The Almond Tree
Author(s): Maureen Sangster
Copyright holder(s): Maureen Sangster
wi the burnin bricht mou o the sun, Grandad.
A wee mannie mair suited tae
bidin unner a stane bit here thrivin
a Livingstone in Africa!
"Liars who say there canna be
a Scottish branch o the almond tree."
An His thunderin words proved richt.
His fingers, lang as the Nile,
coaxin first the riggin o the plant
an then its sails an then hoistin me up:
"You quine, bein a maiden,
breathe het summers on it
an find the weak crack,
the wee tinkle o growth
as the sheath aroon the unseen fruit
is peeled awa by the almond
Inside, in a bed got up for the deid
wi the curtains shut an the only din
the clatter o distant tea cups, Grandad.
Only his heid stickin oot o the fite sheet
like a fibrous fattened tusk.
He wis up fur the kissin noo, an she,
Granny, who'd hardly said ane word
tae the mannie aa the time he lived
bent ower him, an pit her ugsome mou
up agin his. He'd tellt me some tales
ootby - o snakes, buggers o craiturs,
gripy an greedy wha had swallowed
ae moose fur breakfast an anither fur dinner
an then gaed slippity baPPITY
ower the flechy sands. Fat targets aa o them.
But if carressed, aye that wis the word he eesed,
fan injured - oot wid pop
the twa swallowed prey, nae a morsel taen
oot frae flesh or bane!
I wis feart then tae look at
the wye Granny wis feedin on Grandad's lips.
Made me think o a wee wriggling moosie
in by her mou or his
bit naethin came o that except
a muckle big funeral wi a lot o sponges
an a lot o tears,
Granny saying she widna manage wioot him.
Gweed God, she spent a her time wioot him
shut awa in the derk front room.
He'd only penetrated that shrine fan deid.
Inby, there wis a wee table
wi a green velvet skin
an ower it her ebony elephants trauchled
wi their freen, a plastic goose wi a nodding heid,
a bit like Grandad wis wi Granny
an a wee yealla cat -
didna seem tae belong tae the ithers:
seemed tae rin alane, unner a fierce gormless moon.
I thocht she'd gang back tae this:
Clutter o ornaments; curtains drawn;
fatality in the atmosphere bit
she wis oot in that greenhoose
the morn aifter the funeral
an there wis something green aboot her:
As Mum said
That coat, flapping, lang an keich coloured
shud hae been at last year's kirk jumble.
Bit she wis cryin as she touched
the lang leaves o the almond tree.
Ower late I thocht
her love a dry husk bereaved
an lacking Grandad's hands
bit it wis like the almond
her hert wrenching love that hid matured
an come oot
o the concealing skin o years.
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Cite this Document
The Almond Tree. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=610.
"The Almond Tree." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 23 February 2024. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=610.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "The Almond Tree," accessed 23 February 2024, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=610.
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