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-
one
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.

1964

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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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