‘So often returning to the same place.’
Merchants` House motto
It called to me before I went there
across the bridge of sighs:
green avenues of mausoleums,
huge genius loci of merchant patriarchs
towering over obelisks and plinths,
guardians of locked vaults,
faces grey and sombre.
Nothing escapes the rain in the city of the dead.
It pours its fierce torrential acid force
on statues with eyes empty in prayer
gazing forever heavenward.
Makes them raw. Crafts them so white it hurts.
Grants them tears and new stigmata.
An angel holds an oak leaf like a butterfly.
Orange sycamore birds catch in the wind and fall.
How do they feel, how do they see
when their eyes are pupil-less?
Are they blind or do they see as I see
a crack of light in the magma-like clouds,
my lord of the dead approaching on a lime-white horse
where time bends an army of tombstones
into eternity? Do their hearts beat
with mourning and elation?
Do they remember the steady hand
of devotion that carved their limbs,
immortalised them here as I stare statue-like
from amongst merchants, artists, poets,
gathered on green roads,
in sepulchral houses,
ask the rider on the pale horse
“why am I so often returning to the same place?”
*Glasgow Necropolis was the last place I visited during my time in Glasgow.