Friday, August 20, 2010


Stone Girl

Last night the stone girl smiled at me.
She has changed since coming here,
for the better. There were stone girls to spare
once, but the few left are in garden centres
with wishing wells and fishing gnomes,
their dreams gone to ponds and pebble dash.
The rain will course from their tunics,
their faces smudge with sausage smoke.
She was on a sculpted lawn in Nunholm,
demure with her water jugs. We took
her home to stand in wild vine and lemon balm.
She took root in the bedlam.
Now ankle deep in tansy
she sloshes back from the sanctuary
with wine, her bared breast no decoration
but a carefree accident, or come-on.
Xiape, the stone girl seems to say, be
yourself like me, be free.

Edwin Morgan

Sad news about Edwin Morgan, though of the dead poets this year his place in poetry is deservedly the most acknowledged and secure, and 90's not a bad age to go, is it? I liked the fact that while he was an obviously intellectual figure he didn't attempt to bamboozle or patronise his reader, one of the reasons he was so well loved by so many.


And if anyone should tell our adventures,
remember that the universe has spaces
as well as forms- abysses, deserts, niches,
distances without even time as pedlar
to bring you, if you waited, explanations.
No, we have seen what we have seen, but often
there is a blank you must not fill with monsters.
It is all for what is to come after.
It is for the duguth of firm intent, the voyage
he and she and they must take, and you quiet
but trembling in your chair, rising, following
the light you catch, swinging but never vanishing,
into great deeps, our helmet lamps, beckoning.

Edwin Morgan

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The End of (Holi) Days

Oh well the sun is creeping over the hills and time is remorselessly marching towards that point when I pretend it's not the end of the holidays at all and launch myself on a desperate breenge to the magnetic north.

As a restless needle held by the constant north we
always have in mind.
JF Hendry

Some readings coming up, at the Wigtown Book Festival, the Conference of Librarians in Glasgow, the Saltire Society's commemorations of Willie Neill, the Scottish Potery Library in October, St Mungo's Mirrorball in November, then Stanza in March. Perhaps more important than all these is, however, the launching of Thomas Tosh's literary salon on Tuesday September 7th. Thomas Tosh is a place of exquisite refinement in Thornhill and anyone in the remote vicinity should abandon all plans to do anything else and turn on that evening to hear the award winning poet Vivien Jones, the exquisite Romford wordsmith and pamphleteer JoAnne MacKay and myself. It will be an evening that will live in memory and legend.

Poems written? Two. One about text messaging and one about the magical land between the Nith and the Scaur.

Nith Stone

Leave the world between bridges: the narrow one
across the Nith with its sentry box and the old
crossing at Scaur squatting on its Roman haunch.
There’s a shaded cup of fields between the bridges,
moss and trees darkened on every side by hills.
The royal holm is here where Bruce camped on his way
to heaven via Whithorn, and Penpont, still scratched
on maps after seven hundred years. Penpont,
an island, and The Nith Stone, totem of this pagan space.
Rain has swept the dogma from its sides
and smooth as a grape it stares from a bright clasp
of weeds, sizing up visitors and their burdens,
daring them to stay for a night here
in the blaze between the bridges,
below our thin, bright slice of moon.

Friday, August 06, 2010

a girl
whose hair is yellower than
torchlight should wear no
headdress but fresh flowers