Friday, 26 February 2010

The Anvil

The Anvil

Rannoch Moor
Monday 15th December
8 O'clock

There's a wind coming across the Moor
would cut you in two
it's mixed wi' sleet
and is rattlin' off the side of the Trailer
like a snare drum
The Trailer is lifting
first one way and then the other
as though it's swaying in time to the beat
We have plenty water
but the gas has just run out
in sympathy with the coal
I do have some money
but it's the kind that jingles in your pocket
which is appropriate
as it's about ten days 'till Christmas
But I'm not useless altogether
I have a lorry loaded with scrap
but would it start - not for it's Grandfaither
I begin to size up the farm
about half a mile away across two fields
But this farmer
has been stoppin' an' barkin' at us to shift
for the past month
and on a morning like this
he'll be in front of his kitchen range
with his tractor parked up in the shed
I'm just about to step over the fence
when the Polis pull in
They tell me an anvil's gone missing
from outside a smiddy
and they want me to empty the lorry
to see if I took it
The problem is I do have an anvil
but I got it at a croft
about twenty miles up a back road
So they're goin' to have to take my word for it
or take me back to the croft
or take the anvil to the smiddy
to see if it's the one that went missing
Suddenly the young constable
punches me in the face
They like their Tinkers ignorant in Perthshire
grateful for any semblance
of unmerited civility
but I wasn't in a mood
to pander to the delusion

4 O'clock

The cell door slides open
and the Sergeant informs me
it's all been sorted out and I can go
congratulating himself
for letting me out before the village shop closes
I get some messages
and the shopkeeper gives me a lift back to the camp
By this time it's dark but the wind has calmed down
so I take the back cape off the lorry
break it up and make a fire
I don't know if it was the sight of the cape burning
or the sparks going in the frying pan
or someone saying -
'If you hadnae painted that cape
it would never have caught fire'
But all at once we started to laugh
and we couldn't stop
we laughed until our sides were sore
It turned milder that night there was a thaw
and in the morning the lorry started.

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