I said on Sunday that I would be adding an additional post about the poems by my late uncle Alastair R Thompson, who I first posted about last year here. This was because I felt that my poem “A Nightmare On Argyle Street” was influenced by Alastair’s little book of poems that sat in the bookcase of our family home all the time I was growing up and referred to often as a source of inspiration. Although I must only have met Uncle Alastair a handful of times, his influence on me was huge, and I sometimes reflect on how much he and I would have to discuss today had he not died prematurely. Still, the power of words to transcend our mortality is thus proven. Here are some Alastair R Thompson poems, the second of which is obviously the one I had in mind as having influenced my Argyle Street ditty (it’s worth reflecting on how much this fits the phrase I coined of “Horror Poetry”):
Holding the golden branch
he moved with ease into that world
where fear is what is breathed.
Huge smiling people closed their desperate ring,
he held the bleeding father’s head aloft,
the vast and grinning face advanced upon him,
upon the bed the mother’s corpse still heaved,
the locked train bundled him away.
These were his friends, his fiends,
his sad familiars.
Who never learned to speak by day,
found in the night his necessary metaphors.
grief swelled his head,
yet no one noticed in the street
his wild deformity.
He knew that he
was shouting clearly.
but after several loud parades
found no one heard.
He honed his knife,
killed honest men,
and found the further pavement
thronged with passers-by.
THE NIGHT WALKER
On a wet, furry evening
of orange windows,
wet, late cars
and mumbled music,
trek through streets and roads.
Women at windows
cross themselves and lock their doors,
late dogs walking owners out
crouch and growl in hedges,
cats slide into the wrong garden,
owls are quiet.
The night walker is said to be harmless.
Perhaps he once lost something
and walks, hoping
that it will find him,
can first find
the right time and
the proper place.
TAKE OVER BID AT 4 A.M IN CALLANDER
They kept their plans unknown,
did not disturb the shareholders,
till the workers, lovers, walkers,
clutched at their pillows
and the property was theirs to take.
The birds moved in upon the town,
employed the silent air,
gossiped in gutters,
shopped in the litter bins
made promenades of pavements,
and showed a lack of due respect
for human monuments.
And in the morning,
handed back the town.
-Alastair R Thompson