Here is the 46th poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:
NUANCES OF DREICH
Dreich is a fine Scots word, a one-word poem of despair
that only a nation with such dreadful weather could have distilled
across centuries of misery. Perhaps it is some kind of comfort after all
to utterly define a horror… as a first mystical step to dispelling it.
Let us continue the therapy:
Scottish Sky No.1: Flat grey, no change all day, no wind.
Lightish in colour enough for momentary illusion of hope
of blueness, before reference to BS colour wheel or RAL chart
reveals the answer: No, this is grey without the slightest hint of colour.
Remote possibility of lifting around 4pm to let you know
how good it’s been up at 20,000 feet. Surprising more Scots
don’t become airline pilots or RAF cadets or astronauts.
Scottish Sky No.2: Turbulent grey, churning, deep gun-metal
undersides of clouds, frequently dumping their sodden load
on disgusted heads and clattering heels, newspapers folded
into ephemeral dunce caps on the heads of those running for cover.
Unpredictable winds, wrecking umbrellas. No blue, no sun, no hope
no point in going out anywhere. No point in living.
Scottish Sky No.3: Interesting fretted and wind-torn patterns
to underside of vast dome of grey. Perhaps winds at high altitude
but none below. No rain other than occasional enigmatic spitting
like that from disenchanted neds. Sense of aerial message from God
in cloud language but always ultimately unravelable, other than
perhaps saying: change on the way, meaning rain again noo or later
but dinnae worry son, am keeping it by for ye….
Scottish Sky No.4: a personal favourite. The Teaser.
High winds high up frequently showing glimpses of blue but no sun
like the flashing flesh of an exotic dancer in a club whose proprietor
keeps strict and hypocritical religious views and a fleet of over-zealous bouncers
eager to kick your head in should you so much a blow a kiss at her
not that I’ve ever been in such a place you understand, this is just a poem
and I am a wet, shivering cold poet trying hard
to get himself into hot water.
Scottish Sky No.5:
The reader is encouraged to use this space to record his or her own personal favourites.
Well scarcely a poem really, but I reckoned it was time for a bit of levity. When I read this one out at The Scottish Writers’ Centre my friend Jacqueline Smith heckled me from the front row for being too depressing. Most unlike her really. Glasgow’s weather is generally fairly lousy almost all year round… but at least when we finally do get sunny days (or hours) it feels like some kind of divine inspiration. Hard to think of a flippant picture to go with this, so we’ll opt instead for a Scottish artist who made much of the grey skies, and about whom I have blogged here before, the late great Neil Dallas Brown. This image “Fallen Man” is from his series of paintings about Northern Ireland, I think, but could stand as an image of resonance and relevance to any of the world’s conflicts that continue to rage from day to day. My previous posts on this artist can be found here and here, and the website created for him posthumously here.