Setting Sail

Gather the children

Pack their togs and toys

Collect the silver, the precious things

That will whisper of home from far away

In a strange and distant land.

Bid farewell to hearth and home

That saw your wedding night,

Days and days of labour,

Nights of weary rest,

The births and deaths and nursing babes.

Embrace one last time

Those who stay behind.

This house, these walls

Will be known from hence in memory alone.

Walk the cobbles of the High Street

Tip a final nod to the farrier,

Doff a cap to the baker.

Give a whistle to the collies

That scamper at your heels.

Wander down the close

And up the wynd

Past brae and burn

To harbour and the strand.

Boats strain at their moorings

And wind sings through their rigging.

Harken to the gulls and cormorants

That cry their brave defiance

To the sea you dare to cross.

Gaze across the firth

Once more

And then no more.

Hoist the bag, lift the case.

Don a brave braw face to board the coach

That carries you to Greenock’s port.

Then one last gaze

Across the generations

Fathers and sons,

Mother’s and daughters

That brought you here.

Then set sail.

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