From The South Deeside Road
By Lachlan MacKinnon
The little green fishing-hut
where my grandmother used to sit
while her sister and father took fish after fish
is still there.
It is over seventy years,
somebody keeps it up. The same unchanging
endlessly changing water runs.
This poem comes from Lachlan Mackinnon's fascinating new book, The Jupiter Collisions. This poem is one that I expect to be able to recite aged 70. Timelessness and transcience are both evoked in a simple yet nostalgic tone. The idea of transcience is suggested by the lapse in time; quite clearly neither the grandmother, her sister or her father are still alive and so although it is shrouded in familial nostalgia, we are given a reminder of our own mortality - as well as that of the narrators (70 years have passed).
I think nostalgia is inherently timeless: a bittersweet yearning for something indistinct and distant from one's past. The repetitions of 'fish' and the 'still there' give us this sense of timelessness, and the fishing-imagery in particular gives us a sense of times continuam. The last stanza is something else. Brief, but loaded with force and poignancy. The cycle of life and death and life etc. is beautifully illustrated throughout and the last sense betrays the poets keen wisdom, as well as subtle way with words.
'The same unchanging endlessly changing water runs.'