Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Sad news that Gavin Wallace, head of the Literature Section of the Old Scottish Arts Council has died at the ludicrously young age of 53. My dealings with him were only professional really, but I knew him to be a lover of poetry and a real support to those who struggle to write it. My last sight of him was in a bar in St Andrews where he told me, with a great grin on his face, that I'd been given a bursary for 8 grand, but I wasn't to tell anyone about it yet- he'd just seen me and couldn't resist giving me the good news. Good on ye, Gavin, ye'll be really missed.

Shug B and I read at Broughton House in Kirkcudbright last week, home of EA Hornel and many of his paintings.First time I'd been there. A suffocation of Hornels. Bit creepy.

Hornel’s Little Girls

On every panelled wall
they crouch or dance,
Hornel’s little girls.
In arab dress or kimono,
in cloud or deep blossom,
their hair jet, their cheeks gloss,
their smiles frozen.
How many mothers
took them home,
scolded away their tears?
What an honour to be there
in the big house
paint piled on their faces
like ice.