by the by

I haven’t posted anything for a week, a whole week! Since we last spoke, I’ve spent a day travelling, a day or two earning some pennies, and the rest of the time disappeared one way or the other. Today I joined the local library and came away with a volume of Iain Crichton Smith’s collected poems. (Poor chap, he hated Lewis religion (he was a Lewisman) but there’s something very attractive about his work, and I say that even in spite of having studied some of his poems at school.) (Here’s one we didn’t do in school. Don’t think too deeply about the ending.)

The Clearances

The thistles climb the thatch. Forever
this sharp scale in our poems,
as also the waste music of the sea.

The stars shine over Sutherland
in a cold ceilidh of their own,
as, in the morning, the silver cane

cropped among corn. We will remember this.
Though hate is evil we cannot
but hope your courtier’s heels in hell

are burning: that to hear
the thatch sizzling in tanged smoke
your hot ears slowly learn.

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