Church of Scotland
Willie told great stories… one of his great attractions… this was one…
Doctrinally he set aside the kirk.
He distrusted the body of Christ.
Despite the blue-paneled doors
in the square with the fountain and cherubs.
Where was the salvation?
Scottish soldiers kept the peace in Northern Ireland,
the Middle East. Anyone could have been bomb-
carrier. The evil done in the name of religion.
In the boys brigade he was asked to spit out
the marbles. Say what you mean, boy.
He was assigned the reediest instrument,
trained for cannon fodder, ridicule.
He had no idea what the word even meant.
He'd only hoped to avoid the hour and a half
of worship, play soccer. Agnostic seemed to him
a good-enough theology.
He was ordered to stand at attention
in the parade yard with the mud, ruts, his blue breath
while the others filed past full of benediction.
He dreamed of corner kicks, trapping, begging
his mother for passage to Australia. This service
a disservice, scarcely instructive, how to spit-
shine, make a bed of four corners. He'd made his bed.
Perhaps he'd overreacted with the volunteering.
He did get out, but agnosticism could not save him
from the draft.