Old Stile: Kissing Gate

WP_20150709_15_28_21_Pro Solvitur ambulando – it is solved by walking around, the man said. And so I walked out to Inch Abbey with nothing much on my mind to solve  – just ambling – when my eye was caught by this old stile. The gate was wide open and no sign of any kind of livestock for keeping in and no need for it anymore. But there it was set in stone, with the obliigatory bit of in-your-face vegetation hanging around to add the  element of natural world to the scene.


I love turnstiles and kissing gates – the old-fashioned kind – not the sort that won’t let your suitcase through or make you panic about where you put your ticket.

And though my research into the correct naming of things tells me that the turn, in fact,  refers to a mechanism that isn’t in this example, I had always thought it referred to the turnaround of climbing the stile in one direction and  coming back down the other side in another.

I suppose I know, for myself, what it is about walking and writing – the flow rather than sationary, the rhythm, the change of scene, the going out and coming back.  But, for me, there is a romance about the turnstiles I meet on my way – the way they make you stop, they narrow, make you aware of the wider context of  where you are and who else has access and exit, take you out of your way, turn your around when it would be quicker to continue on straight, show you the same view but slightly elevated and return you – almost – to where you started  from except you are now inside or outside of this somewhere boundary. A kiss as I pass through from the muse.


Turnstile at Inch Abbey


The full gate is wide open,

recently cleaned and painted

– an ornament – no lifestock

to keep in or out.


In the end

it’s the bright green leaves

of a low hanging sycamore

that makes the picture.


Looking through its filter

to the first stone step

of the kissing gate knowing

there is no need to take it.