Category Archives: landscape

the singing ringing pole

The Singing Ringing Tree‘ (Das singende, klingende Bäumchen) was a strange East German fairy-tale film shown by the BBC in the 1960s. It is also the title of a sound sculpture in Lancashire on a hill called Crown Point above Burnley.

It’s not just the simple rhyme of the title that sticks in the imagination, especially for those who saw the uncanny film as small children, something about its odd atmosphere seemed to resonate. Apparently in a 2004 Radio Times poll it was voted “20th spookiest show ever”, even though it was a story for children.

This visual poem is about an encounter with a kind of life after death. The title is a small homage to the strangeness of that children’s film.

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the singing ringing pole

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Young’s slits

Young’s slits

A locked door
in dark woods
blindslat slits filleting
light from elsewhere.
What is outside?

Crabbit dark-oath laird
of ruddy anger
welcoming visitors
like deadly ailments
long hoped dead?

Walled garden,
too long neglected,
cosseting ancient seeds,
warm bowered trysts,
and story fruit?

Interference patterns
in imagination physics,
destructive, constructive,
both can condense
together all at once.

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a field poem

a field poem

(like field notes, but y’know – poety…)

I saw a bare-armed man
who flailed and capered,
turning unexpectedly about,
beating air like a conductor of elements,
until in a final spasm he flailed a stick
with great vigour,
up and into the sky.

I guessed at an unseen silent dog,
or madness.

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The Writer’s Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 16 “Landscape and Maps”

088E481D-4736-40B0-983F-4512DA1AFF2BChuffed to have a wee poem (it’s sort of a diptych) in this excellent ‘Landscape and maps’ edition of The Writers Cafe Magazine…

via The Writer’s Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 16 “Landscape and Maps”


Now there is a wire

Now there is a wire

~~ So there is a wire now. ~~ Step back, rethink. ~~ Now there is a wire. ~~
Before, for thirty years,
there were only posts.
Posts with old tales
of once-upon-a-fence.

Like the empty posts
in empty places,
high lines in the hills,
cast iron sentinels in
Victorian picturesque,
secure verticals
of redundant limitation.

Or eroded wooden
posts, wind riven
Giacometti men,
weird signs or saviours,
misty day markers,
wires all unstrung,
silent to the gale.

But here now,
a single wire,
not even barbed,
a margin for stock
herded to pasture,
one galvanised line,
not a problem,
stepped over with ease.

Is it only because,
white haired as I am,
I still want to skip
like an unruly child,
that it rankles so,
that
now there is a wire?

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Obstinacy

Obstinacy

A tree shines brightly
near the Allt Glas-Doire,
by the coffin road.

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Walking out the words

Back in December I posted about The Curlew publishing one of my poems called ‘Horizoned’. Recently the editor got in touch with me to ask about using the poem for some teaching she is planning, and if I could record something about my motivation in making this kind of poem. I was delighted to do this of course, but I thought it might be fun to try to show something about what goes into some of my ‘wandering’ poems.

Really I wanted to take people on a wee walk, because there is something about being there (and getting there!) that is essentially important. An aspect of embodied poetry perhaps.

There’s a long tradition of walking poets – the Wordsworths and Bashō prominent among them. When I googled about the topic I found some fantastic work by Mike Collier of the University of Sunderland which is well worth a look.

Here is my wee piece, with a reading at the end. I tried to cover the questions of what and why seriously, but answering using images, sound and physical effort(!) as well as words. I hope the result is entertaining as well as informative…

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More posts about walking.

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