Sunday, January 25, 2009

250th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Burns

Mary Campbell, better known as Highland Mary, was born on a farm just outside Dunoon, my bonnie hometown on the west coast of Scotland. A Bronze statue of Burns' Highland Mary dominates the skyline as she gazes forever southwards down the Clyde waiting for her love.

Song - Highland Mary

Ye banks, and braes, and streams around
The castle o’ Montgomery!
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie:
There Simmer first unfauld her robes,
And there the langest tarry;
For there I took the last Farewell
O’ my sweet Highland Mary.

How sweetly bloom’d the gay, green birk,
How rich the hawthorn’s blossom,
As underneath their fragrant shade,
I clasp’d her to my bosom!
The golden Hours on angel wings,
Flew o’er me and my Dearie;
For dear to me, as light and life,
Was my sweet Highland Mary.

Wi’ mony a vow, and lock’d embrace,
Our parting was fu’ tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder;
But oh! fell Death’s untimely frost,
That nipt my Flower sae early!
Now green’s the sod, and cauld’s the clay
That wraps my Highland Mary!

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
I aft hae kiss’d sae fondly!
And clos’d for aye, the sparkling glance
That dwalt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust,
That heart that lo’ed me dearly!
But still within my bosom’s core
Shall live my Highland Mary.

Robert Burns (1799)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

If this looks familiar it's beacause it's a reworking of a section from an previous draft poem.

She Moves Among Buttercup Fields

Buttercups stain the heels

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Monday, January 12, 2009

So Jen Hadfield wins the T.S. Eliot prize with her second collection Nigh-No-Place. Not bad for a Shetland-based, down-to-earth sounding poet whose previous jobs include working in a fish factory and being an occasional shop assistant!

I bought the collection just before Christmas and have only dipped in and out of it so I can't say much about it but what I can say is that what I've read so far is fresh, energetic and fun. I could imagine a lot of non-poetry-reading people as well as poetry-reading people enjoying it.

The sad news is that a Scottish poet short-listed for the T.S. Eliot prize, Mick Imlah, died today, aged 52. He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease just over a year ago.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's that time of the year again - the winner of the T.S. Eliot prize will be announced tomorrow. Thanks to stars sliding blog for this link where you can hear those on the short-list read some of their poems.

The only collection I've read is Jen Hadfield's Nigh-No-Place and I've only really dipped in and out of it, yet I have enjoyed what I've read. But listening to the poems at the link the only one that really strikes me is Glyn Maxwell's reading of his poems. In fact I like what he read so much that it's convinced me to add his book to my future purchase list.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

Okay, the latest versions, just for Hugh!

Town Song

Taxis haunt the highways,

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

A very rough draft of two poems written side-by-side.

New Year

Taxis haunt the highways,

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