Poetry cards

Way back (well it seems way back) in the late 1990s I self-published a set of poetry cards. That was actually why and when I set up Calder Wood Press, so in retrospect it was A Good Thing. The primary motivation was simply that I’d found out how to do it, and the secondary one was that I wanted to publish a long poem – The Flowers of Scotland – as an anniversary gift to the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. So that was the first one. After that came Painted Fruits – poems written in response to an art exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (where I was working); then Roundabout Livingston, poems set in Midcalder and Livingston (where I was living), and finally Landings, poems from a holiday in a converted pigeonnier in Normandy.

The cards were self-contained, and the poems have never featured in any of my collections, because I felt that there might be a conflict of interest, if you like, between my self-published work and the collections diehard have published. I was looking at them the other day, for the first time in years, and I was still quite happy with some of them – they’ll do. The cards are now out of print; I made my printing costs back, and then gave the rest away at readings. If I ever, at some stage in the future, do a Collected Poems, they should go in it, but in the meantime, what should I do with them? I’ll maybe put some of them on my personal website, but I’ll blog them to start with. Here’s the first one, Dogwood fruit: it contains some little-known facts about dogwood:

Dogwood fruit

Circe broadcast the bright berries which,
snouted by Ulysses’ crew,
produced their swinish transformation.

Still, if truffles elude, dogwood’ll do.
Boiled to jam, or seethed and strained
to syrup – dogwood rob – it soothes
and cures; vinified, as Cornoulle wine,
and taken often, proves
that pigs can fly.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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6 Responses to Poetry cards

  1. Tommaso Gervasutti says:

    Great final line dear Colin, it sounds as the sheer joy of a taking off.I remember the Botanical Gardens of Edimburgh, I visited them in one of the three times I was there in the 90’s. Marvellous place, I remember some astonishing greehouses…Dogwood: I do not know much about it in nature, only in literature, Eliot echoing in my mind:“Dogwood and chestnut, flowering Judas….”Best wishes, Davide Trame

  2. Colin Will says:

    Many thanks Davide. I really enjoyed writing this series – it made me do research into each fruit’s uses and mythology, and it often surprised me.Colin

  3. Cailleach says:

    Lovely wry touch at the end. I always like being made think about something I haven’t considered before. Hope to see more of these soon.

  4. Colin Will says:

    Thanks Barbara. I’ll be posting more of these in my new blog at http://colinspoems.blogspot.com

  5. apprentice says:

    So much information packed into a wee poem. I love the berries they seem to glow with stored goodness.

  6. Colin Will says:

    Thanks apprentice, I appreciate that. A couple more fruit on the Colin’s poems site.

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