Beginnings and Endings

It feels like 2009 is well under way now. Yesterday I received MSS from Mary Johnston and Dave Purdie, so I can start work on their books. Irene Brown and I are working on her cover design – the main text is edited and ready. Lillias Scott Forbes is sending me her final edits, and I’ve had a an initial enquiry from a national newspaper about her work, so that bodes very well.

On the writing front, I’ve long been an admirer of the work of the makar William Dunbar (c. 1460 – c. 1520), and reading his poem ‘Meditatioun in Wyntir’ recently I was inspired to write my own poem. I won’t call it a translation, because it steps well away from his original words and is clearly a thing of my own, but it uses some of the themes and concepts Dunbar used. The process of writing the poem has given me a taste for working on some other Dunbar poems.

Sadly, deaths are a feature of this time of year too, and I heard yesterday that one of my old friends, a colleague with whom I worked closely in West Lothian libraries in the 1960s, died at the weekend from breast cancer.

(Draft poem removed for editing)


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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8 Responses to Beginnings and Endings

  1. BarbaraS says:

    I like that, despite things, there is still hope in the lengthening of days. I wonder did you have a fight with ‘ball’ in the last line and think of ‘globe’ a few times too: I quite like ball; the phrase reminds me of dice, or die really. Hmm.

  2. Colin Will says:

    Thanks Barbara. You’re right – I did think about globe, but I chose ball – the internal debate didn’t last long.

  3. apprentice says:

    I enjoyed hearing you this yesterday, and the discussion it provoked – def. a keeper.

  4. sms says:

    I think this is one of your loveliest Colin. so many fine lines, a real wisdom within. I love the ‘forgetfulness of age is a brotherly service.’ the only word that stopped the roll of thought and image and sound for me, was karma. it jarred, seemed anachronistic in a timeless piece.beautiful Colin, really beautiful. mature.

  5. Tommaso Gervasutti says:

    I really enjoyed the poem, the last two stanzas in particular, and the last four words most of all!Once more I have sensed the importance of the ending of a poem.My condolences first but then I wish you a happy 2009.Davide, Venice

  6. Colin Will says:

    Many thanks for the comments. I’m back from the mountains now, and I’ve taken the poem down. I wrote another new one while I was in the Cairngorms – it’s an inspirational place.

  7. deemikay says:

    Hi Colin, I just saw your comment at Rob’s blog about Mark Imlah, and came visiting. Very sad news.Your blog seems interesting and I hope you don’t mind if I come visiting occasionally. On the subject of William Dunbar, I also enjoy reading him and have churned out (chirn is the word) some versions of poems by him. I can’t find ‘Meditatioun in Wyntir’ in my copy of him. Does it have an alternate title? Or even just the first line? And it’s a shame I missed the chance to read your version.

  8. SMSteele says:

    Colin’s was just lovely.Fab picture Colin. makes me miss Scotland very much.

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