Douglas Dunn

For Frances Across Loch Linnhe, Michael Russell
Somehow it all gets done and over with —
The office emptied of its archival dross,
Papers re-read, or binned, the years of breath
Re-breathed, moment by moment. Why feel cross
At this departure? Why feel worse than sad
For rusted, faded memos, decisions taken,
Or not taken, the good, indifferent, bad,
Right ways of doing, and the mistaken?
Permit no tears, but still, allow a sigh
Closing a door on what was once my life,
My days, my work. Farewell, and so goodbye
While haar is forming over North-East Fife.
I feel like Jack Hawkins, his ship going down —
“Confidential books over the side? Carry on.”
And Number One fills bin-bags for the shredder.
Not Donald Sinden, but I trust in her.
Not pushed, but oh-so-very-gently shoved
Towards the book-loaded van and a pension,
To shelving shadows with the books I’ve loved.
Don’t laugh at Senex. Stuff your condescension.