The Thread

Don Paterson
Jamie made his landing in the world
so hard he ploughed straight back into the earth.
They caught him by the head of his one breath
and pulled him up.  They don’t know how it held.
And so today thank what higher will
brought us to here, to you and me and Russ,
the great twin-engined swaying wingspan of us 
roaring down the back of Kirrie Hill

and your two-year-old lungs somehow out-revving 
every engine in the universe.
All that trouble just to turn up the dead
was all I thought that long week.  Now the thread
is holding all of us: look at our tiny house, 
son, the white dot of your mother waving.

More by Don Paterson

Rain

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one big thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame, 
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play, 

I think to when we opened cold
on a starlit gutter, running gold
with the neon drugstore sign
and I'd read into its blazing line: 

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain's own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.