Friday, 27 August 2010

Edwin Morgan

The first post in the Five Leaves' blog, on 27/10/09, had a long piece about Edwin Morgan and Scotland. Feel free to look it up. Most people reading this will know by now that Edwin Morgan died recently. I never met him, though he did teach my partner at Glasgow University, but his presence is around. The new Eland "Poetry of Place" Highlands and Islands, sitting in the bathroom, includes three poems by Morgan, including his witty and fairly exact "Midge", the world as seen by a Highland midgie. On the bookshelf opposite this work station (no poetic phrase that) sit cards with two of his poems. The first, "Strawberries" (There were never strawberries / like the ones we had / that sultry afternoon....), I regularly used when working with a group of older people, touring readings of poetry about love and sex. A couple of us would pretend to be in love, reading alternate lines. By the end we sometimes were. The second, my favourite poem by Edwin Morgan is "At Eighty" (Push the boat out, companeros / Push the boat out, whatever the sea...), always moving. In the next room nestling on a shelf is his "Siesta of a Hungarian Snake" (s sz sz SZ sz Sz sz ZS zs ZS zs zs z), with apologies to Carcanet for printing the poem in its entirety, it is hard to lift just an extract. Push the boat out then, companeros.

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