Wednesday 15 April 2015

M is for MacCaig and McNish

Road to Luskentyre
One of the poems that helped me discover a real love of poetry, coming yet again from 'The Rattle Bag', is by the very wonderful Norman MacCaig. It is very multi sensory, it has smells and sounds and textures, and captures the essential wildness of Scotland. It stopped me in my tracks the first time I read it. It is called 

Aunt Julia.

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic 
very loud and very fast.
I could not answer her - 
I could not understand her.

She wore men's boots
when she wore any.
- I can see her strong foot 
stained with peat,
paddling the treadle of the spinning wheel 
while her right hand drew yarn
marvellously out of the air.

Hers was the only house
where I lay at night
in the absolute darkness
of a box bed, listening to
crickets being friendly.

She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pouring wetly 
round house-ends.
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepennybits
in a teapot.

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
By the time I had learned
a little, she lay
silenced in the absolute black 
of a sandy grave
in Luskentyre. 
But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagull's voice
across a hundred yards
of peatscrapes and lazybeds
and getting angry, getting angry
with so many questions

This wonderful video is by Hollie McNish, a young woman who I follow on Facebook and who writes and performs some very thoughtful and entertaining poetry. 

(Linking back to the A to Z Challenge)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing it!


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