Thank you to Allan Dodds who wrote:
"When I was an undergraduate in the late-1960s
I worked during the summer months as a labourer at the waterworks in Liberton.
The water supply travelled thirty-five miles underground from Talla
Here is a shot of me (left), together
with another uni student (I can't recall his name) posing in front
of one of the Greek 'Temples' which housed the machinery at
Liberton Filtration Works."
"These works were designed and built in Victorian
times and were beautifully landscaped with acres of grassy banks surrounding the
filtration ponds. The banks and gravel paths required constant maintenance, and
my job was to cut the grass on the steeply sloping banks with an Allen scythe,
and to hoe and weed several paths, hundreds of yards
long, by hand as weed killers were not permitted for
'Willie the Scythe'
assist me in this Sisyphean task was 'Willie the Scythe',
a retired man of about seventy-five years of age who came out of his retirement
each summer to do casual work.
Willie may have possessed no teeth but he could
scythe for Scotland! He literally shaved the grass and his skill was remarkable
and his rhythm impeccable. I was so impressed watching this man at work that I
even wrote a poem about him:
Scythe me a swathe by the sickle moon
And bend a blade's ear to the fallen field
(The harvest, golden, sighs by the midnight mauve).
For fear the dandelion lie
Meter me minutes.
Should crescent cleave a moment from the void
Make waxing wane, my mild mentor.
Juvenile as the poem now reads, I must have been
impressed by this man."
Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire,
England: November 28, 2011