The background to this poem is that after the steel works closed, the area dropped into a recession both economic and social . It seemed to me that the older generation did not feel a lot of hope at that time. As the years passed the town became an unemployment blackspot with very limited views of itself. On top of this, there were sectarian feelings and hysteria passing through generations of some families about religion. At its peak, I felt that members of my own family were killing each other by shunning and silence.
I wrote this poem to honour those people whose lives were utterly destroyed by these limited opinions.
If all who claimed to love someone
Came under one oak tree
The town would surely empty up
Walking towards the spree
Perhaps the public park’s too small
To hold nine thousand folk
Maybe the Golf course or at Place
There lies that sacred oak
Or in a field at Baillieston
With branches stretching high
Would crowds of folk bustle around
Show love with tearful eyes?
If Love brought down from empty shelves
Like books or DVDs
Was brought to act in people’s lives
What feelings there would be
Main street perhaps with rose petals
Or colours from the blooms
People chatting at the cross
While bands played Tara Boom
If everyone said simply “thanks”
To neighbours, friends and foe
Or if per chance a pleasant smile
So Love may freely go
What if the morn brought questions like,
Who can I bless today?
How much a little town could change
And put her on her way.
Imagine Tesco selling love
What sadness that would be
For surely that would mean a death
to sacred old oak trees