On raising a stone
at Leslie Cemetery on 20th April, 2011, to David Mitchell, locomotive engine driver
of the train involved in the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster, Sunday, 28th December, 1879.
A TRAIN DRIVER AND A POET
There but a cricket ballís throw from my home
were graves overgrown with grass and unstoned :
a husband and wife and three of their young,
forsaken by a Railway, a driver disowned.
In sleepless nights I tossed and turned,
as a hundred times more that Bridge gave way,
and Mitchellís engine pitched and plunged
into metal, steam, stormed water and spray.
But now an unsung figure has place
in Scottish lore and his own hometown.
A stone is raised, fine flowers are laid,
a piper plays, and memory goes on.
Be the job complete, no pride be felt,
let the Tay be calm, let the family be one.
And let pity be reserved for the misguided souls
for whom history is nothing but theirs to spurn.
In the shadow of the Lomonds Iím stood upright
by a stone to folk I never knew. But itís brill
that the fireside tale my mother told
returned with a mandate so fine to fulfil !
By Ian Nimmo White First published in The Courier, 30th