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I've wanted to go to Scotland ever since I can remember. I've read book after book after book about it and its history and its famous people, and it draws me thither like a call from home. Sometimes I wonder if I lived there once or more, in another lifetime, or in a dream; that frisson of recognition in the descriptions and photographs of a place I've never been. Now that I'm soon to be going there, I worry somewhat that it won't live up to my expectations, the anticipation of so many decades. However, deep down, I know I won't be disappointed. The following 2 poems were written by Scottish poets, both contemporary ones, both women.

The Creel
by Kathleen Jamie

The world began with a woman,
shawl-happed, stooped under a creel,
whose slow step you recognise
from troubled dreams. You feel

obliged to help bear her burden
from hill or kelp-strewn shore,
but she passes by unseeing
thirled to her private chore.

It’s not sea-birds or peat she’s carrying
not fleece, nor the herring bright
but her fear that if ever she put it down
the world would go out like a light.


Small Female Skull
by Carol Ann Duffy

With some surprise, I balance my small female skull in my hands.
What is it like? An ocarina? Blow in its eye.
It cannot cry, holds its breath only as long as I exhale,
mildly alarmed now, into the hole where the nose was,
press my ear to its grin. A vanishing sigh.
For some time, I sit on the lavatory seat with my head
in my hands, appalled. It feels much lighter than I'd thought;
the weight of a deck of cards, a slim volume of verse,
but with something else, as though it could levitate. Disturbing.
So why do I kiss it on the brow, my warm lips to its papery bone,

and take it to the mirror to ask for a gottle of geer?
I rinse it under the tap, watch dust run away, like sand
from a swimming cap, then dry it - firstborn - gently
with a towel. I see the scar where I fell for sheer love
down treacherous stairs, and read that shattering day like braille.

Love, I murmur to my skull, then, louder, other grand words,
shouting the hollow nouns in a white-tiled room.
Downstairs they will think I have lost my mind. No. I only weep
into these two holes here, or I'm grinning back at the joke, this is
a friend of mine. See, I hold her face in trembling, passionate hands.


More wonderful poetry can be found over at Poetry Thursday
mood: hot
music: the useless USELESS fan


it draws me thither like a call from home. Sometimes I wonder if I lived there once or more, in another lifetime, or in a dream

whoa, i just remembered i felt somewhat like that when i went to scotland! it somehow felt very familiar and right to be there, although still very exotic as well. but maybe that's just the particular charm of the scottish culture, i dunno...

hope you have a grand time!

i like the second one particularly.


Hello, thank you for sharing these poems by Scottish poets! (And I am sorry you are hot today. It is not hot here. A little cool, actually.)

Happy Poetry Thursday!


Oh, haha. Now I see that your mood is hot, not the temperature. I am sorry, then, that your mood is hot. You know, mine is, too, I think.


Actually, it was the temperature. It was BOILING HOT yesterday and the house was a furnace by evening. ugh.


i am drawn to both of these...but duffy's draws me in and leaves me taking a breath at the end...wanting to just sit and think and try to take it all in.
beautiful poems to share today. thank you.

liz elayne

The second one... breathtaking.


you are going to scotland!? that is great. i am jealous, it is such a great place! i really do not think you will be disappointed, it is scotland, and that is enough.

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