Category Archives: Adult Workshops

Bird Enthusiasts

‘Where are the birds taking me?’ was a writing workshop I ran recently for the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.

I read a couple of my bird poems, and then asked folk to use their powers of memory, observation and imagination to write something about their own experiences of birds.

These are some of the texts that came out of the session.



The Spirit of Birds

Sometimes I am the sandpiper
 Sea loving, shore wading
  Searching, darting
   Watching for intruders
  Moving quickly and never
 getting stuck in the soft sand
or washed away by waves or tide

Sometimes I am the mute swan
 Pond floating, reed resting
  Bobbing, sweeping
   Ignoring all intruders
  Stretching calmly and never
 worrying about being seen,
flying away whenever I like

Sometimes I am the raven
 Gate guarding, tree swaying
  Hunting, calling
   Laughing at intruders
  Circling from up high and never
 getting lost in the city
or caught picking pocket or bin

Sometimes I am the songbird
 Feather dusting, hedge rustling
  Whistling, warbling
   Warning of intruders
  Calling in my kinfolk and never
 missing the sunrise,
weaving arias into the night

Linda Haggerstone

I finally finished my poem after walking home from shopping and hearing a large number of smallish birds calling to each other from tree and rooftops. I could not see what they were, but I had to stop and listen. I knew then what was missing from my poem: the songbird.

I’ve since sent the poem out in a homemade card (with birds) to another randomly chosen participant in the #KindnessByPost activity (my second) from the Mental Health Collective. I love reading it aloud.

Skylarks Easter hymn the Bonaly track
piccolo the cleugh head
Curlew calls thin the Capelawside air
flute the thermals to the source of the Leith

Helen Boden


Birds near me

I can hear birdsong from outside, there is a tree in front of my window.
Saw a few birds at Strathclyde Park but it is full of people there.
The swans take over Hogganfield Park in Glasgow, they are everywhere!

*

A dove can fly high up in the sky
Look down to the city centre
See all the people rushing along from above
Must find a crumb to survive

Antje Bothin


Heron

Attuned to Spring
I spend time
eavesdropping
console myself with embroideries
of fanned plumage
balanced on cream silk
stitching the wind
under the wide wingbeat
of a rising heron
into each fibre

MT Taylor
Wings 

Three stories up wide white-winged gulls possess the space
outside my human sanctuary

Swinging/swooping circumscribed by flight
bodies swift as steel torpedoes
slicing/relentlessly through liquid light.

Wild as the wind they ride
the upward drafts/Glasgow’s capricious turbulence,
pausing fleetingly/suspended 
on the apex of a wilful thought 
then streaming down 
towards the grey-green waters of the Clyde 
smacking its surface as they gather pace
and hurtle skywards once again
into the spaciousness they occupy
outside my timid time and place.

Annie Webster

swallow
 
I am a long-haul traveller
I see the world
no need for passports or papers
as I zig and zag to and fro
places you will only ever know
from stamps or on the news
but I am drawn   magnetic/navigated
by warmth and food and love
and from above I watch the climate change
the glaciers’ melt
the river beds dry
fly with locusts set on destruction
witness pollution
the rising seas
decline in bees
the refugees
strange animals you’ll never see
the greens   the blues   the desert yellows
but now I’m coming home to roost
to meet my mate
to warn you to take care
before it’s far too late

Kay Ritchie

Window Watching Bird Enthusiast

When the first lockdown started last year and we were asked to stay at home, the hyperactive energy that usually permeated the air was settling into a gentle simmer.  The streets and sky were quiet and clear of that dirty, stuffy invisible fog that suffocated our observations of the smaller life that was growing and surviving all around us. In having to stay indoors and with outdoor access shrunk to 5 miles, my local area became my own wider world.  That 1 hour of outside time took me through lanes and streets I was too anxious to explore, fearfully expecting the Neighbourhood Watch  to misinterpret my slow aimless wandering and casual glances through curtainless windows as scouting for a potential breaking and entering instead of human curiosity and inspiration for my own home decor.  It took me to plants and trees and patches of woodlands I’d passed on the bus that I promised I’d visit at the weekend only to forget a few minutes later as the bus pulls into my stop and I start thinking about all the possible dangers that are lurking in the shadowy corners of the 5 minute speed-walk home.  The less people were around and the more common daytime wandering had become, the dangers that had previously presented themselves were not quite as loud.  I still had anxiety that would hold me hostage for days at a time which, in hindsight, I now recognise as hyper-vigilance and actively living through a pretty stressful few years of uncertainty. 

Still, even amongst all that anxiety and trauma, I had found respite in the lockdown.  I didn’t feel as guilty for staying indoors and would sit at my living room window hidden from street view by a young blackthorn tree and a flourishing fuchsia bush.  In this guilt-free bliss, I started to notice things I hadn’t seen before.  Bumblebees were frequent visitors to the little ballet-dancer flowers of the fuchsia; their little striped bodies disappearing into the pink and purple nectar source.  The more I looked, the more I would see.  The bush was a packed out lunchtime buffet for these hungry little pollinators.  I listened more carefully to the sounds gliding through my open window.  With the sound of cars and planes infrequent, the songs and calls of birds and squirrels were accepting their solo in the urban orchestra of sound.  I wanted to meet these birds that I would see only as a blur dive-bombing into the massive rhododendron that  was taking up half of my front garden.  I’d installed an app to identify the chirps and melodies of these avian mysteries and could now recognise robins, blue tits, starlings and blackbirds by sound, but now I needed the visual component to realise these birds.  I set up bird feeders outside all 3 windows of my ground-floor flat, fat balls in coconut shells hung from sturdy branches, their delicious innards enticing them as close to the window as possible.  The first diners came a few hours later – a robin with its stout red chest instantly recognisable, and a blue tit with its yellow neck surprised me how much smaller it was than the other feasting birds.  The sparrows with their shades of brown favoured the feeder at the living room window, while a family of blue tits favoured the secluded shade of the bedroom window, much to the delight of my cat who would fall asleep watching one peck upside-down through the gaps in the mesh of the plastic feeder while others hop from branch to branch, side-stepping closer and closer, awaiting their turn to fill their bellies. 

Becoming familiar and finding joy in these little creatures cemented my fondness and delight for birds and most definitely got me through the hardest moments during lockdown, so when scrolling through the SMHAF events, my heart fluttered when I saw the workshop ‘Where Are The Birds Taking Me?’  What better way to honour these magnificent creatures than to immortalize them through words.  We were first tasked with spending some time writing about places where we have seen birds and how they characterise those places.  Once I had gone through the usual suspects (seagulls, pigeons and crows), I was taken to a recent 2am wander where I had spotted a songthrush regaling stories of the local cityscape, singing songs of car alarms and owners calling for their dogs, filtering through the branches on the tree-lined walkway of the old Leith Railway line. 

We were then asked to write descriptions of comparisons of calls, plumage and flight.  David Attenborough’s narration of the Birds of Paradise in Papua New Guinea flashed into my mind.  Feathery works of art that have evolved elaborate and vibrant plumage make them the fashion icons of the jungle.  Our drab street pigeon has nothing on them.  I remember years ago being blown away by the Australian Lyrebird (again thanks to Sir Attenborough). It could mimic natural and artificial environmental sounds including chainsaws, the beeping of a reversing truck and camera shutters. I heard a blackbird mimic a seagull once.  If they are our equivalent of environmental indicators, there must be a healthy abundance of seagulls next to the Morrisons in Granton.

Our last quick bit of writing was to choose an area where the birds can access, but we cannot and tap into the bird’s eye view.  This activity was a little more challenging as my mind was filled with environments from the sky to the sea, under bridges to the space between mountain peaks.  I pictured a migratory bird sailing through the atmosphere, passing over landscapes uninhabitable and inaccessible to man.  With ease, they glide over changing seasons that we are only witness to on the ground.  How cold and beautiful it must be from up there.

The more we wrote and shared our experiences and observations of birds, the more I became aware of the diversity and expanse of the bird world.  I recently went on a small adventure not too far from home and spotted birds I hadn’t seen before.  I met 3 pheasants grazing on farmland and 2 male bullfinches just going about their business.  There are always new birds to identify and get to know locally and more widely.  Even the ones we already know have personalities and variations – one of the sparrows that visits my window feeder likes to dig for particular seeds and makes a mess on my windowsill.  It’s been more than a year since we first went in to lockdown and I am pleased that this is the hobby that has emerged from it. 

I leave with a short poem:

A mallard lazily breezes through reeds in the centre of a pond.
Hidden from view,
Like a predator in the savannah,
It sees you, but not you it.
Only the wiggle of the tips of the reeds give any indication of the life inside.
It navigates effortlessly through the jungle of stalks,
Unknown presences avoided silently.
How quiet and peaceful it must be,
To be invisible to the human eye.

Nic Saunders


With thanks to all those who took part, to Roisin Robertson at Renfrewshire Council for programming the event as part of the festival, and to all the birds who appeared to us on the day and subsequently.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Poems that count

Screenshot 2020-05-13 at 18.16.21

‘Poems that count’ is a short film I’ve made  for Luminate Scotland.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/415642145

I was supposed to be working on a Luminate project at the moment, going into care homes and sharing poems and writing activities with residents and staff. Sadly that’s become impossible, so Luminate have been uploading films with ideas for creative activities to their website.

There are quite a few now, and ‘Poems that count’, which I made last week, has just been added. In it I offer 5 ways to write a poem, using the numbers 1 to 5 to get started:

1   a word to start a mesostic
2   opposites – love and hate
3   first person, second person, third person
4   the points of the compass
5   fingers

It was an interesting exercise, working out to present an activity to a person or persons unknown, without the usual opportunity for dialogue or any of the other ways we communicate face-to-face.

If you try any of the exercises, let me know how you get on!

 

Haiku in Hamburg

I visited planten un blomen, Hamburg’s botanic gardens, in mid-September, and ran a haiku workshop in the Japanese garden, which has a teahouse beside a pond lined with maples, pines and bamboo.

I’d visited the garden before, in late spring, but it seemed to be more itself in autumn – leaves reddening, a few of which had dropped visible in the clear water; pine needles fallen onto rocks; a more muted light suggesting both distance and enclosure.

For the workshop I selected some lines from German versions of Japanese haiku, and we used these as starting points for our own work. Here are some the poems written on the day, with my English translations.

Teehaus_Gruppe

Bauschen die Wolken
lausche ich dem Herbstwind und
halte die Luft an.
[Christine]

Clouds pile up
I listen to the autumn wind and
hold my breath

*

Der Herbst beginnt schon
noch blühen die Sonnenblumen
welch ein schönes Gelb.
[Petra]

*

Autumn has begun
still the sunflowers bloom
a wonderful yellow

*

Plötzlich donnert es –
das Geräusch des Wassers bleibt
ununterbrochen
[KC]

Sudden thunder –
the sound of water continues
uninterrupted

*

Geräusch des Wassers
taube Ohren des Herbstes
nach dem Sonnenklang
[Simon]

The sound of water
autumn’s deaf ears
after sunchords

*

Zwei Ameisen sah’n
Altona Amerika
Erlangen Weisheit.
[Sidney]

Two ants saw
Altona America
Gained wisdom.

This is a playful take on an already playful poem, ‘Die Ameisen’ (’The Ants’) by Joachim Ringelnatz (1883-1934) known to anyone who lives in or grew up in Hamburg. I append a literal translation below. The district of Altona lies immediately west of central Hamburg.

In Hamburg lebten zwei Ameisen,
die wollten nach Australien reisen.
Bei Altona, auf der Chaussee,
da taten ihnen die Beine weh,
und da verzichteten sie weise
dann auf den letzten Teil der Reise.

In Hamburg there lived two ants,
who wanted to travel to Australia.
In Altona, on the street,
their legs started hurting,
so wisely they gave up
the last part of their journey.

JapaneseGarden13

 

 

On Raasay

11401101_920675431288859_1939139233689863194_n

I was on the Isle of Raasay in early June, for the launch of Patterns of Flora | Mapping Seven Raasay Habitats. ATLAS Arts, based on nearby Skye, had commissioned Edinburgh-based ceramicist, Frances Priest to develop a series of handmade, ceramic artworks for permanent installation in Raasay House.

The form and design of the artworks – vases, door knobs, door pushes and pieces for sills – are based on Raasay’s plant life, and in particular seven different habitats that host unique and varying plant species: Bog, Coast, Fresh Water, Limestone, Moor, Mountains and Woodland. Alongside these Frances designed a map, featuring the habitats with associated walks. She collaborated with Raasay-based botanist Stephen Bungard.

(I had worked with Frances several years ago, on Pandora’s Light Box at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, and it was good to catch up with her work in a very different setting.)

10676329_921396287883440_1629111481114513217_n

I was there to lead a ‘haiku walk’ on the Saturday afternoon, again working with Stephen. We went to the salt marsh at Oskaig, arriving at a particularly wind- and rain-swept moment, but the weather cleared and there was much to enjoy immediately around us, and looking across the sound to Skye and the Cuillins. I was struck by Stephen’s remark that the four aspen trees we saw were in fact all one, the trunks all sharing a single root.

Back at Raasay House all was notebooks and concentration.

On Sunday, once the morning rain had cleared, I managed a walk with Frances and others on the east coast from Fearns to Hallaig, below the cliffs and into the birchwood the burn runs through. In his poem ‘Hallaig’ Sorley Maclean repeoples the now empty places:

na h-igheanan ’nan coille bheithe, / dìreach an druim, crom an ceann.

the girls a wood of birches, / straight their backs, bent their heads.

Gavin Douglas in London

“And, seand Virgill on ane lettrune stand,
To writ anone I hynt ane pene in hand”

2013-06-04 17.01.33

I was in London earlier this month, running a workshop for the Translators’ Association called “Translating the Translator: Gavin Douglas’s Eneados“, when five of us attempted versions of Gavin Douglas into contemporary English.

Gavin Douglas (1474–1522) was the Provost of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh when, exactly five hundred years ago, in June 1513, he completed Eneados, his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into Middle Scots. He also wrote an original Prologue for each of Virgil’s twelve books – and for an additional thirteenth book, written by Mapheus Vegius in 1428. The prologues describe with immediacy Scottish landscapes and weather – a May morning, a June evening, a chill winter.

Below is a several-handed translation, of an extract (lines 51–77, & 85–88) from ‘The Proloug of the Threttene Buik of Eneados Ekit to Virgill be Mapheus Vegius’; on a bucolic June evening, Douglas encounters Mapheus. The translators are Felicity McNab (FM), Nicky Harman (NH), Susan Mackervoy (SM), and myself (KC); the original follows.

And soon every creature that came into the bay or field, flood, forest, earth or air or in the scrubland or wooded copse, lakes, marshes or their pools, lies settled down still, to sleep and rest in darkness. Also the small birds sat on their nests, with little midges and irksome fleas, hard-working moths and busy bees, both wild and tame beasts and every other great and small thing, except the merry nightingale Philomene who sat on the thorn tree singing from the spleen. (FMcN)

How I longed to hear those notes cascade
And wandered till I found a tree-filled glade
I take a seat beneath a glossy bay
So my thoughts too can wander as they may. (NH)

I could see bright stars – the Pole Star, the Bear –
a crescent moon (quite dim in the summer skies)
and Venus and Jupiter (what a pair!)
beaming down. So, lying there – what with the
calm night, what with the birdsong – pretty soon
I nodded off.
                        And saw an old man standing there,
under my tree. I asked him why he’d come,
and if he harboured ill intent towards me. (SM)

His figure-hugging outfit, trim and neat,
was long enough to cover up his feet
while on his brow the laurel-wreath he wore
put me in mind of ye olde bards of yore. (KC)

2013-06-04 16.41.01

And schortlie, every thing that dois repare
In firth or feyld, flude, forest, erth or ayr,
Or in the scroggis or the buskis ronk,
Lakis, marrasis, or thir pulis donk,
Astabillit liggis still to slepe and restis;
Be the small birdis syttand on thar nestis,
The litill midgeis, and the urusum fleyis,
Laboryus emmotis, and the byssy beyis ;
Als weill the wild as the taym bestiall,
And every othir thingis gret and small,
Owtak the mery nychtgaill Philomene,
That on the thorn sat syngand fra the splene.

Quhais myrthfull notis langing for to heyr,
Ontill a garth vndir a greyn lawrer
I walk onon, and in a sege down sat,
Now musand apon this and now on that.

I se the Poill, and eik the Ursis brycht,
And hornyt Lucyne castand bot dym lycht,
Becaus the symmyr skyis schayn sa cleyr ;
Goldin Venus, the mastres of the yeir,
And gentill Jove, with hir participate,
Thar bewtuus bemis sched in blyth estayt :
That schortly, thar as I was lenyt doun,
For nychtis silens, and this byrdis sovn,
On sleip I slaid ; quhar sone I saw appeyr
Ane agit man, and said: quhat dois thou heyr
Undir my tre, and willist me na gude ?
(…)
Syde was his habyt, round, and closing meyt,
That strekit to the grund doun our his feyt ;
And on his hed of lawrer tre a croune,
Lyke to sum poet of the auld fassoune.

2013-04-08 15.02.07

And here are a few lines describing a storm at sea in the words of Virgil, Douglas and (based on Douglas’s second stanza) Robert Chandler.

Talia iactanti stridens Aquilone procella
velum adversa ferit, fluctusque ad sidera tollit.
Franguntur remi; tum prora avertit, et undis
dat latus; insequitur cumulo praeruptus aquae mons.
Hi summo in fluctu pendent; his unda dehiscens
terram inter fluctus aperit; furit aestus harenis.

Virgil Aeneis, I, ll.102–7

Ane blusterand bub, out fra the northt braying,
Cane our the foirschip in the bak sail dyng
And to the sternys up the fluide can cast;
The ayris, hachis, and the takillis brast,
The schippis stevyn frawart hir went can writhe
And turnit hir braid syide to the wallis swithe.

Heich as ane hill the jaw of watter brak
And in ane help come on thame with ane swak.
Sum hesit hoverand on the wallis hycht
And sum the sownschand see so law gart lycht
Thame semit the erd oppinnit amyd the flude;
The stowr wp bullerit sand as it war wuid.

Gavin Douglas, Eneados, I.iii, ll.14–25

Hill high hung the well of water,
then dropped down on the ships with one swift blow.
Wave-winged, one boat stood hovering in the sky
while other boats were drawn down to such depths
it seemed earth’s jaws had sucked all sea away
and left just one wild swirl of sand and spray. (RC)

According to Ezra Pound, “Gavin Douglas was a great poet… I am inclined to think that he gets more poetry out of Virgil than any other translator”.

The 1874 edition of Douglas’s Eneados is available online here. This link is to volume 2 of a 4-volume edition of his ‘Poetical Works’ published in 1874, which contains Books I–V of Eneados – if you click on the ‘Author’ text – ‘Gawin Douglas , Maffeo Vegio, Virgil’ you can find volumes 3 and 4, which contain the rest of the work.

A new edition was published recently: The Aeneid (1513), Volumes I-II / Gavin Douglas ; edited by Gordon Kendal (London : Modern Humanities Research Association, 2011).

2013-06-04 16.43.40

The photographs were taken on 4 June in Kensington Gardens, except the seascape which shows the Firth of Forth from Kinghorn, last April.

Blossom

2013-04-16 09.39.45

Last month I spent an overcast spring day at the National Fruit Collection, Brogdale Farm, near Faversham in Kent. It was supposed to be the height of the blossom season, but most of the trees were holding on to their winter bareness until the weather improved.

I was there to lead a couple of haiku walks – the idea was that we’d write poems about the abundant blossom, but what we actually wrote about was the late arrival of spring.

I was there with Luke Allan, who works as Alec Finlay’s studio manager. Luke was there to install and photograph poem-labels for a project of Alec’s called The Bee Bole, and here all the poems were variants on Basho’s famous haiku about a bee leaving a peony-flower.

P1000279-1

You can see all the poems here.

Below is a sequence of haiku, featuring some of the names we came across (four trees and a beer).

chilly April
an Early Bird
at the Sun Inn

chilly April
Pyrus Chanticleer
has yet to crow

chilly April
the Blue Prolific
is anything but

chilly April
Zwemmers Fruehzwetsche
and one bee

chilly April
Prunus Stella
unconstellated

chilly April
one magpie
in a fallow field

2013-04-16 14.35.23

Abriachan Forest

A belated post about a couple of days I spent at Abriachan Forest, just above Loch Ness, back in March, walking and writing in the forest. Day 1 was working with folk from APEX Scotland, and Day 2 was organised by Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre. On both days we did a range of things – making ‘sixteens’ in the woods, labelling the landscape, looking close-up at the lichens on a glacial erratic, reading Boswell and Johnson, who’d ridden down the other side of Loch Ness on 30 August, 1773, and writing back at the forest ‘classroom’ over cups of tea. My thanks to Suzann, Christine, Cynthia and everyone else who joined us over the two days.

Pandora’s Light Box

Lorna listening, White Gallery

Pandora’s Light Box is a collaborative project I worked on for over a year, from June 2010 through to September 2011. My brief, from Artlink, was to write a descriptive poem about the University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery, to be recorded and presented in the gallery as an audio work for visitors both visually impaired and sighted.
Georgian Gallery, reading

Access to visual art for individuals with a visual impairment relies on verbal description, and Pandora’s Light Box takes that ‘practical’ form and extends it into an artwork in its own right.
Listening post, Round Room

I wrote the poem for two voices, and a recording of myself and Lorna Irvine reading it has been installed in the gallery at three specially designed listening stations, downstairs in the contemporary White Gallery and the historical Georgian Gallery, and upstairs in the Round Room. You can listen to the poem here.

These were designed by Frances Priest and made by Ronnie Watt; the recordings and sound design were made by Martin Parker and Jung In Jung.

A friend of a friend sent these photos of some lines from the poem which seem to have escaped from the gallery; based on this blog, we think it was Dora, one of the project volunteers, but she’s not owned up yet! And this blog describes the project from the perspective of one of the visually impaired participants.

Miłosz 2011


30 June 2011 was the centenary of the birth of Czesław Miłosz. He’s a poet I’ve begun to read just in the past year, after the Krakow visit. I returned with a copy of his New & Collected Poems, bought on the last morning of the trip with the spare zlotys, and begun on the bus out to the airport.

Thumbing its pages, I made a couple of immediate connections: his appreciation of the Japanese haiku masters – Issa, rather than Basho, perhaps simply because he liked the coincidental link with the Issa Valley in his native Lithuania – and his ‘Notes’, a series of single sentences each under a short heading (‘The Perfect Republic’, ‘Epitaph’, ‘Mountains’), which are reminiscent of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s one-word-poems and monostichs, and Günter Eich’s (even briefer) ’17 Formeln’. Neither ‘Reading the Japanese Poet Issa (1762-1826)’ nor ‘Notes’ are entirely typical of his work, but they were useful landmarks I could start to navigate by.

I read him over the winter (in English, having no Polish). I read him aloud while sitting for my portrait, when Angus and I enjoyed enjoyed the discursive prose of ‘La Belle Epoque’, especially its closing section, ‘The Titanic’. When I proposed running sessions on his work for secondary schools, it became one of those rare and serendipitous projects everyone says ‘yes’ to.

In the summer term I visited schools in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Highland and South Lanarkshire, and will visit several more schools over the coming weeks. The poem I’ve come to focus on most is ‘The Dining Room’ (‘Jadalnia’) from the sequence ‘The World’ (‘Świat’), a seemingly straightforward description of an interior whose place and date of composition – Warsaw 1943 – soon open up deeper, darker layers of resonance.

The Scottish Poetry Library has produced a Miłosz 2011 poster, featuring the poem ‘Song on the End of the World’ (‘Piosenka o Końcu Świata’) in English and Polish, along with background information, weblinks, and a couple of photos of the poet in later life, craggy and bushy-eyebrowed.

There is also a series of Polish Poems on the Underground at the moment, including Miłosz’s ‘And Yet the Books’ and ‘Blacksmith Shop’, as well as poems by Zbiginiew Herbert, Wisława Symborska and Adam Zagajeweski.
I’m also running an event on Saturday 10 September at Macdonald Road Library, Edinburgh, for the Polish book group Zielony Balonik, focussing on Miłosz’s poems.

Strathcarron

Sundial

Let others tell of storms and of showers
I’ll only count your sunny hours

In spring and summer 2011 I ran several writing sessions with day-care patients at Strathcarron Hospice near Denny. We talked and wrote about places, objects, gardens, people, sharing and affirming memories, and opening new conversations about previously unsuspected things-in-common. Here’s a group poem –

A Strathcarron Lucky Bag

Sheena Easton, Larry Marshall,
Billy Bremner, Walter Scott,
Taggart, Wallace, Tom Mackay,
Mary Stuart and a’ yon lot

munch Selkirk bannocks, jeely pieces,
Atholl rasps and Cullen Skink,
haggis puddings, drop scones, crumpets,
a pint of IPA to drink

in Denny, Falkirk, River City,
Balquhidder, the Necropolis,
the Tryst Golf Club, Loch Fyne, Loch Tay,
at Mrs Anderson’s, Bo’ness –

and aye a jaunt to Kirriemuir,
I hear yon Camera Obscur–
a there is fairly worth a keek – but that
we’ll have to maybe leave till next week.

At the final session, last September, we read the work to other patients and hospice staff in the day-lounge. and I thought that was that, until this week a bundle of booklets arrived in the post.

Who We Are and What We Like

Who We Are and What We Like collects the poems and prose we wrote last week in a simple, 12-page, A5 booklet, thoughtfully and carefully crafted.

The photos below show some ‘Garden Haiku’ in the hospice grounds.

Hosta – food for snails

Coloured poppies / at lunch-time the school-kids / came to hear you pop

Rhododendrons / in springtime / in the gardens at Bidduph

If you’d like a copy of the booklet let me know, and I’ll post one out.