Song for a Swift
my oldest night
my selfish grief
my hidden path
my weary fist
my only soul
my only soul
Printed by permission of the poet.
John Glenday collects his poems together at long intervals, so a new book – this poem is in a collection due to be published in 2015 – is a treat for his admirers, of whom there are many. His third collection, Grain, was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2010, and the judges remarked: ‘His highly crafted lyrics are like wrought iron, strong but delicate, with a care for assonance and cadence.’
Glenday lives in the Highlands, on the west shore of Loch Ness (there are city poets in Scotland! They’ll make an appearance). His poems are unhurried but have their own urgent notes, and sometimes their humorous ones; mainly, though, there is the sense that the lines have been held up to the light and tested. The ‘small ballast of the soul shifting’ is something he attends to, and that shift may be caused by the sound of wind, water or bird; by human love, or a voice issuing from who knows where.
Find out more about John Glenday here.
and hear him read and talk on the SPL podcast:
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