Third in a row of postings about Edwin Morgan, and what else would this one be about but his funeral event. I said my personal goodbye this morning on the my regular weekly Bookshelf spot on East Coast FM, by reading his wonderful love poem Strawberries, before introducing my friend, the Dunbar artist, poet and maker of artist books Lesleymay Miller. After dropping Lesleymay back in Dunbar I jumped back in the car and drove through to Glasgow.
The University’s splendidly Gothic Bute Hall was the venue, and I must say the University did Eddie proud. In this magnificent setting we heard Eddie’s poetry, some wonderful tributes, a Beatles song, Peter Maxwell Davies’ evocative ‘Farewell to Stromness’ in an organ setting, and the stunning music of Tommy Smith, not to mention joining the choir for the singing of the last verse of Burns’ A man’s a man.
It was a coming together of huge numbers of folk whose lives Eddie had touched, and he would have loved it. We had the chance to mingle afterwards over a wee dram (well, I had coffee because I was driving) in the chapel, and it was great to catch up with so many friends. I first read Eddie’s poetry in the pages of Poor Old Tired Horse in the early 1960s, when he was discovering the Black Mountain and Beat poets, and it’s astonishing to reflect that his latest book (I won’t say last, because I’m sure there will be a new Selected and a new Collected to come) was published on his 90th birthday back in April. I’m certain I’ll still be reading and enjoying Eddie’s poetry for many years to come, despite the fact that the man himself, as he once said, has gone behind the bead curtain of his life.