Our Kate


Nearly three centuries of passing Scottish historical time,

Landmarks with secrets survive energetic sublime.

Not very far away from the distinctive village green,

Just passed and beyond the grey stoned church standing serene. 

Down the steep brae, towards the peaty flowing River Tay,

Walked a young lass of only fourteen yesterday.

In the direction of Stanley Mill, with rusting metal gate,

Amidst voices of people hidden was our Kate. 

Filled with awe lost her childhood vanished. Gone,

School days for her are over.  Kate’s education done.

Her destination known to go only to the Secret Room,

Before her, machinery clattering the noisy weaving loom. 

Our Kate was told ‘Work hard, do your best and show willing,

A pay packet in your hand filled with silvery shilling.’

‘One more thing important to remember, our Kate,

The bell will toll in the morning.  Do not tarry or be late.’

This is now your chosen place to work and trade, 

Only perfection a skill, on the tapes, no rough end frayed.

Linked arms with friends, laughter, voices, scurrying up the brae,

After the end of each working Stanley Mill day. 

To and fro from the distinguished Mill for forty-one years,

An ended era Stanley Mill was sadly to close,

Positively the last time I suppose.

Up the brae strolled our Kate with sullen falling tears.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Yvonne Fraser

  (thanks to Kate Gairns for this)