In a field of beasts, where gliders are flown
Over a tractor bedecked in fairy lights
Guiding mighty Osprey through the tree top heights
Above Crow and Pheasant, ancient brethren of the field
One now picking at the other in a verge side meal

Oh road, you are full of highs and lows
With your bends and hazards, stags and voles
But despite your harshness, floods and cracks
You have welcomed us down untrodden tracks
Through rain, sun and starlight together we go
To reach our beloved Borders home
Ever changing, you guide us to our sandstone heaven
And we love yet hate you, Six Nine Seven.

Words: Helen Temperley

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