A C Aitken the poet
Aitken wrote poetry throughout his life. The first which we give was written when he was in his early 30s:-
by A C Aitken 1927
The winds in the hedges moan,
The road lies deep in pools of rain,
The dripping mists close in again
As I walk the roads alone.
As I walk with down-bent head
I watch the road change ceaselessly,
Of many another reminding me
I have trodden, and yet may tread.
For now under white-hot skies
It is burning sand in the tropic noon,
Where mirrored in the false lagoon
An eastern city lies.
Through poplared Picardy,
One of the destined marching host,
I see by my comrade's side a ghost,
But his eyes are not on me.
And now for many a mile
Deep in the mazy forest gloom
I tread the blood-red rata bloom
In lonely Stewart Lsle.
Ever the road beneath
Changes: now night begins to fall,
And I see the last long road of all,
The road to dusty death.
The second poem by Aitken which we give concerns Jason in the ship the Argo, who went to fetch the Golden Fleece. The Symplegades are the Cyanean rocks, two cliffs that moved on their bases and crushed anything which tried to pass between them:-
CANOPUS IN ARGO
by A C Aitken
The sky is a sea tonight; the moon's white prow
Plunges amid the cloudy waves and shakes
A silver spray afar: now clear she breaks
From close pursuing surge, draws free, and now
Sails into white translucencies where, deep
Beyond all sounding, fish ethereal sleep:
Now threads a mottled archipelago
Of wandering isles that merge and melt and flow.
Late in the silent dark, from sleepless bed
I watch, and am aware of inward seas
Now halcyon calm, that once were overspread
With fire and tempest: there in tranquil ease
White Argo glides, safe to have fled
Whirlpool and reef, and the Symplegades.
The third of the poems by Aitken which we give has special meaning for those living in St Andrews. The Ladebraes is a walk which follows a lade (a Scots word for a mill stream) which today is in a pipe beneath the path:-
by A C Aitken St Andrews, 1955
Across the air
Floats the blue butterfly
As if a cranesbill flower
Had taken wings:
Three meadow-brooms entwine
Their flight, the willow
And the questing willow-warbler
Sway together: mimulus is here
And meadowsweet, and ragged robin,
Kestrel hovering above;
And time is told
But by the shimmer of the unquiet leaves
And by my sense that once,
In aeons past I saw the scene
Not solitary, under other skies
And by another sea.
Last Updated March 2006