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Introducing poetry from Scotland: Thomas A. Clark [by Robyn Marsack]

The Homecoming

the true south and the upland grass
the bright glade and the fallen lintel
the driving rain and the sudden calm
the fiddle tune and the rowan berries
the ruined chapel and the black water

the hard road and the steady light
the heat haze and the peat smoke
the pebble bed and the yellow flag
the grey song and the fault line
the dog rose and the meeting place

the keen air and the pine needles
the furze blossom and the brown trout
the far hills and the broken boat
the bleached bones and the summer dwelling
the slack tide and the raised beach

the blue sky and the summit cairn
the hanged crow and the sheep dip
the bracken fronds and the healing pool
the lobster pots and the teasel patch
the old fort and the malt whisky

the scree slope and the circling buzzard
the lonely glen and the heather fire
the sphagnum moss and the golden lichen
the bladder wrack and the shell mound
the west wind and the last harebell 

the lark notes and the ripe brambles
the tweed jacket and the grouse moor
the barbed wire and the holy island
the standing stone and the loud burn
the wild goats and the bog myrtle

image from 4.bp.blogspot.comWe begin with Scotland as observed by one of its most attentive poets. Born in 1944, Thomas A. Clark lives in a small fishing village on the east coast of Scotland, and his affinities lie with poets such as Robert Creeley and Lorine Niedecker.  He publishes  small books and cards through his own Moschatel Press,  in collaboration with the artist Laurie Clark, while Carcanet Press has published The Hundred Thousand Places (2008) and Yellow & Blue (2014). Clark’s work is spare and meditative, taking its rhythm from the pace of long-distance walking. As Peter Riley remarks, ‘The language doesn’t just advise patience, it enacts it.’ To hear Clark read is to fall under the spell of his phrases, where the seeing ‘I’ is rarely present. ‘The Homecoming’ evokes rural Scotland, her sea, streams and  hills, wild life and history; amongst these, malt whisky takes its place as part of a palette of gold tones. What is manmade in this landscape is dissolving back into the land.

from the archive; first posted January 25, 2015
See also

April 26, 2015

April 19, 2015

April 12, 2015

April 05, 2015

March 29, 2015

March 23, 2015

March 15, 2015

March 01, 2015

February 22, 2015

February 08, 2015

February 01, 2015

January 25, 2015

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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