Heron

Snow whipped down the Tarmachan Ridge, and gathered in hoof prints in a field by the Lochay.

That’s where we met.

You, hunkered in a grey fur coat
Bedraggled and stiff
Gathering the cold
Like a sobering drunk at a bus stop Knowing the last bus has gone,

And me, cowering from the wind,
Dressed for Siberia,
With hot-breath-blow-back flowing Like the Dochart beneath my mask.

I might have passed you by
Had it not been for the sun’s flame
Painted on the dead bracken
Catching my eye.

But I stopped, and a moment passed, You fluffed your feather boa, And I straightened my mask.



Outsider (video)

Thanks to Thrawn Craws for posting this poem to their Facebook group today . I realised, after an hour of pulling my hair out, that Facebook no longer allow us to embed video’s. How annoying. So here is the video that was posted on the Thrawn Craws Facebook page. Please also click on the link to be directed to their page, check out all the creative talent they offer and give them a like.

https://www.facebook.com/ThrawnCraws

The Outsider

This photo was kindly donated by Emma Mooney, and was also the inspiration for this poem.

I told him to come.
I put the key in a plant pot,
And a slice of Madeira cake
Wrapped in cling film, on a floral plate.

I said, ‘Please, help yourself,’
And left the porch light on,
And brown sugar cubes
In a silver bowl, and a sachet of coffee mate.

I said, ‘It’s going to be a cold one.’
And I stoked the fire with extra logs,
Folded the scarf I’d knitted last June
And left it on the armchair.

I said, ‘I won’t wait up.’
And I drew the curtains on a blinding blizzard,
Took photographs from the shelf,
Leaving eleven lines in the dust.

I said, ‘Perhaps he’ll come.’
And left well worn slippers by the fire,
A blanket folded in a plasic bag,
And a kiss on an old book from another time.

In the morning I said, ‘I wonder.’
As I counted the sugar, dusted the crumbs,
Then drew the winters curtains
To size eleven footprints in two inches of snow.

Refugee

Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on Pexels.com

Dawn breaks,

With a fire whipped ocean

And the boatmen’s song.

Voices in waves

Sail the morning winds.

Tumbling from salt spray lips

Rhythm and hymns,

Caught on wings of a guillemot.

In a theatre of fog

Music takes flight,

Rising, like a streak of mist

To face heaven’s door.

And boatmen weep.

Sing goodbye, to the waves,

Lost upon the sorry sea,

As day dies still,

And the boatmen sleep,

And the boatmen sleep.

And we sleep.

©EilidhGClark

The Last Line

Today was a never day,

A failure to arrive day,

A day lost like edges of the earth

In a mucky kind of fog day.

Today was a nothing day.

A ‘didn’t even walk the dogs day,’

A day lost like carrots in a stew

In an empty kind of dish day.

Today was a forever day

An ‘is it time to go back to bed day?’

A day lost like the end of this rhyme.

Four Weeks in August Amid a Worldwide Pandemic

Photo by Elizabeth Tr. Armstrong on Pexels.com

In week one

The apple tree in the garden of the white and yellow rental house was full, but the house was empty. I walked past a dozen times, five times to the shops, four to the play park with the dogs, once to post a parcel at the post office, and twice for a look.

In week two

The apples on the apple tree in the garden of the white and yellow rental house were ripe, but not picked. I walked past the house at the crack of dawn, hovered by the garden gate, pretended to watch the bluetits flit between branches, just to glimpse at the reddest apples I had ever seen.

In week three

The apples on the apple tree in the garden of the white and yellow rental house were falling, and no-one noticed. I wanted to scoop them up, stuff my pockets and hand them out, but the streets were as empty as my pockets, so  I just watched another apple, plump and sweet, fall with a thud. A muffled sigh lay stale between my lips and layers of fabric.

In week four

There were six apples left on the apple tree, in the garden of the white and yellow rental house, the rest were rotten, scattered and bruised, pecked, and burrowed. I should have plundered one, bent the branches until the shiniest apple, cold and smooth, dipped into my claw like grip. I could have sunk my teeth into the flesh quicker than the curtains twitched in the window of the house next door.

September

The apple tree in the garden of the white and yellow rental house is finally empty, and the house is still empty, yet as I pass, a sudden flash of red amongst the green grass. A robin.

©EilidhGClark

Dead in a Doorway

Photo by Alvin Decena on Pexels.com

The weight of the world smothers you

Like a wet wool blanket

On tired bones.

And you lie there as still as death.

Your eyes; dusted in grime

Follow my reflection along the ground

As my footsteps silence the sound

Of a town laid on its side before you.

A red umbrella flicks to the side

To hide you from a pigtailed child,

While a balding builder wipes pie grease

From his mouth.

I step into your space and listen.

And like a shell pressed upon my ear

All I can hear is the sea and my heart

Beating. Beating because

I’m afraid of you.

I’m afraid if I don’t shake you

Who will wake you?

But I won’t shake you

For fear of hearing you rattle

Like a bag of bones.

I find your cup, drop a coin and say

‘Sorry man.’ Just like the last time

And I wonder,

When the first freeze frosts the leaves

Will you see sparkles

When I see dust.

©EilidhGClark

This poem is dedicated to the man who died in the doorway of the old BHS in Stirling. R.I.P. Never forgotten.

Autumn Equinox

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com
 Amber mist sweeps the woods
 and treetops burst like fireworks
 red, orange, yellow and green -
 against the silhouetted Trossachs,  
 
 Leaves plucked from branches -
 A leg and a wing, to see the king,
 Fall under Wellington boots,
 Into a cold casserole of dead summer.  
 
 The hill is a graveyard.
 Thistle corpses are crispy baskets.
 Bramble bushes bow low, and autumn 
 Shoots jets of freezing air,  
 
 I feel them creep into my hair as I descend
 Into the valley. 
 
 A swirling cloud hovers over the grass 
 And a snapping twig halts
 A tap-dancing gull, it hops sideways
 Over a flattened mole hill. 
 
 I pause in the shadow of a goal post, 
 While the ghost of summer wraps around my neck
 Like a feather boa. 

©EilidhGClark

Sub-Zero

Photo by iOnix on Pexels.com

I am the talk of the village,

Hanging out undies in mid November

When the mountains are snow capped

And the wind is wheeling the whirly gig

In sub-zero blusters.

But when this morning turned up

With a tangerine sun spewed on roof tiles

And a sky split open like that last free day in March

I rummaged through mucky clothes,

Separating darks and lights.

And now they flip and flap, and high five the sky

Like primary coloured kites

In a sub-zero November sun.

I am the talk of the village

Because I’ve pegged out woollens too,

Rammed the lines in a slap-dash

Rush because the sun is at its height

And the shadows that lurk behind the trees

Will soon spill onto the porch.

And I know my laundry won’t dry in this sub-zero sunshine,

But will collect instead,

The wind that skims the

Heather trimmed mountain crags,

And spray from the thrashing river.

And only when the shadows come

And the wood smoke weaves

A waft into the wool, will I unclip those pegs,

Hang damp washing inside,

Out of sight, on the clothes horse instead

And remember the day

When villagers nattered in windows frames

And my knickers danced free.

EilidhGClark

Three Breaths

empty road with fog
Photo by Aleks Magnusson on Pexels.com
Three Breaths 
She breathed deep, 
Jaggy at first,
And at her feet a pigeon pecked at pickings
While a bus shuddered close by -
Its doors folded open to the street.

She breathed out.

Her second breath was smoother,
And as people sped by 
Hunkered under raincoats, rain tap tapping
In stereo around their ears,
The walking school bus
Marched hand in hand in high vis vests,
And she sat with cold bus-stop-feet.

She blew out an shivering  ‘oh.’

Her third breath was quiet
As still as the gap
Between the ‘Caw’ of the rook
And the flap of a pigeon’s wings. 
Behind her a shop bell tinkled,
And the smell of baked bread 
Hung as heavy as coffee in the air, 
Warm and steady 
Like her out breath.

She paused a while longer.
Watching a line of charcoal cloud 
Make a bridge between two tenements blocks
While a buddleia swayed left and right
In an unused chimney pot.

©EilidhGClark

Dedicated to Susie, from PauseandBreathe

A Letter To My Body Hair

To My Inner Bountiful Beast,
It’s been a while since we spoke, since I stroked the tips of my fingers over the waxy wires that poked through a hole in my ankle socks. Remember that time I accidentally paraded you around town, all frizzy and brown like twisted hazel on plump pink toes. Nobody saw my toe-nails, newly manicured and emerald green, or the obscene diamante studs that gleamed in the sunshine. No, my friend, they saw you, my bountiful beast. Oh, and how they laughed at you, they pointed and jeered, and I realised, I had become the woman I’d feared, half blind through middle age and apparently unkempt. Oh, how I wish I could have saved you, but (with my newly purchased reading glasses perched on the end of my nose) I chose the shave you as I bathed in the embarrassment of my day.
Well, as it turns out you’d been a follicle bursting bonanza, and not just in my socks, I found you creeping into crevice’s beneath my frock where even a yoga master might suggest that ‘before you rock into such places, consult a GP’. And little did I know, that the more I looked, the more I’d see. I found you in clumps on my knees, tiny little trees growing wild and free, I worried about overthrowing an entire eco system when you fell. And my beast, you did fall.
But I’m writing to say I’m sorry. I knew you’d be upset, and I didn’t bet on the permeance of the bald love heart shaved accidentally into my pubic parts. I didn’t bet on red raw arm pits, or the purple zits where a chin hair should be, I didn’t bet on the shame of fingers pointing at toes, or the woes of being caught wearing you, my bountiful beast. You see, it isn’t you, it’s me. Everything was fine when I couldn’t see, when you were free to be part of me. And you are part of me.
My inner bountiful beast. I wrote to tell you, I miss you.
Yours
E

©EilidhGClark

A Moment

timelapse and greyscale photography of woman
Photo by Luanna Cabral on Pexels.com

A Moment

I remember her sitting there,
Long amber hair, and a chair with wheels
The colour of the sea.

I remember sitting there,
Daring her to care, wishing her eyes
Would fall from the sky into mine.

But we just sat there,
I paid my fair, while she looked for mermaid
Shapes in the clouds.

Yet as I sat there,
Listening to the whistle tear a note
Into the station
She looked, she smiled, and we shared,
A moment.

And I sat there, and she sat there,
A pair, connected.
Then the train rumbled out of the station
To somewhere.

©EilidhGClark

This poem ‘A Moment,’ was been selected to be part of the Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts Festival, ‘Passing Time.’  This is an exhibition of Poetry on the station platforms of Renfrewshire. This particular poem was displayed in Johnstone station.  For more information about the exhibition, click here.

That Time

hand pen writing plant
Photo by Natalie B on Pexels.com
I hadn’t seen her in a decade,
Not since that time we …
Now she’s lying before me, tucked-up warm
In hospital sheets.

Her face is older now, saggy in parts -
And sallow. Her mouth puckers into
A tight circle when I arrive, an ‘Oh!’ 
Like that time we…

She touches my arm, cold fingers
That leave cold circles for minutes after.
‘How have you been? How time flies,
Tell me, what have you done since… 
You know.’

Her shoulders hunch, eyebrows rise.
She reads my face, faster 
Than the note I left by her bed…

‘Tell me,' she insists, 'did you sail to that island,
Where the wind whips the waves
Onto the lighthouse by the edge
Of the sea. Did you?

‘Did you climb the thousand stone steps
To the castle in the sky,
Where the world ends 
And life unfolds like a paper chain?'

‘Did you finally find that missing moment, 
Capture it in a photograph,
A half-truth bent into a scrap
Of happiness? 
Or did you leave it behind?’

Her chestnut eyes leave mine,
Trail the cracks on the ceiling
And rest in the corner of room.
The sound of my footsteps echo
After I leave.

©EilidhGClark

This poem is now published by The Ogilvie.

The Break of Dawn

two white and black cows inside shed
Photo by Dan Hamill on Pexels.com
It was dawn when they arrived.
Two orange beams of light
Cutting tight between the lines of furrows,
And illuminating trees.
Her baby stirred.

It was dawn when they arrived.
Gravel crumbling under tyres.
A slither of sun crowning the hill,
And puffs of cloud lay as still
As her sleeping calf.

It was dawn when they arrived.
Two brown rubber boots crunching
On grass, still tipped with frozen dew.
A banging gate. A magpie flew.
The baby shook.

It was dawn when they arrived.
Two white hands and a noose.
A gate held ajar by a damp lump of wood
Four white walls, a nest of hay,
A trembling baby stood.

It was dawn when they arrived.
Two blue eyes trailing the floor,
Stealing her crying calf out of the door
White walls, empty bed, empty floor
Her mother stood - alone.

It was dawn they left.

©EilidhGClark

Now published in Veggie Wagon Website.

Soft Impression

Using a limited amount of words can result in something quite meaningful.

I wrote this poem using a magnetic poetry set that I picked up from a charity (thrift) shop. I found the process of scattering random words across my writing bureau, and then carefully selecting the words that sparked my imagination both fun and challenging. Magnetic poetry  is a great way to think about words, to explore theme and to construct something meaningful out of word chaos. You could also do this by collecting interesting words from newspapers and magazines, or writing inspiring words on scraps of paper that you hear someone use on a bus, or in the supermarket line. Pop your words into a jar, adding sticky words such as and, it, or, as etc. and have fun.

Growing Form

I wrote this poem during my MLitt year at the University of Stirling. The plan was to select one of the many sculptures in and around the campus and write a creative piece based on that sculpture. This was aimed at children between the ages of 9-12.

Growing Form is an acrostic poem; a visually pleasing as well as challenging form for younger students. I also increased the word count on each line of the poem to incorporate the theme.

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Growing Form

Gargantuan,
Rising up
Out of Shangri-la.
Waking the whispering world,
In melancholy maddening moans that
Night cannot conceal; his silhouette unravels.
Gathering height, he reaches, cutting sky with

Fork like antlers until the stars collide – like
Orion. He awakens the hunter. Down the cosmic fire
Rains upon the earth, blazing scorn and fury, and the
Mighty beast bellows. He gathers up the river and runs.

©EilidhGClark

 

Shackled

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Shackled

I am separated. Segregated-
An inch away from vertical blinds
And the switch to turn of the Sky.
To shake away the World Wide Web
Of fabricated lies.

I am separated. Segregated –

A mile from the world outside,
Hidden behind grey vertical blinds.
Dry from the rain,
Fighting the pain of oppression.

I am separated. And bleeding from the outside in.

I am separated. Segregated –

Peeking through artificial lines,
Looking for the ordinary kind,
The crowds of mankind,
Unveiled and unmasked, separate and free

Instead of shackled to the reign
Of her majesty – To the so-called face, of a modern race
Of dumbed down, media choked,
Free folk. I am chained.

I am separated. Segregated –

Pained by a society –
Rich in lies and Tory piety, flying toward
Mars in dream boats –
In hopes of a better land.

©EilidhGClark

I published this poem in Untitled 8 in November 2017.

Letting The Outside In

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I’m Letting the Outside In.

The double glazing is stained with winter splatter.
Porridge is cooling in a retro bowl and my bare feet –
Baking from the heat of a sun kissed puppy
Who is baking on a vertically striped carpet.

There is a reek of yesterday’s shenanigans at the burn
Wafting from tartan collars
and the air feels.

Music ripples through my rib cage

There’s washing hanging, half-arsed, on radiators
While a new load spins in the machine.
The sagging rope in the back garden
Is empty. Waiting for the weight of winter warmers

Honestly soaked,
to be nipped with plastic tipped pegs and a satisfying sigh.
I’m letting the outside in.

Three squirrels scurry along the naked trees across the way.
And me
I’m resisting the need to weed the garden
I’m letting the outside in.

©EilidhGClark

The above photograph is my oldest dog Mille, she is a 6 year old chocolate lab.

I published this poem with Anti-Heroin Chic on 25th May 2017.

Platform

Platform

She stood upon the platform

pexels-photo-596912.jpeg

She stared down the track

She counted back the hours

Since she thought he might come back

She wished upon a memory

Of when her life was true

She counted up the times

She heard him whispering ‘I love you’,

She stood alone and waited

For the seventh time that day

As the train spat out commuters

Who passed along their way

She held her old and broken heart

Afraid her love was lost

She knew she’d always feel regret

She’d grown old from the cost

But alas the lonely station

Had become her rightful home

As hope for the old lady

Stopped her being alone

Her love –  perhaps one lucky day –

On the platform she’d reclaim,

Like an old and traveled suitcase –

The man who called her name.

©EilidhGClark

This poem was published as part of the Renfrewshire Mental health Arts Festival and is displayed in two train stations in Scotland – Langbank, and Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire.

I Knew You Were Weary

I wrote this poem in response to finding out an old friend and work colleague had died. While I never actually found out the cause of his death, I do know that in the months, maybe years leading up to his death, he was lonely. I spoke to him on social media on rare occasions, but never allowed myself to get close enough to ask the simple questions- are you okay, or, do you need help. I guess over the years we had drifted apart as friends, and for that reason I felt that it wasn’t up to me to respond to his very obvious cries for help. Now I wish I could turn back time and not scroll by his social media posts. Now I wish I could talk to him and remind him that he is loved and that he has brought happiness to so many people in his life time. Perhaps those words might have saved him. Perhaps those words would have given him peace in his final moments.

R.I.P my friend. A fragment of your life is imprinted on mine.

Samaritans – for everyone
Call 116 123
Email jo@samaritans.org

Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – 9am to midnight every day
Text 07860 039967
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill

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I Knew You Were Weary

I knew you were weary. I saw
Bold, Black words repeated. Graphited
On a hundred walls. I scrolled

Past your weeping lines, ignoring
The beats. Broken sighs, dripping

Dripping morbidly into saturated
Sentences. I knew you were trapped;
Bouncing madness inside your own
Head. Half alive, half way dead – Hanging

Tap, tap. I knew it, yet I paused
I paused. Liking your profile shot,
A ricocheting lie – a knot. My conscientious mind
Wrought, wrung, tangled in a world-wide web;

I searched and found a better you, impressed,
Pressed on the back of my eyelids.

I never heard you scream your final scream.

©EilidhGClark

I published ‘I Knew You Were Weary’ with Anti-Heroin Chic on 25th May 2017.

Funeral Parlour

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Funeral Parlour

They dressed you up like Christmas day. A faux
Silk blouse with ruffled trim – garnet red. Black
Pressed polyester trousers with an elastic waist,
The comfy yins. But the shoes,
the shoes were wrong.

Unworn kitten heels – black. The yins ye bought
Fi Marks and Sparks that rubbed yer bunions.

They dressed you up like Christmas day and put you on display. Painted
Your face back to life, with tinted rouge and peach lipstick that puckered
Like melted wax, concealing your smile,
Your tea stained teeth. They put you on display – Dead
Cold.

Jon brought you a school picture of your grandson Jack; slipped it under your pillow
Then squeezed a private letter into your clenched right hand. I
Gave you a card. A pink one with a rose. I placed it beside your left hand – sealed
Happy Mother’s Day Mum

They put you on display, dressed you up like it was Christmas day but without
Your love heart locket, your gold embossed wishbone ring.
Those damn sentimental things that might hold tiny particles of skin,
Fragments of last week – lingering in the grooves.

©EilidhGClark

Since writing this poem, I have begun writing a novel titled ‘Cheese Scones & Valium’, which is biographical fiction of part of my mothers life, and is embedded in memoir. This has a direct link to my poem.

I published Funeral Parlour with Anti-Heroin Chic on 25th May 2017. The poem was originally written for an assessment at university and was difficult to write. This poem describes my own experience of seeing my own mother for the last time.

Window Pain

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Window Pain
Not a paper bag
Or a terracotta mask
Can erase this face,
Or misplace
The dug-out lines,
The outlines,
the valleys sketched
Like map markings, marking my skin.
Or the thin
Unconventional smile, forced from
A gully of pain
That rises to the tip
Of a pin like nerve

To my lip.
Does this body deserve
To mask these aging bones

With leather skin
Smoothed out,
Like putty on a window pane
With pain.

Or will night,
When dusk coughs
The light from the sky – celebrate,
and wait
until the moon is a silver eyelash
on a violet sheet
and the self –
erased.

©EilidhGClark

I published Window Pain with FTP Magazine on 7th April 2017 – click here to see the original. This is one of my favourite poems to date.

Alone in a Council Flat

 

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Alone in a Council Flat

The Curtains twitch.
An ambulance passes. 
No siren. No need.
There’s a hush -
A breath 
Held harder than a hiccup
As silence swells
Into the four corners of o’clock.

Through the letterbox
A whiff of kippers;
Of soup and salty socks, sink
Like a stain into embossed 
Net curtains and settle. Settle.
A beat -
A tick of life – 
A wave from a crackling stereo;
and the Corries pinch the space
Before the light-bulbs blink
And press the night like putty-
Into the lips of the garden

Behind the disinfected wheelie bin
And the whittled bird box
Tomorrow waits.
For news and for open blinds,
For fresh pheasant, hung dead
On a hook by the washing line, 
And footsteps – 
And an old man
Carrying a loaf of bread
In a crumpled up carrier bag.


The curtains twitch.

©EilidhGClark

This poem was published by Tell-Tale Magazine on 31st July 2017.

Juvenile Delinquent

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It was like this…

We whaur raking for treasure this efternuin,
Doun the back of the bing,
The bit where ma Ma kin see us,
Frae ower the kitchen sink.
And well–

Buried doun beneath some foosty plastic bags-
Fou of someone else’s ‘sexy’ Tennent’s Extra cans,
We fund four wheels of a Silvercross pram.

So.

We brought them hame and dunked them in a puddle by the kerb,
The drain gunk cleaned the rust up, they whaur looking quite superb.
Then Willie,

Well-

Willie wis having a muck aroond –
Spinning the wheels, and ripping them
Roond and roond and roond,
Until the cauld muck spat
Intae the plumes
That our laughing made.

Oh, and then!

Willie chored a fence post frae oot the back eh Mr Bain’s
While I was shottie.

‘But it was Ian that made the bogie!’

And it was the best boggie the Fruit-and-Nut scheme had ever seen.
A pure dr-eeam.
He made the seat frae a scullery chair,
And drilled it tae a widden frame-
Remember? The fence post that Willie chored frae the back eh Mr Bain’s?

Aye

Then Willie – he bagged first go.

So he pulled the boggie up the hill.
Right oot the top of the street – and wow!
There I wis, racing him doun the hill like Seb Co
Aboot to cross the line –
And claim ma gold,

When Willies orange helmet slipped – or so am told
And the next thing I kent-
Am lying
On the kerb –
Oot cold
And wi a skint knee.

And Willie –
Well –
He wis flying oor ma heed and
As you ken I was lying there – half deid
But the blooming bogie –
Well
It didnae even ken tae stop,
It smashed
into the back
Of Mr Law’s
New – fancy – Ford –

‘But is no oor fault officer – Ian never put any breaks on it. ‘

This poem is featured in the Lies, Dreaming Podcast #11 named Treasure. Click here to hear me read this poem.

Dusk

Today my poem Dusk, was published in Tell-Tale Magazine. Click on the link to see more from Tell-Tale.

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Dusk
Dusk sucks the sun intae the mucky earth
And the night sky isnae born yet.
Ower the loch a purple landscape,
Scribbled and scratchy
Like jaggy curtains
Shuts out the day.

I force my eyes tight shut
So the wolf can cross my path
And drink the water that I bathed in.

I want tae hold this wildness
In my mind’s eye,
And feel the breath o night
Frolic with my daydreams
I want to sleep, I want to sleep.

©Eilidh G Clark

South Street Arbroath

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Artist Laura Walker kindly allowed me to use this painting along side my poem. You can visit her site by clicking on the link if you want to see more of her work.

South Street Arbroath 

Every day is laundry day on South Street.

White cotton flat sheets, stone-washed jeans; yesterday’s pink and yellow striped knickers

Dip and duck like multi-coloured bunting.

 

Children climb up from the beach

Where the sand hems the grassy slope.  Plastic sandcastles filled with shells; razors

And limpets, purple mussels speckled with shingle, and a wee deid crab,

Protected inside a bleached Hula Hoop bag, Crumpled.

 

The children’s laughter rips through the flapping blankets as they zigzag,

dodging Mrs Campbell’s frilly knickers that joyride on the briny wind.

The postman waves.

He’s sinking useless junk mail through the rusty red letterboxes of

the fisherman’s cottages. Unashamed.

 

A peg pings and a denim leg  kicks the sky, snapping the wind as it buckles around a

red rope.

Heaven rests like burning oil on the ocean.

 

A wrinkled man with leather lugs sits outside number twenty-five,

His eyes a hazy mist of blue sea, and cataracts.

He picks up his thick wooden board, red with blood and guts,

A deid head of a deid haddock with deid

Eyes.  He wipes his knife clean on a Pizza Hut flyer.

©Eilidh G Clark

This poem was first published by Artist Moira Buchanan in her art exhibition ‘All Washed up’. You can follow Moira Buchanan on Facebook by clicking this link  or visit her website.

Procrastination published by The Ogilvie

Today my poem Procrastination was published by The Ogilvie – (Click on the link to see it live).

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I wrote this poem on a day when I was supposed to be writing an academic essay. Clearly my mind wasn’t on the job.

Procrastination

Cardboard daylight
Prods me through vertical blinds.
I am slumped on an un-reclining recliner with
warm-breath-blowback burning my cheeks,

my toes, curl like a fist on the carpet, as cold as the kitchen tiles.
I cannot move.
There is a pork and Apple loaf
Baking in the oven
Two hours too soon
And a laptop on standby.

I am waiting
I have been waiting for years
For that phone-call, that chance
But it will not come
Not in this bitter cold dark
Afternoon. Not in this room.

I need to put the light on
But I won’t,
The dogs will think they
Can go out to play and I can’t bare the dampness, the half night day,
That is turning all the Orange brick brown.

I am writing, or at least I am typing, anything except
What I ought to write. But I will wait a wee bit longer. Until I am
Kicked up the arse by the artificial light of night, when the start of time begins to run out.
It is going to be a late one.
Writing by light-bulb and shaded by the un-dusted cobwebs.

©Eilidh G Clark

Matching Gold Bands

band blur close up engagement
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Inside the church

my heart went cold

I’m no longer the one

you want to hold.

You said ‘I do’,

the words still linger

like the pain in my chest

as the ring fit your finger

and genuine joy

spread over your face

on mine was just sadness

at what had took place.

Sealed with a kiss

the couple held hands

full of hopes for the future

and matching gold bands.

As I turned to leave

I caught your stare

with a flicker of memory

I knew you still cared

but the church bells rang

and I turned to go

would you always love me?

I’ll never know.

©Eilidh G Clark

Every Road (University of Stirling)

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Wherever I go

Wherever I walk,

every road that I wander

will lead me back to you.

For my footsteps are printed

in the grass by the hill,

and the loch’s stole an inch

of my tears,

And my smile is still etched

in the curve of the bridge,

and my heart in the grey stony

brick.

See my words still whistle

in the trees and the reed

and my fingerprints curl

in each book,

And my time never ended

with a tap on the head,

with a robe a scroll or a nod and a look.

Wherever I go

and wherever I walk,

every road that I wander

will lead me back to you.

©Eilidh G Clark

Miss Brown – Class of 2011

people coffee meeting team
Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

“Books open, pens on paper.”

Her voice is fanciful –

Worldly words of wisdom.

Whimsical.

Take a breath Miss Brown.

Over your shoulder, birds trilling

in your ear. Knowledge?

“You understand, You hear?”

“Wings have spanned, grown and flew”.

Miss Brown is telling you.

Over your shoulder in her parchment suit.

Scattered somehow, this puzzle

this test, this class.

Yet sewn together so neatly, so tight,

so fast, that brains leak words inspired.

Alert, not tired Miss Brown.

Spoken proper. Knitted

like a scarf, like the missing words

from a mother passed.

Thank you Miss Brown, Thanks for that.

“That’s all for today.”

An end in sight. Taught by one with

gust and might,

taught by Miss Brown in her parchment suit.

©Eilidh G Clark

This poem is dedicated to one of the most amazing and inspirational people I have had the pleasure of meeting. Madeleine Brown, Stevenson College Edinburgh. Access to Humanities course – English Literature and Communications 2011.

I Can See the Wind

I can see the wind.

You can see the airborne leaves, scooped

up from the ground,

You can see the waving branches

on tired trees

but I see the wind.

Not the inside out umbrellas

or the skirts around red faced ladies,

or even the cigarette packet

zipping through the air.

I can see it.

It’s not invisible!

Its long and its night coloured

and shaped like a snake and

it slithers and swishes through my hair

playing invisible.

I can see the wind.

I see it laughing

when it reaches in our chest

and sucks our breath

then whips our words into a whisper.

I’m not fooled

by its malice

when it asks the rain

to join in.

I can see the wind

and it’s ugly.

©Eilidh G Clark

Vitamin Glee

blue bright citrus citrus fruit
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I am filled with vitamin D, with a pink
lemonade kiss and a fancy free
Candy floss smile.

It is a marvellous and menacing mischief
that had now pumped up my heart,
and a vitamin glee that I have swallowed.

Rays of sunbeams are hiding in my sweater
and my unshaven legs – prickling
with joy, how glorious to be shown the light.

I am shimmering and dancing in my pants,
and there is a party in my bed socks –
And they rock, because bed socks do that.

And if my eyes were as blue as the sky
-and they are as blue as the sky,
they would be lost, in disguise and forever.

“What is this poem you ask me muse?”
“What is its purpose?”
“The purpose my beautiful fairy-tale wife,

Is that summer came for a day,
Like sand in my toes and a three wheeler bike
It snapped its elastic on my bum cheek and cheered.”

©Eilidh G Clark

Happy Vision

foggy lake
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

I looked in to the distance, not so far away,
the sparkling lake was dancing
to celebrate a perfect day.
Spring burst through the mother earth
and coloured it with sun
painted it with brightness
and completed it with fun.
I looked upon the picture
and felt my soul awake,
then a temperamental notion
was to jump into the lake.
instead I breathed in firmly
and I fell into the day
and let this happy vision
take me out to play.
I walked into the open air
the suns arms hugged me tight
and I held that shiny feeling
til it disappeared at night.

©Eilidh G Clark

Deadline

Time is running like the River Forth

and it is flowing down my spine.

Big Ben is printed on the back of my eyelids

And my heart is beating

Tick, tick, tick, tock.

Time is painted in the Stirling sky

and is burning holes

into the big fat orange moon, beating on me,

Beating like my pulse

Tick, tick, tick, tock

Time is flapping in the wind

And punching kisses on my chest.

White breath coughs from behind my teeth,

Chattering like supermarket baskets.

Tick, tick, tick, clatter.

Time is waiting on the bus,

Its holding a student pass outright

and the driver is checking his watch, shaking his head

Like a pendulum

Tick, tick, tick, bong

Time is passing by the window,

In the old ladies rain mate,

and it’s trapped in the spokes of an inside out brolly

and it’s pouring

Drip, tick, tock, drip

Time has landing on my face

From a charcoal dusk and

Airborne tear shapes that slap my skin

and roll

Tick, tick, drip, drip onto my essay.

Published in Brig Newspaper – University of Stirling

©Eilidh G Clark

Tip Toe

“Good Evening”

burst into the empty room and sinks

into  wood-chipped walls.

I am thrilled

There isn’t a cushion of place,

Or a dirty plate,

or a  dish cloth dotted with swollen toast crumbs, no.

There is just me, alone in clean silence.

I tiptoe on my tea stained carpet and hold my breath

in case the robin in the back garden stops singing.

Or the train on the railway track 400 yards away slows.

In my little cupboard sized kitchen

the kettle rocks  on its silver disc,

and the fridge performs its hourly shudder.

And the walls sweat.

I put last nights dinner in the ding – chicken supreme and second day roast potatoes,

better reheated, yes, better.

I scroll through Facebook,

watch people talking to one another

without opening their mouths.

I turn off my phone – to feel.

I feel everything.

Maybe I should do something?

Maybe I should clean my plate,

eat a jammy Wagon Wheel just because –

Maybe feel a little guilty so practice Yoga on the Wii?

Maybe just sit and watch the robin in the tree.

©Eilidh G Clark

The Lesson

Our heaving lungs suck the air as we climb.

Higher, higher.

Aching legs and numb feet scramble over boulders and broken branches.

Rain, wind, and a glimmer of sun. A distant mist descending

from the sullen sky onto the earth, erasing a castle, a monument

a city.

Leaves shake violently in the cutting wind. Noise.

Squelching mud, snapping twigs,

unnatural sound, we create it.

On the cliff top, the landscape is our canvas.

Acorns and chestnuts, branches and stones, litter the floor

like a countryside collage  hung on a  classroom wall. Winters decay.

Carcasses of cream coloured leaves, consumed by insects, lie randomly

forming delicate lace arrangements.

Brown mud, brown leaves, brown bark, paint the backdrop

of a multi coloured woodland.

Green moss on a broken wall,

orange, yellow and grey foliage A tiny shoot, pushes through the earth.

Layers of  life on death, death on life. The liberty of nature.

Nature is shrinking, the colours rinsed out by

buildings, roads, litter, wire fences

hemming in the farmers cows

hemming in history.

Humanity’s smell is pungent,

food and  people

people and food.

Through the wind, a distant drilling is heard.

©Eilidh G Clark

Postman’s Knock

Nobody comes but the postman.

She watches him pause by the fence.

He slips his wedding band into

his pocket.  The red light beckons.

His guilt, as thick as his folded fivers.

©Eilidh G Clark

N.B. The first line in this poem is taken from Gillian Clarke’s ‘At One Thousand Feet’.

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It is midnight.
And the stroke of its hand is a memory;
A memory of
a hand that once held mine.
I am entangled in darkness

The hiss of a serpent wraps around
my throat,
until my nicotine breath bellows
And drops.

Amongst the shadows,
Optimism shines like a ghost
from an invisible moon.

I am calm.

Déjà vu haunts me
and I realise my footsteps

may have, walked this place before when I was young.

And my future.

You made me. You

and a bald headed man
who is and is not my father.
You gave me this midnight, and you are gone.
Sadness lives in me like tumour
but sadness pays.

Soon

I will hold a scroll to say
Be proud mum, I did it.

©Eilidh G Clark

Drown

Midnight, On the blackened sand.
Waves crash upon the shore,
unfamiliar darkness
yet I’ve seen this place before.
Lying flat, eyes to the sky;
the stars are out of reach,
I’m all alone without you,
on this cold and lonely beach.
The gnawing cold snags my breath.
I wrap myself up tight,
I’m shrouded in a veil of grief
yet bathing in the moonlight,
I close my eyes and ponder
this melancholy mind,
I’m seasick from the universe
vanished from mankind.
Onto my feet I wander,
to the gentle lapping tide,
I asked the stars to help me,
in the moon did I confide,
but the burden was too heavy,
and my face a sorry frown
as I walked into the ocean
I said goodbye and drowned.

©Eilidh G Clark

My World in a Ring

For Helen

It was not mine when it caught my eye,

I had never seen treasure like this before;

An opal stone set firmly in gold

Had lured me into the antique store.

 

Now it sat in a box amongst breakfast and tea,

Eight slices of toast with a message in cheese;

Toast perfectly buttered and words written neat,

Marry me?

 

Such a mighty feast adorned my table

That my brain was not quite comprehending,

The offer of marriage in edible love

And the unanswered question still pending.

 

My eyes filled with tears and the word “yes” escaped

And the ring flashed like sun and like fire,

She tenderly slipped the ring onto my finger,

For my love, I just could not deny her.

 

I mused over the jewel that now circled my finger;

Of its journey, its life and it’s past,

Who wore it before me, and who gave it up?

Was it a symbol of love that still lasts?

 

Was it owned by a lady who travelled the world,

Who read Shakespeare and Milton and Pope?

Did she write words with new inspiration?

Did the ring give her courage and hope?

 

Did she sit in a café and hold hands with her love?

Did they fill life with lobster and wine?

Did they explore foreign lands, discover by chance

The opal amongst darkened mines?

 

My ring holds the secret to questions I pose

Locked tight in six claws of rich gold,

The oval shaped opal like a world filled with fire,

And serpents and magic and wonder untold.

 

The magic consumed me as I strolled to the light,

The stone changed from fire into ocean,

Its sky filled with morning, with sunbeams

And clouds and a light show of pleasure and motion.

 

 

My gem is unique in this world, like no other,

It’s a rainbow enclosed in a stone,

Revealed to the world through endurance and skill,

It’s a lifetime of pleasure I own.

 

I wear it with pride on my left hand, fourth finger,

I imagine the gem’s sweet voice sing,

“You are unique, you are precious and have

fire in your soul, and your world will live on in this ring.”

 

©Eilidh G Clark

Blackbird

Mid April, calm yet breezy night,
I walked in the dark and was guided by moonlight.
The world was silent and the only sound
were the leaves in the tree’s and my feet on the ground.
Alas I was tempted by songs in my pocket
And the picture of you that hung in my locket,
But I felt that a change had grown wild in my brain
Like the seasons were changing, and so was the pain,
A stranger had challenged my withering heart
Twas the first real arousal since we’d been apart,
I looked at a distance but fantasised near
and the prospect of new love sent shivers of fear.
But she clawed like a blackbird at passions inside
And I craved her like coffee like a moon and the tide.
She danced on my gravestone, she lay on my skin
And she started a bonfire that burned from within
But the night was so lonely and the stars became shy
As the moon rode the heavens and rivers ran dry.
I looked to the shadows to picture her face
But shadows are demons that laughed in its place
And leaves brown and crisp sung tunes to my feet
The drizzle of rain arose perfumes so sweet
And the dark was forever and my thoughts took flight
She kissed me so tender in all shades of night.
But the season was April and the time was ‘not yet’
And the moonlight was kind and my destiny set.

©Eilidh G Clark

Black and White

grayscale photography of person holding cassette tape
Photo by Swapnil Sharma on Pexels.com

I’m lying on my side of the bed in a comfortable cocoon,
I’m tapping my phone to silence Florence, and her
Version of ‘You’ve got the love’.
Outside my window the world is an audio cassette.
I wrap myself tighter and bathe in sleepy warmth while
the street lights hum and illuminate my room.
then I blink –

The world pauses for a minuscule second,
but when I press play – the world has turned black and white.
My eyes may be deceiving me, my brain may be
wandering to a comic strip existence,
but as I squint through the crack in my eyes
and peer through the crack in my curtain,
beyond the glass,
the world had been wrung out and its black and white for sure.

I won’t panic, although it may seem alarming.
Instead I will listen for the sound of horses,
I will stand up straight and look through the darkness
in my bedroom, and wonder what clothing to wear.
for in this black and white world, I have nothing
to fit the occasion.

©Eilidh G Clark

Wheelie Bin Soup

This poem was published in the UOS Creative Writing anthology yearbook. It also appeared in an exhibition titled Poetry in Windows at the 2019 BIG LIT festival at Gatehouse on Fleet

green trash bin on green grass field
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Nicked, frae below a strummin street licht,

The muckle great bin schrinks low to the grund.

Flashes of blue and orange snap

on its rusty armour. Half foo

it rumbles tae the fit o Randolf crescent where

the pavement sinks beneath  brae, bumpin

ower boulders ,beer cans and deed bracken. Joyriding.

It flips its lid to the moon.

And the moon slides behind a bramble

Bush, and the bush slips behind a tree that

sucks air from the shadows . Released.

Skirting the embankment, teeterin. Then nose-diving heed first,

puking a cocktails o last week’s cardboard shite

into the Bannock burn. Branded confetti drookit,

Dance around the plastic shell celebrating

a liquid grave.

©Eilidh G Clark

Lentil Soup

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Beads of soup-sweat cling

To my arm hair as I hack a hulk of turnip. Slabs of flesh,

sculpted into yellow dice, tumble

onto a hummock of carrots. Resting

On the surface of a simmering pot, a sliced leek splays,

Its silver loops belch hoops of pungent fog.

My window is crying.

The pot hisses and pirouetting lentils rise to the surface and tumble,

Dragging sodden leek down into the rolling stock.

Fists of steam punch the air,

Burst

Then creep and crawl

Around the walls like silver ghosts.  Waving.

I wipe my brow on a dishcloth; toss the root vegetables into the pot

Then open the window,

The smell of autumn  drifts  outside.

©Eilidh G Clark

This poem is published in the Tin Lunchbox mini-mag