Friday’s Commute

The passing glare of headlights

Is interrupted, through the side

Window flames lick the horizon

Like dragon’s breath has set alight

That perfect point where land meets sky

And it is beauty, breath-taking,

Enough to make you want to stop

And pay attention. A new day is dawning.

You should celebrate, do something

Significant, mark the moment,

But you have work to go to, so you drive

On, reluctant, take one last glance

In the rear-view mirror as the sky

Explodes in crimson colour, hues

Which seem to scream murder

As you round another corner

And flee the scene.

~The H Word~

Christmas Eve

This night, I lay worry down,
slip out of stress, let it pool
behind. The hush of sleep
from little ones, gentle breaths,
pillowed heads dream of magic,
spells weave weblike until spun
hope, silk-thin, compels belief
from all of us.

~The H Word~

Fear Not My Darling

We wait together, you and I

as night falls, light dies, extinguished

day’s death never grieves us

illuminated in moon’s torchlight

we navigate night’s crippling darkness

find shelter in its blank canvas

and feast on fear, you and I

swallow bitter disappointment until

satisfied enough to try again.

~The H Word~

Slipping Through the Cracks

How much more can we possibly take?
Before this life we have built will come
tumbling down. Our homes made with love,
gentle hands, how can they withstand
all that’s expected of us? Our collective
stress evident on every street, in the faces
of strangers and those that we love. The
crumbling has already begun. Dust clouds
around our feet as we trudge through the rubble
of collapsing society. Trying to pretend everything
is okay. When nothing is okay or ever will be again
any time soon, or so it feels. Yet, we hope.
For hope is all we have, that kindness and
compassion will win through in the end.
I hope for you now. For me, for all of us
existing day by day, week by week, wondering
How much worse can things possibly get?
Knowing only too well what the answer could be
and gripped by fear of what comes next.

~The H Word~

Attention!

The gatekeepers are working overtime,
again. They’ve polished their swords
with blood, sweat and tears collected
from those they deem less than themselves.
They’ve upgraded the locks, see how
they capture the light. Let them stand
for attention, guard all they can.
No-one wants to gain entry
to a poisoned domain.

~The H Word~

Where You’ll Find Me

Used to being on the outside
looking in   observing all who
seem to fit with no difficulty
how I wish it were me   just
once   to feel like I belonged
not bystander or onlooker or
never truly part of it   maybe
my time will come or maybe
it won’t   so for now you will
find me on the edge   waiting
patiently for a sign it is okay
to come inside and join you.  

~The H Word~

When it nears the end of the day… (with audio)

curtains shiver   blinds applaud
breeze pirouettes inside the house
cooling sun begins their descent
likes to drag it out this time of year

I think they’d stay all night if they could
I think we’d let them if they would

although moon would take offence
waiting all day to make an appearance
and oh! how we welcome them
the minute sun dips below the horizon

we worship their pale companion
it’s a wonder sun comes back at all

how the poets bleed for the muse
in the sky    even the stars are struck
with envy   let sun take their time
let them linger a moment longer

for soon all will turn to the moon
as they have all the pulling power.

~The H Word~

Tomorrow is always another day (with audio)

Each morning arrives like clockwork
lightened with love the sky opens up
offers new hope like candy   take a handful
stuff pockets with endless possibility
it’s no-one’s fault we tend to waste it
fail to embrace its blankness   insist
on carrying forward yesterday’s garbage
such a waste of a new beginning
maybe tomorrow will be different
maybe tomorrow we’ll take that sweet
potential and decorate our day with fresh
perspective   hope that others do the same
welcome this gift we are given each morning
regardless of whether or not we feel
we deserve it.

~The H Word~

‘Speaking of Scotland’ by Maurice Lindsay

Well, the end is near, and so I’ll share my final poems… not quite the end, and definitely not the final poems as I said in my last post, poetry is FOREVER! But it is the end of National Poetry Month so let’s go out in style.

The first poem I’m sharing is Speaking of Scotland by Maurice Lindsay. It’s a belter, as we Scots like to say, and the final stanza makes my Scots blood pump and my wee Scottish heart sing! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Speaking of Scotland

What do you mean when you speak of Scotland?
The grey defeats that are dead and gone
behind the legends each generation
savours afresh, yet can’t live on?

Lowland farms with their broad acres
peopling crops? The colder earth
of the North East? Or Highland mountains
shouldering up their rocky dearth?

Inheritance of guilt that our country
has never stood where we feel she should?
A nagging threat of unfinished struggle
somehow forever lost in the blood?

Scotland’s a sense of change, an endless
becoming for which there was never a kind
of wholeness or ultimate category.
Scotland’s an attitude of mind.


References

Jarvie, G. (ed) (2017) ‘Speaking of Scotland’ by Maurice Lindsay from 100 Favourite Scottish Poems To Read Out Loud. Edinburgh: Luath Press Limited

‘Between Mountain and Sea’ by Norman MacCaig

I’ve been a few days longer away from posting than I had planned (assessments have me a little ragged) and I can’t believe we’re almost at the end of April already! But it’s not like poetry is going anywhere, it doesn’t disappear in a wisp of smoke when April turns to May so there’s no need to be sad that National Poetry Month is coming to an end.

Instead we can be thankful that poetry is eternal. As long as hearts flutter with love or break with its ending, as long as humans search for words to find solace or meaning, poetry will be there.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my favourite poems and poets with you all and will keep doing so even after April says its farewell and May sashays in. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them.

Today I’m sharing a poem by the late Norman MacCaig who I’m sure most of you will know, but for those who don’t here is a short extract from the Poetry Foundation website:

“MacCaig was a Scottish poet from Edinburgh, with a deep love for Assynt in the Scottish Highlands. Though he spent much of his life and career in Edinburgh, MacCaig’s mother’s Highland ancestry was an important part of his identity, and he spent his summers in Assynt, Scotland, in the northwest Highlands. MacCaig’s poetry bears the influence of his dual upbringing: though he wrote only in English—something of an anomaly for a Scottish poet of his generation—his poetry frequently drew on the Highland landscape and Gaelic culture which he loved” (Poetry Foundation n.d.).

You can read more about Norman MacCaig by clicking here which will take you to the Poetry Foundation website.

The poem I am sharing is one of my favourites and its from the collection Between Mountain and Sea: Poems from Assynt which was published by Polygon in 2018, however the poem itself was written in December 1984. I hope you enjoy reading it.


‘Between Mountain and Sea’

Honey and salt – land smell and sea smell,
as in the long ago, as in forever.

The days pick me up and carry me off,
half-child, half-prisoner,

on their journey that I’ll share
for a while.

They wound and they bless me
with strange gifts:

the salt of absence,
the honey of memory.


References:

MacCaig, N. (2018) Between Mountain and Sea: Poems from Assynt (Edited by Roderick Watson). Edinburgh: Polygon, 157

Poetry Foundation (n.d.) Norman MacCaig 1910-1996 [online]. Available from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/norman-maccaig [27 April 2022]

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