Scotland

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Andrew McGeever
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Scotland

Postby Andrew McGeever » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:47 pm

One of my favourite "Scottish" poems: Alastair Reid's classic piece (from his collection, "Weathering" ) combines warm, uplifting lyricism with the chilling blast of fundamentalist Calvinism. Enjoy....and read it out loud!

Scotland

It was a day peculiar to this piece of the planet,
when larks rose on long thin strings of singing,
and the air shifted with the shimmer of actual angels.
Greenness entered the body. The grasses
shivered with presences, and sunlight
stayed like a halo on hair and heather and hills.
Walking into town, I saw, in a radiant raincoat,
the woman from the fish-shop."What a day it is!"
cried I, like a sunstruck madman.
And what did she have to say to say for it?
Her brow grew bleak, her ancestors raged in their graves
as she spoke with their ancient misery:
"We'll pay for it, we'll pay for it, we'll pay for it!"
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mat james
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Re: Scotland

Postby mat james » Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:40 pm

Andrew,
My mother and her mother and her mother were Scots by maternal lineage. (and the Scots are a maternal mob!)
'Her brow grew bleak, her ancestors raged in their graves
as she spoke with their ancient misery:'
My grandmother would always serve up half a meal at dinner time and all the boys/men would leave the table wondering why she was such a stingy, selfish old bitch.
My mother made a point of serving up meals to my dad that she knew he disliked.
"...she spoke with their ancient misery:"

Fortunately, my father's paternal line were Irish Catholics of a sort. They were happy loving and generous people.
and...'The grasses shivered with presences, and sunlight stayed like a halo on hair and heather and hills.' when around them.
Unfortunately they (my paternal grandparents) were both dead by the time I was 5 years old.
So the 'ancient misery' dominated for a long time.
A previously posted poem of mine, "On my unbroken little legs, part 2" (halfway down the page) was 'inspired' by those strange women. (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7463&st=0&sk=t&sd= ... l&start=90)

MatbbgJ
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Byron
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Re: Scotland

Postby Byron » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:10 pm

"like a sunstruck madman." is almost the choice of words that lc used to explain a piece of work from Hydra. A prize for the correct Title. 8)
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Byron
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Re: Scotland

Postby Byron » Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:40 pm

The prize has been won. Even as you read this, a pork joint is flying to Cate from Gorey, County Wexford. (Eire !! )
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
Andrew McGeever
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Re: Scotland

Postby Andrew McGeever » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:26 am

Mat, thanks for your reply: Scotland clearly struck familial chords!
Byron, what was the competition? How come Cate won a prize ?
And another thing: Scotland contains so much humour: it depends on how it's read..in public.

Andrew.
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Byron
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Re: Scotland

Postby Byron » Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:26 pm

Cate got the prize for recognising the similarity with leonard's quote about how he wrote his book Beautiful Losers.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
Cate
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Re: Scotland

Postby Cate » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:11 pm

I love the image of the woman in her radiant rain coat on this beautiful day.

Byran - thank you for the pork, I sent him to the kitchen to cook.
I don't mean to sound paranoid, but I think he's trying to poison us.
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Diane
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Re: Scotland

Postby Diane » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:01 am

That's a highly evocative poem, Andrew. What a brilliant description, "ancient misery"!

The mix of Scotland, misery and humour made me think of Ivor Cutler, and that piece I first heard on a TV prog Michael had me watch a year or so ago, when he died (Mr Cutler that is): Looking for Truth With a Pin. I couldn't find it at the time, but now Youtube does it again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay_0_nWu8rw

It took me a while to decipher "crumb tray". So that's what you call a dustpan in Bonnie Scotland. How quaint:-)
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damellon
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Re: Scotland

Postby damellon » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:15 am

Diane
A crumb-tray's not a dust-pan, hen!
It's a recycling tool, a wee tray for collecting food crumbs.
When yer finished yer dinner, brush the crumbs off yer table cloth into the crumb-tray...
they can be used to coat the kippers for yer next meal. :)
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

from Wild Geese
Mary Oliver
Red Poppy
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Re: Scotland

Postby Red Poppy » Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:04 pm

So THAT'S why the starter tasted .....odd.
But thanks for having me to dinner damellon. :mrgreen:
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Diane
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Re: Scotland

Postby Diane » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:30 pm

To borrow a phrase from Billy Connolly - those are the kitchen utensils of the farmyard! No wonder you moved to Ireland, where people are civilised.

Merry Christmas, lassie. Don't drink all me whiskey. XX.
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damellon
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Re: Scotland

Postby damellon » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:10 am

Crumbs, Red Poppy -
You may be confusing me with some other odd woman of your acquaintance.
I think I would remember if I had you, for dinner.
Were you the appetizer, entree or main course? :) .


Diane - You're not to take Billy Connolly's blethering seriously. In my part of the country we're fierce civilised. For all the hoi polloi, here's a picture of my crumb tray and brush. Image
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

from Wild Geese
Mary Oliver
Andrew McGeever
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Re: Scotland

Postby Andrew McGeever » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:46 pm

Good G*d!
Scotland has spawned an ethnic confluence of differences 8)

Andrew.

P.S. I met Billy Connolly in 1969, when he was with a band called "The Humblebums".

P.P.S. Scotland is one of those poems which, when I read it, makes me think ,"I wish to f**k I could have written that".
Andrew McGeever
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Re: Scotland

Postby Andrew McGeever » Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:20 pm

This post is to remind John and Margaret about one of many poems I would love to have written.
Which poem would you grasp first if they were all scattered ?
imaginary friend
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Re: Scotland

Postby imaginary friend » Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:13 pm

Which poem would you grasp first if they were all scattered ?
Food for thought – and a beautiful image, Andrew. I'd grab e e cummings Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town... or maybe Al Purdy's Say the Names or maybe Bob Marley's Redemption Song... or just spread my arms and whirl around in all those delicious floating words...

PS: I loved Reid's poem – thank you!

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