Poems


As well as a thriving visual arts scene, Arran proudly boasts among its population, practising writers, playwrights and poets. The poets in particular, try to keep the writing practise alive and visible by holding public readings. There are also poetry readers and writers groups that meet, and exchange informally in one another’s houses.

On such an ambitious website as the Arran Open Studios, it seemed appropriate to include the works of local Arran poets who on a day to day level are rubbing shoulders with their visual arts confederates. This page celebrates the Arran poets as part of a much wider thriving arts scene and features every month a different poem by one of the island poets.

Man and mouse

‘Are you a man or a mouse?’
said the man to the mouse.
‘Knowing what I know of men,
I’m glad to say I’m a mouse,’
said the tiny brown rodent.
He turned unhurriedly to his hole
and disappeared.

Then the man doubted himself
in the face of such assurance.
He lay down and tried to get into the hole.
Though his logic told him, if you can’t get in,
you can’t be a mouse, he was not convinced:
he felt there must be other criteria he was missing.

For instance, when a cat appeared,
The man shrank back against the wall
shaking, making himself as small as possible.
Even so, he felt relieved:
I must be a mouse, he thought.

But then his wife called him down for his dinner
and mentioned that afterwards,
it would still be light enough to cut the grass.

How all our making’s made

The swallows had long gone south again down
their old ley lines when I found their nest tight
against the transom of the byre door. Bound
together: grass, dross, feathers, shit, perched light
as light on the top shelf out of harm’s way
while on a different continent the code
for its design, location, usage, lay
lodged deep in a bird’s brain, an unknown lode.
Such rough perfection.
What was found, hidden
neatly within the double helix called
deoxyribonucleic acid
wasn’t just why eyes are blue: warrens, walled
cities, motorways lie there. Its charmed braid
transmits and stores how all our making’s made.