My final Poet Partner session in Moray was a ‘Poetry as therapy’ session in a therapeutic centre in Buckie on Wednesday. I’ve come to like Buckie very much, partly for its similarities to Dunbar, and partly for its differences. It’s a working town, not a holiday resort, it sits on a north-facing coast, so it gets its fair share of snell northerlies. I like the people; they’re couthy, direct, friendly, but they take their time getting to know you properly.
We sat round the table in the warm kitchen of the big old Victorian house, talked about names and the identity they give, the places we live in and places we’ve travelled to, what we like doing, and, above all, poetry. I read some of the selection I’d brought, and that triggered further discussion, and more poems. For the record, the anthologies were Staying Alive, 100 Favourite Scottish poems, 100 Favourite Scottish poems to read aloud, and The Rattle Bag. To finish, I suggested the group write an acrostic poem, based on the name of the centre – Clydeville – and they’ll be publishing it in their newsletter.
That evening, as I was leaving an Italian restaurant in Elgin, a wee boy noticed me putting on my red anorak. He pointed to me and said, “Santa! Santa!” It’s not the first time this has happened, and I dare say it won’t be last. What could I say but, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
On Thursday I was In Charleston Academy in Inverness, for a haiku session. The two S1 classes came together, so it was a bit crowded, but they managed to write some very imaginative haiku. We started with a ‘What am I?” haiku, where they imagined they were animals or other objects, and had to describe themselves without naming, and the class had to guess what they were. Then we did a more conventional ‘Winter’ haiku, and we finished with a ‘What I like’ haiku, where the words ‘I like’ were not to be used. By then, they were in the swing of things, and theit imaginations were running free.