Poets’ page

We’ve carried some poems before and readers sent us this crop so we are glad to print them.

Everything Must Go…* by Rab Wilson

The Kaiser Biscuit American Bald Eagle
Realised almost half a million dollars;
More absurd and obscene lots soon followed;
A set of ten gilt miniature oil barrels…
Mencken’s Dictionary of Quotations,
Hammered down for only fourteen grand;
An Emes and Barnard George IV inkstand;
Cinderella flounce and ostentation.
But now the room’s abuzz, they look askance,
Blood drips from each hedgefund manager’s maw,
As ravenously they surge and push and paw,
For surely now, the pièce de résistance;
Kellingley Colliery and its miners renowned,
Who’ll start the bidding! Surely, come, a pound …?

*On 15 December 2015, Christie’s held a sale of property belonging to Margaret Thatcher, realising more than £4.5m. She waged war against the miners during the1980s. Two days after the sale, the last deep coal mine in Britain, Kellingley, closed.

Wallace Street by James Aitchison

‘Wear your school blazer, school tie and white shirt,
speak properly and nobody will guess
246 Wallace Street was your fist address.
Not that there’s anything wrong in good clean dirt.’

When I left my parents’ You Are Here
I added colour to their pencil maps,
filled in their local, vocal, social gaps
with adolescent arrogance and fear.

A lichened boulder on the Isle of Coll
is a picture of the Earth from outer space,
and on a fair day bow-wave rainbows grace
the Calmac ferry through the Sound of Mull.

I forget my past when I’m at sea
but when I come ashore I have to greet
the foul-mouthed boy I was in Wallace Street.
I dress my nakedness in poetry.

I write another line, another page.
I know my mapmaking will never match
the plain truth of my parents’ pencil sketch.
And now I’m almost twice my father’s age.

A rising route by David Betteridge

We gave our care, our voice, our leap of heart
and intellect, as jurors in the case of Scotland Present versus Scotland Past.
The latter we found guilty of arrested hope.
Readied now, and rendered new,
we face the world before us with less trammelled scope.

To frame our own determined ends,
subject to no over-rule, then set the means thereto:
that is a good of governance, self-evident,
that the course of history has brought our nation closer to.

There is a way in politics,
akin to Neptune’s Staircase or the Falkirk Wheel;
it can raise us from the place that we would leave
directly to a further state:

this way requires that we extend the best that time bestows;
annul the worst; and the residue transmute.

An age-old longing powers us.
Ahead, what dizzying routes and quandaries of direction open up, a rising route!