Background Paper 3 (Proposed Housing Developments, Dykebar)
By Morag Smith
An indicative masterplan has been prepared
for this teenage Devil’s Playground
where gargoyles smile from burrs on trees
and lockdown lovers kiss in the patients’ garden,
slow-grown, gone in a blink
Garlic. Daisy. Hawksbeard. Bluebell.
Owners confirm the overgrown buildings
are surplus to current operational needs
Life overwinters in rubble,
dead wood is never dead, shelter
found in the hollows of a snag
Earwig. Weevil. Stonefly. Spider.
Perforated steel sheets the eyes
of B-listed ghosts, all blind
to milky sweep of winter sun while moss
coats the trunks of their sentinels
Possible adverse impacts have been examined
Oak. Rowan. Chestnut. Elder.
From the hill you can see layers
of coppice sway in South-Westerlies
lustrous sheets of rain drifting east
One day, not a blade of grass left
from Hazelwood to Councillor’s Wynde
River. Bog. Meadow. Woodland.
These lungs can’t breathe without marshy paths
leading nowhere, nests of brambles that root,
hatch, flower in spring and pipe their warnings
To ease removal from the Green Belt
further detail may be required
Chiffchaff. Dunnock. Song Thrush. Starling.
Morag Smith’s poem – Background Paper 3 (Proposed Housing Developments, Dykebar) – is based on proposed housing development plans on green spaces. Her poem won the Paisley Book Festival 2021 Janet Coats Memorial Prize in the over 18 category.