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Sunday, March 1, 2020

Patience

My poem PATIENCE just published in the online arts magazine, London Grip.

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Train

Delighted to have my poem THE TRAIN accepted for Peter Sansom's The North magazine. Can it be the only poem that mentions both Edinburgh's Corstorphine Hill and Vladivostok?

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Hairlines

My poem HAIRLINES has just been published in issue 95 of The Frogmore Papers. The first version of the poem was completed in October 1984, when my hair had a slightly darker hue.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

In Budapest...

In Budapest last week, Mik and I, because we are over 70, got FREE entrance to what is described as the Museum of Terror: the former HQ of the communist secret police. We saw torture rooms, underground cells, a gallows, and much more. You see, it's great to be old!
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Friday, September 6, 2019

Saint Theresa On Tour


Back in the 1950s, when I was a wee boy, I was mystified by a song which used to be played on such wireless programmes as Two-way Family Favourites. That song was Saint Therese of the Roses (sung with much brio by Malcolm Vaughan). The song dropped somewhat from my consciousness as Dylan and the Beatles arrived but on Sunday, to my great surprise, I found myself in the company of the good saint herself. I'd read about the grotto at Carfin in Edwin Muir's 1935 book, A SCOTTISH JOURNEY, so decided to investigate the place. Well, how was I to know there was a pilgrimage? Hundreds and hundreds of the devout milling around the statues, caves and grottoes, a police presence and, surprisingly, a hearse! Why a hearse? Well, Saint Theresa had arrived in it, or rather Saint Theresa's relics in an ornate coffin.This was carried among the pilgrims in a procession of priests and bishops while a choir sang and bagpipers played. The sun even came out for a few minutes. Not much like my Church of Scotland Sunday School but considerably more dramatic.But, like that wee boy listening to the BBC Light Programme, I remained mystified.
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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Shorelines

My poem SHORELINES has just been published in the autumn edition of the arts magazine, London Grip:                                                                                          https://londongrip.co.uk/2019/08/london-grip-new-poetry-autumn-2019/

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mr MacCaig Came To Stirling

When I was the Scottish Arts Council writer-in-residence in Stirling, I invited Norman MacCaig to do a reading at the town's Central Library. The event was a great success and I later wrote a poem about it.

Here is his letter of acceptance (stressing that he hates being photographed):


 
And here's my poem about the reading (January 1991) and our journey back to Edinburgh:
 
 
Mr MacCaig Came To Stirling 
 
I was the would-be entrepreneur; he
without doubt, the star. Unfolding, he smoked
below my big No Smoking sign. Then
dragging a leg, he faced his crowd. A joke
 
as dry as finest malt, then Mr MacCaig
was away, off through a world of short walks
that ended with long conclusions; then sheep
and stone; mortality; and trains. He talked
 
a complete hour, with measured words,
quick gleams and perfect pauses. In his streets
and hills, we saw with his eyes, knew Scotland
and eternity. He even stood to treat
 
us all with Hints About His Writing.
How long did he take to make a poem?
He answered well, but didn't tell. Some folk
called him Norman, as though they were at home
 
with an uncle or old pal. And the stags
stood quiet by the birch wood, while the white horse
bared its teeth at the wind. Later, I sped
through the night with Mr MacCaig. The view
 
from the train was ourselves: me, and his long head
smoking and talking, through Larbert, Falkirk,
Linlithgow. Until he started to sing
to me, as though he'd know me forever -
 
but Norman could sing for almost anyone.
The train rolled on; it slid into our station.
Shutters were shut; the clock's hands close to midnight;
but frosted pavements shone like constellations.
 
   
Published in WILL I EVER GET TO MINSK? (HappenStance, 2012),
THE SCOTSMAN (1999),   
THE HERALD (1997).
First Prize in the UK section of the Scottish International Poetry
Competition (1996).
 
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Jim C. Wilson  Poet
‘A true poet —