Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Here's the front and back cover of my new collection, just published by Indigo Dreams, and available on order. To quote the blurb: 

"With Scotland as a background, these poems celebrate diversity. Using both English and Scots, they embrace the ‘glamourie’ – enchantment – to be found in ordinary lives and in poetry. They end with wild bagpipe-led devilry, reminiscent of Robert Burns’s Tam o’Shanter, and an urgent plea for tolerance."

Here's a poem from the collection. Some of you will have seen the monument. 'Ordinary' people, doing their jobs.

On the Beef Tub Road

Crossing from Tweedsmuir to Moffat

the sun's slanting rays
light the first October snow
like wrinkles on the hill's face

or an orthography

of lost language, words of the scattered clans
who first wandered through these Lowland hills
and gave them names.

Today the wind is warm enough

to obliterate
what will be lost, written, lost again
when the real winter snow blankets it out

like a tribe submerged, 

falling like a wave against the shore
of centuries, then gone, asborbed 
among the later ones – my ancestors –

shepherds, drovers, labourers, miners, masons, 
honest folk and thieves: provincial Scots
going the rounds of market, pub and kirk,
people of little note.

Yet as the road winds higher
and nearer that calligraphy of snow
I see where the two Moffat coachmen,
James McGeorge and John Goodfellow,

six miles out from Moffat, with their coach

deep in a snowdrift, carried the mail
on their backs until they had to lie
under that white blanket on the hill.

Here's the Beeftub: brown fields below,

a misty sheet over Moffat town,
zig-zag strokes of a burn as sleet showers 
dissolve to rain.

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