Winter Twilight in West Lothian

03-05 Hutchison
Isobel Wylie Hutchison
Scots
1889 – 1982

The sun’s going down behind the great shale-heap
Over against the village; shadows creep
Shifting from door to door, and all the bings
Of Broxburn stand like tombs of Theban kings
Black on the crimson, crowned by fierce blue stars.

From the fields mist is rising. Motor cars
Pass swiftly through the film of gathering grey,
Their drivers peering apprehensively
For furtive waggons, dazzled by the bits
Of sunset that still float above the pits
And fall into the puddles on the road.

Beyond the hedge the ploughman has bestrode
His horse, or seated edgewise lumbering rides
With feet that flap against the steaming sides
Of his tired beast, homeward beneath the moon,
Now and then whistling snatches of a tune
The harness echoes with its tinkling brass.

From time to time belated miners pass
With uncouth, blackened faces, taciturn;
Behind the bings the fires of sunset burn
To ashes very slowly. In the north
The Bear prowls softly up above the Forth
In a dark gulf the wind has sucked again
Out of the clouds. To-morrow we’ll have rain.

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