The Ghost Time
Turn the last page. Enter the Ghost Time.
There are no assurances. All is uncertain.
Pull back, and let fall, the last curtain.
Ghosts whisper things: strange rhythms, strange rhyme.
All was secure once, moved in direction.
Clues followed clues, expertise, detection.
Now the fumbled drop, the failed attempt to hold, the fall,
The silly flop and foolishness when the giants all turn small.
Road maps smudge and blur. Satnavs misdirect.
Your guess is as good as nothing mine selects.
Patience is endurance. The final frontier closes in.
It isn’t space, but time. We know this now, so grin
And bear the snowfall. It always takes much longer than you think.
But it will come. Resistance is assured, and always more than required.
To see, and to welcome, to haul up the next link.
When that will arrive which has been so long desired.
Alan Riach is the Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University, Convener of the Saltire Society and past-President of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2006-10. Born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1957, he is the author of several books on the poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid and also writes extensively on poetry, arts and culture in contemporary Scotland. His fifth book of poems is Homecoming (Luath Press,2009). Formerly Associate Professor at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, he has been working in Scotland since 2001.