An iconography of rollers left in fields

image credit: cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Rose and
Trev Clough - geograph.org.uk/p/5159038
Rosemary got invited NessFest, a book festival in Inverness.  Good grief, that's a lot of railway...

And when you're stuck for hours in a train, even in such exquisite company, you start to notice recurring themes outside the windows.

There's a lot of abandoned agricultural machinery lying in fields here and there across the country, and what is that, if not a metaphor for life?  Or even a whole scheme of related metaphors...

An iconography of rollers abandoned in fields

Garden rollers in agricultural settings

Observe the small child whose duffle coat
wanders in the cathedral,
runs a bit, shouts at echoes,
peers at the stained glass window light
spilled on the floor. See how he sits down now
and falls asleep.

As if only just left

Dust sheets, ladder, brushes, cloths...
Where is that old screwdriver? Here. I'll lever
at the paint tin lid. Again, a little further round--
Oh damn! I need a stirring stick...
I'll be right back.

Some rust

Surface discolouration is a given:
we all show signs of wear. "Patina"
to put spin on it, or "you look shit!"
--when your bestie doesn't want to say it nice
as you stand beneath a poster
bigger than your house
filled with a newer model: preternaturally perfect,
sublimely open smile.

Wood rotting, metal intact

The softer parts break down, at first,
while harder parts prevail: the blistered finger,
the hangdog nail, but sooner or later
the long-term maintenance creeps up
that ligament in your left shoulder,
the tibia chipped inside one shin...
The wear and tear of years
accumulates: more a sadness
than a fear: no longer walking all the way,
the stairs a bigger thing; until one day
upon some ordinary bus,
a young lady offers you her seat.

Scattered iron fragments on the ground

To all things an end: only archaeologists believe
they can retrieve a past and piece
it back together. You, meanwhile, one recollection at a time,
take the finest brush to days
in infant school: the graze upon your knee
the way that one girl ran away
however carefully you offered her the mud.
Did anything happen in the years after that?
It isn't easy to be sure.

In the ditch

We all have low points
entropy will see to that.
The same sky is still above you...
the mud's quite soft:
why not lay back?

In the middle of the field

Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW!
No, of course I don't have anything useful,
or even actionable to relate. But I'm so great...
See, I even have the expensive shoes.
Just keep looking at me!!

In the middle of the field with an unmown area around it

Am I that man? Am I the one that people drive
their metaphorical tractors right round? Am I
the guy? Is everybody quietly told:
not to mention the steam railways, or question
me listening to that single 80s band
for seven hours a day;
he's a friendly enough man...
it's just his little ways,
work around him

With a small tree growing through

Life is as we know it, not
as we plan it: an adaptation situation.
We wouldn't plan a largish silver birch
inserted just where it hurts
but since that's where we find ourselves,
we make the best
of never moving again: a great view to the West
every evening's sunset;
the birds that roost at twilight,
in autumn eating the birch seed
that hasn't run off through the wind.

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