2013 Greeting

A statue to the poet and ornithologist Alexander Wilson stands in the grounds of Paisley Abbey, and a memorial sits on the banks of the River Cart at the Hammills waterfall. It is inscribed “Remember Alexander Wilson 1766-1813. Here was his boyhood playground.”


In his boyhood playground by the Cart
A quill and plover in his hands
The Abbey bells ring in his ears
As Alexander Wilson stands
And contemplates a life enriched
By Auld Nature’s splendid wonder
His muse, the Hammills’ gentle falls
To Niagara’s roaring thunder

He spurned the shuttle for the pen
To peddle rhymes to our nation
But fate took him across the Pond
And he found his true vocation
In backwoods and the wilderness
Using ink and oil to speak
His words and drawings in vivid form
Brought life to wing and beak

Back home, his subjects Watty and Meg
Soak up the joys of nature
Under the gaze of another scribe
Who loved every living creature
And as they stray their gladsome way
And meander arm in arm
Our Rabbie ponders beside his plough
On the Fountain Gardens’ charm

No water flows through its rusted pipes
And its heron and walrus go thirsty
But soon its font is to overflow
And hydrate nature’s beauty
Both Burns and Wilson will delight
When life springs through its features
And the Hammills, Cart and fountain
Help quench all Paisley’s creatures

This Burns night, if we sit quiet
We will hear the waters slide
Past Seedhill and the Watermill
Tae swell the mighty Clyde
In this year of Natural Scotland
Let’s embrace the sounds and sights
Of Mother Nature’s ebb and flow
Through those who treasure her delights

Bob Carruth 2013

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