‘Doors tae Naewye’ poetry by Christie Williamson

doors tae naewye

Doors tae Naewye by Christie Williamson (published by Luath Press)

£8.99 (Available to buy at Luath Press)

Supported by the Scottish Book Trust

‘Doors tae Naewye’ is a book of broken sequences, with nearly three quarters of the poetry being in Shetlandic, and the rest in English.

‘My first collection was the result of over a decade’s work, during which poetry was pretty much all I wrote.  This resulted in a yearning to know what the right hand side of the page felt like.  Instead of writing prose, I began experimenting with poems which broke free from what Tom Leonard famously described as ‘the tryanny of the left hand margin’.

The poems in ‘Doors tae Naewye’ explore family life, place, displacement and travel.  There’s also a healthy dose of those good old poetry staples – love and loss. And, as nobody lives or indeed writes in a vacuum some of the political landscape of the past few years has found it’s way between the covers.

A friend of Christie’s told him that he had too many poetry books to read last year so his approach was to read the first and last poems from any collection, so here’s the first and last from this collection.


In La Guardia I read
the Silence of Men.
My case is checked,
devices safe and close
to hand. I wait.

I see a guy – he could be anything
from forty to seventy five. Dreads
hang loose around his neck.
This guy has lived.

On his feet I see the torn rags
that just keep his feet off the ground,
taking step after step, always
forward – to what?

I think of the heavy shoes
I paid those bastards at American
to carry. I want to dig them out, say
‘Here you go buddy – walk a mile’.

Like all these dream it slips
away as quickly as it came.
I sit, with ten kilos of books
and not one word to say.

Gone Midnight

Wha’ll saat da waves? Da eens at crash
white wi da gluff o rocks puncturin
da lumbar o da flott atween low wattir
an high wi dir sokkit, serrated imperviability?
Da eens at tongue saft intae shingle an pebbles,
intae samphire marshes pricklin green i da fu mön?

Wha’ll slip a nip o sumtheen sharp tae da tides,
pit hairs on dir kjist an gie dem sumtheen
tae schow wi? Wha’ll snib da padlocks 
an oge back in tae lat creamy heid 
eftir creamy heid settle atil da saft 
gapin belly o da deep?

Shaa me a man at can feel da spray o milennia sokkin
fae his taes tae his croon wioot faain ta bruck
ivvry laandin or twa an a’ll shaa de a net at dips in
an oot, at fills an spills an haals alang da boddom o whit lies 
aneath da very keel we feel we maun ay bide abön.

Da Clyde swees sair at Cappielow as aniddir cup run
grinds tae a halt. Even noo, whan aa da pages is turned
an da ink’s run dry as dust sood du slip da lid aff da well
an drap dy can as faur as du maun he’ll yield yit
fae deep i da haert o things dat still cowld truth.

Christie Williamson, March 2020.

(‘Gone Midnight’ was published in the Poet’s Republic 4)
christie williamson
Christie Williamson, Author, Luath Press
@peeriemagnie (Christie Williamson on Twitter)
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