GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Stuart A. Paterson is a widely published and anthologised Scottish poet living by the Solway coast in Galloway.
He writes in English and his native Scots, and is a past recipient of an Eric Gregory Award and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship.
His Indigo Dreams pamphlet Border Lines won the 2016 Saboteur Awards Best Pamphlet category
In July 2017 Stuart was appointed BBC Scotland Poet in Residence for 2017 - 2018.
Cover design by Neil Godfrey Paterson
138 x 216mm
£8.99 + P&P UK
PUB: 15 SEPTEMBER 2017
In Looking South we visit places and meet characters a long way off any tourist map. From secret coastline to cleared moorland, blacksmith to Oscar winner, Looking South gives a voice to places and people often bypassed by road, history and compass.
(Indigo Dreams 2015)
Winner: Best Pamphlet Saboteur Awards 2016
" 'At Douglas Hall' is a twelve-line sustained poem interwoven and complete in itself, a masterpiece."
"These are no Tourist Board verses. Deep in the heart of Scotland something has stirred, and this collection of fine poems is the sound of the rustling undergrowth."
Dundee University Review of the Arts
"Paterson takes us through 'old pathless Galloway' -
and simultaneously on a journey of the spirit. Permeating Border Lines are his evident warmth towards the place and those who people it, and a buoyant sense of time passing, yet of timelessness.
Stuart A. Paterson
BBC Scotland Poet in Residence
Today I thought I ought to write a poem
of how borders heave with refugees,
weave metaphors like plaited grass,
give voice to untranslated pleas.
Last week it should've been
a poignant tribute to the lives lost
in a migrants' boat which sank
off Sicily, that earthquake
in Tibet, another suicidal middle
eastern market square attack.
I think those poems, type them out
in brain fluid, print them off in breaths
reserved for sympathy which does no good.
On Portling beach the morning tide
has left a memory of person,
a tragi-comic skeleton perched
wistfully on the skerries looking out
to Maryport, wide-eyed, open-mouthed
as if warning everybody in the south
of river spates, lost balance, last
ones for the road, red-lettered bills,
missed calls, inactions, life-defining sanctions,
border crossings that will never pass,
of ultimately being late.
The week is crammed with awful news.
At least, from here, there are stunning views.
skerries – sharp coastal rocks
Tam O’Shanter Inn, Dumfries
Chico's the size of a favela rat, sleek
as a racing snake. Don't be fooled by his
tabletop antics, his one-take poses on
tall trees of barstool, his acquired
resemblance to a pre-midnight Gremlin.
Chico has run with the old pack,
goes way back to when dogs got things done,
ran loose in ordered roles, tackled
jaguars, anacondas, had endless
loyal fettle. Even now, a part of him
sits watchfully on the bottom step
of great Quetzalcoatl's temple,
ready to repel invading hordes
of pagan neighbours, slice through
the jangling armour of Conquistadors.
He'll settle for a biscuit, tickled lugs,
the hoppy fug of long-tamed men who
feed him cheese & onion crisps in pubs.
And while we're sinking deeper in our beers
Chico sleeps & dreams of nothing less
than seeing off those spectacled fucking bears.
On the high moors past Sanquhar
cows shuffle mud into quagmires,
dry stane dykes slowly folding into a land
no longer bothered by working underpins & props.
Nithsdale's a sinkhole waiting to happen,
a month of floods with nowhere to go.
It will find itself washed away in time,
fall apart at seams no longer quite so far below.
Tonight the lazy, dangerous tail
of a storm the Met Office have
called, as if naming a new
brand of weather-divining doll, Abigail
is wagging the shaggy dog of the Solway
from Southerness to Whithorn.
No ancient trees have as yet become
uprooted, no beach accessory shops
had shutters ripped away,
glass shattered, spades & buckets looted
but there’s crackling madness in the wind
& legends already of flying
wheelie bins down in Auchencairn where
rumours circulate of bairns blown
halfway to Portpatrick on a rogue farm gate.
Here at Sandyhills, where ancient,
barren artefacts like smiddies, water mills
& salmon nets have seen & felt
it all a thousand tousy times before,
Abigail hunts in a noisy pack of one
along a duneless, sealess shore, sniffing
the evening air for signs of life.
Good luck Abigail, give it your worst,
holler at holiday homes & darkened
caravans until your fragile lungs
are fit to burst. And when you’re all
blown out & capable of nothing but
hoarse shouts of dying breeze, there
will be only scraps of net on
sinking stake poles, empty strands,
a bigger storm long since over,
far worse damage long since done.
ANTHONY HOPKINS AT DOUGLAS HALL
Rumour, legend, hearsay, anecdote
tell of the time a local came across
Hopkins on the bench at Douglas Hall,
hunched in reveries of winter coat.
Politely asked why he was there, he's said
to have replied "I visit often, love to walk
past White Loch as sunset caps the Moll
with fiery light, love the way those tides
steal in like smugglers to the hidden coves
below the Cow's Snout, love the way that
sea pinks dot the lichened gneiss,
the way the Isle of Man skulks underneath
its clouded crown & Hestan pops out
from Balcary as I round Barcloy Hill
while the west dims, the Solway fills.
And sometimes I’ll stride like Thor to stand
above the rearing teeth of Gillis Craig
to rage & cry at the unfairness of the infinite,
its disregard of you & yes, of me."
I imagine him, pre-knighthood,
perched above the bay
gazing out to where Wattie’s
salmon nets march brokenly away
before rising slowly, walking off to
Sandyhills, a nice Chianti
& a beach fire with
Attenborough, Gielguid & Mills.