The day I was God
I held your life; my hands,
cupped around your fragile body,
thrummed to that heartbeat,
fast, sacred, to you essential.
I caressed you, broken thing.
My desire was to fix, only
as my hands uncupped,
you sped off, godless.
Originally published on The Lyrical Aye
Despite taking a break from writing and publishing (see below), I still find I have some amazing news to share - my poem 'A Fine Day', published in The New Shetlander 295 Simmer issue, has been selected to be in the Scottish Poetry Library's Best Scottish Poems 2021 anthology, in the Scots language section.
I'm so grateful to the Scottish Poetry Library, and to Sheena Blackhall the editor. Also, of course, to The New Shetlander and Laureen Johnson for publishing it in the first place.
You can find it here -
Over twenty five years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic condition. I always suspected something else was going on, and finally, after a particularly trying five years, and with a few other illnesses coming and going and many, many blood tests, I have an answer.
I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is a biomedical condition almost exactly like Long Covid, but often life-long (albeit with periods of remission and relapse).
This is, of course, in addition to my previous chronic condition. Which has worsened significantly.
I have every confidence, now I finally know what I'm up against and have a fantastic local GP supporting me, that I will find a way to balance my health needs and become fit and healthy again.
But I've had to accept that writing poetry can't be a part of that process. Not only will I be facing long periods when I will find it hard to stray far from my bed, but my conditions mean I suffer badly from 'brain fog' - which simply put means I struggle to write a shopping list, let alone a poem.
It is my most desperate hope that, if I give myself a year of peace, I will find a way back to writing. Even just a few poems a year. Even if they're just for me alone.
So it is with huge sadness, but deep, deep hope, that I am taking a year out from writing and publishing. Time to get well, and to be with my family.
I still aim to run my feedback courses, provide one to one feedback, and continue to share previously published work on twitter.
Take care, stay safe, stay well,
Aye I ken foo ta stert a blaze,
foo ta bigg hit up layer be
layer fir hit lowes sic haet
inta dee fae dy haert ootwirds,
fir du feels at du's da onnly
een at's ivver felt siccan
a burn as dis.
Bit a'm nivver kent foo ta bank
dat aze, foo ta hadd waarmth,
wirk hit, keep dee an me afire
an fin da wye o stoppin wis
faan ta ess. An whitna wye
dere is o keepin dee here
wi me, I dunna ken.
First published The New Shetlander issue 288
I’m a poet and a Shetlander, adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. After spending the first eighteen years of my life exclusively on the islands, without even a small break for the holidays, the culture shock experienced on eventually seeing the wider world rocked me to my core and is still rocking some decades later.
However, as the end result appears to be poetry, I'm fairly ok with this.
I've been writing poetry for a few years now and have been widely published both in print and online, including in Northwords Now; Glasgow Review of Books; Poetry Scotland; Acumen; Ink, Sweat and Tears, and many more.
I have been lucky enough to be shortlisted for the SMHAFF Award, read my poetry at The Scottish Poetry Library, and I have been a Pushcart and best of the Net nominee.
I write in both English and Shetlandic Scots (though Shetlanders tend to call it Da Dialect, or sometimes Shaetlan), and I find moving between the two languages opens up so many possibilities.
I like to write the same poem in both English and dialect, so readers can have a direct contrast.
If you’d like to hear how Shetlandic Scots poetry sounds use the button below
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Main pic by Garry Munro
Poetic scrawler from northern isles of Shetland