A Breeze of Good Fortune
By Brian Whittingham
At Canal Street’s Railway Path,
the church’s wrought-iron gates
are padlocked with decay
as if the church itself is a prop for a spooky film.
We stumble over dry twigs and crunch leaves,
squelching mud underfoot,
the thorny undergrowth reaching for our ankles
as we wind our way past dead headstones
consumed by moss.
Through this neglect,
out of reach and out of touch
for none but the intrepid to find;
are the remains of Robert Tannahill.
His sentinels are a smattering of Yews, Trees of death,
that folk-lore believed
sucked nourishment from the corpses.
Perhaps, with this weaver of life,
they sucked out his tunes and poems
then regurgitated them into the air
to drift far and wide over the years
wherever the breeze of good fortune
had a mind to travel
to touch the hearts and souls and ears
of any far flung Paisley Buddies
pining for home.
(Because Robert Tannahill’s death was a suicide, he was initially buried in an unmarked grave, then latterly a monument was erected over his remains, that now lie in Castlehead Church’s cemetry in Canal Street, Paisley.)