Precambrian Poetry

I’ve mentioned before that all of my early poems were thrown out in a house move in 1976 – they were in a black bag which was mistaken for rubbish (probably was, in fact). However, a copy of one of these ancient poems turned up in the 1980s, and I know I revised it then – probably to its detriment. Be that as it may, I looked at it the other day, and thought I’d post it. It was written in 1964, when I was living in a room in Garnethill Street, Glasgow – a street now demolished. It was cold, often foggy, and the area was, shall we say, very busy at night.

Brain Cancer

Rat’s droppings in a pool of melted butter;
the scutter of claws in a kitchen;
a liquid moves in the field of vision –
yellow – a note from a higher, dog-ear register;
quiet splashings, a splutter, spit.

He has become the dis-ease –
his-self the symptom.
Tighter and tenser his skin seems,
scanned, the spidery network
in a hatchling’s shell.
His husk echoes in an empty hall;
a speck in the struggle
from Divine down;
his mind a blown cavity, a dead-eye socket.

Across the street some-
is crying loudly – perhaps a drunken mourn,
and a taxi rattles the late-night windows.

The rat gnaws closer now,
and each new night
some dark flower beats,
beats, beats…..
as sleep falls with the thickening fog and frost.



About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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4 Responses to Precambrian Poetry

  1. Sorlil says:

    Strong imagery, I really like the last stanza. You’ve been writing for a fair wee while eh?!

  2. SMSteele says:

    some dark flower beats… nice colinI burned a suitcase of poetry at age 20 on purpose and didn’t write again for 22 years… I’d be curious to know what was in that battered luggage.

  3. Colin Will says:

    I don’t miss what was in the bin bag, except some magazines and broadsheets that I know are irreplaceable. Coming back to writing after a 20-year gap was, in retrospect, not a bad thing.

  4. Anna Russell says:

    Hugely evocotive. That first line really jumps out at the reader. I think my favourite moment from it was “the spidery network in a hatchling’s shell” – there’s an almost otherworldly quality to that. I very much enjoyed this, glad you found it again 🙂HugsAnna xxx

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