The Wanderlust Women – three poems
Poems from the Wanderlust Women, Lesley Benzie, Donna Campbell and Linda Jackson. Recently performed on their trip to Tuscany.
At Dieppe the ferry approached
the same pale cream cliffs
that we left ahin in Newhaven.
A remnant that we were once
o the same landmass
afore risin sea levels an a tsunami
drooned the land-bridge atween us.
Still, at its closest point, the British
an French went on tae build a twinty mile lang tunnel
aboon the rubble o a war that cost 85 million lives.
Though nivver a dove, Churchill wis the first tae propose
a union, that has delivered the langest period
o peace in European history.
Drivin the campervan aff the ferry deck,
there dominatin Dieppe’s Quartier du Pollet
on its eastern cliff, the Chapelle Notre-Dame
de Bonsecours owerlooks us.
Kent as the seamen’s kirk, its inner waas
filled wi memorials tae aa the souls
fa hiv lost their lives at sea.
As the licht dims an the sky turns a deep lilac
wi a pink hue, fadin tae navy blue then black
though Ah’m nae a believer
Ah could drap tae ma knees an pray
as the Chapelle accompanied by a towerin
sculpture o the crucifixion lichts up.
It faces oot tae sea an towards the UK
like a beacon for those fa hiv lost their wye.
The next day, Ah read that Britain’s richest man
arch Brexiteer, Sir Jim Ratcliffe,
is leavin the UK tae go an bide in Monaco.
(Dieppe, France 2020)
Journey of a Lifetime
One day I will adorn my back with a rucksack
packed with essentials and board a train in Glasgow
with a Euro pass in pocket and not let time dictate
my route nor length of stay in any country that takes
my fancy, for this is a journey of a lifetime, one
I have saved for all my life with pennies dropped in
Piggybanks; later, notes deposited in savings accounts
of my local credit union.
I will throw away my phone, purchase a map of Europe,
each country an array of vibrant colour I can unfold,
mark my journey, watch the paper crumple with wear
and tear, spot with food when planning routes
eating Tortelli, Peirogi, Stroganoff, Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Pizza.
There are places that are a must: The Vatican, sighing bridges,
ancient catacombs, St. Basil’s Cathedral, hills groaning with crosses, Dracula Castles shrouded in mist. The list is endless.
One day I will board a train in Glasgow,
throw away my phone and wonder why it has taken so long
to venture from the old chip off the block that is the U.K.
Si Fermi Qui
Signor Capitano, si fermi qui
Sono tanto stanco, mi fermo si.
That day in the Casa d’Italia, elderly men wept.
Songs of the Partisans stirred the ancient river,
crossed il Ponte della Maddalena –
there, at the wedding of my brother.
Family from Barga celebrate
surprised that this song from long ago
of tired young boys in the snow
wading the Serchio River
surrounds and gathers us…still.
Fifty years have gone, in Barga finding family,
voices and poems, wandering stories and songs
here in the Aula Culturale,
younger women repeat the refrain,
anti-war songs rise again
for Ukraine and Russia – boys
North of the Black Sea,
Signor Capitano si fermi qui.
(Glasgow, Casa D’Italia, June 1973. Going to Barga, April 2022)
This section: Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events, stories and poems, Writing
- Friday Focus: Scottish Art Acquisitions
- Express Your-elf Christmas Party
- Now’s The Day Now’s The Hour – Poems for John Maclean
- Naomi Mitchison Lecture with Hannah Lavery
- From Page to Print: Shake the Kaleidoscope
- Steadfast Trickster Book Launch
- Double Vision: Double Voice Jim Ferguson
- Kavya Prize New Writers Award Ceremony
- Celebrating Leela Soma and Murder at the Mela
- Story Cafe Milton Library, Book Week Scotland 2023
- Beyond The Battlefield Book Launch
- Book Week Scotland 2023 – Zoe Strachan
- Charlie Gracie, Belfast to Baillieston
- Strathclyde Creative Writing and The Glasgow Review of Books
- Scottish Pen Readings
- Fiona Gillan Kerr – book launch
- Dave Manderson – Jim and Pat’s West End Chat Podcast
- Creative Conversations: Andrew McMillan
- Rebecca Smith Discusses Rural: The Lives of the Working Class Countryside
- Medical Aid Palestine Fundraiser – Stereo, Glasgow