Read Raw Ltd

Promoting Creative Writing in Scotland

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Welcome to

The Rolling Poetry Page

Do you have a poem you want on the site?  Send it to mail@readrawltd.co.uk and we'll put it up here.

To submit something, send it in the body of an e-mail to mail@readrawltd.co.uk along with a few words about yourself.  Put Poetry Submission in the subject line.  There is no limit to length however pieces under 40 lines would be preferred.

Copyright remains with the author.

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Christmas in the Raw

 

I saw it then. I really saw it

streak from east to west, raw red

half-second thread of magic fire.

 

Something lodged in mind and memory,

as once shepherds saw a wonder, then

embraced a wild and raw desire

 

to race to Bethlehem, check it out,

go find the child now cradled

raw in straw inside a byre.

 

Angel? Meteor? Could there be

a person come from far beyond

our time: sublime, red raw defier

 

of conventional religious rhyme?

Is Christmas just raw comet dust,

a sputtering, fading funeral pyre?

 

Unseen voyager, come again,

ride sky-rocks raw and rich with

jewels at Christmas time. Inspire

 

the watchers of the human skies

who weary now. Grant them and us

raw faith, braw hope and love on fire.

 

Jock Stein

 

Haddington

 

 

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Roddy Scott

 

About me: This poetry is written as a result of a whole bunch of experiences. I think poetry that springs from life's experiences is more real, somehow. Some of it I wrote because of my love of folk tales, legend and magic. I've been writing for a few years with Word Play and Marc Sherland, performances at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow 1st Wed every month. Member of SAW and FWS. Always hopeful that people will enjoy poetry much more, generally again, and that the young ones will read a lot more, and stop sticking to tweets and F Book (read in whatever for the F...) posts. Thank you to Read Raw, without whom our work would have fewer platforms. Spoken Word Forever! :-)

 

Stretch, Fold, Swim Bold

 

Today the pool attendant checked me out as

my nose clip slipped,

goggles tight cuts round the eye-sockets-

 

the first length didn't count. Stopping mid-way,

I forced the clip on twice as hard,

breast-stroked out.

At 15, I reckon I caught my rhythm, got distracted by two women

almost seeming to engineer a synchronised pass, left and right in centre pool.

 

Dark hair right, blond left, a quick glance confirmed firm swimmers' flesh, strong bodies.

 

I used to kid myself that men never paid

any trite looks at women swimming

but there they were, each side of the blonde

chatting charmingly

as I counted 25.

 

At 30 I switched to front crawl, stretched, folded water behind,

windmilled each 3 foot

arm, watching

my tightly closed fingers sweep back behind my ass.

 

The pool had cleared but I felt a woman watching.

Thought, what strange impulse makes us look? Beard untidy,

hair short grey white and black,

belly medium fat and slack,

 

but then I knew: I'm boldbrass, cleave

the water like a true Navy seal, stroked 40

dropped anchor, stared at her: she knows I'm a poet.

 

And poets swim with ottersleek eyes

their bellies sloop elegantly through wakes

of blue smooth curves,

and their bodies ooze metaphor and glamour.

 

I stepped from the ladder, a new, stumbling man.

 

 

Candelabra

 

On a long white table tall,

thrice bright, white shining wax, those

pearly ones gnawing, some flickering

 

on a chicken’s bones-

did she lean on him?

Did he take her for granted?

 

She passed her salt, caressing his hand gently

when it reached

the space around her arm.

 

Raising long red wine once

clinking soft, faint, wistful russet blinks

candlelight compliments her amber tints,

 

did she smile? Did he imagine that?

Why will she stare and stare at his plate?

It’s empty after all-

 

the fork raised with one small pea on a tine

(it took only one small pea before, on her spine)

she grinned, laughed-

 

‘Hey, you’ll never guess, Lottie’s found

happiness! Her man is only carnivorous

between meals!’

 

He raised an eyebrow and nodded, sipped his wine,

was that listening, or the candle’s

shadow-hand of fine pretence?

 

‘I think this vintage is particularly good, Margot,

taste it again for me.’

‘But your glass has the same as mine!’

 

‘No, see, I bit my lip. There’s blood in it.’

 

 

Campsies

 

Moon east and rising

sun westering pale and peach

moon’s lady- eye smiling

sun’s man-eye at arm’s reach

 

we sit enthroned in rock

teeter on the green slab scaling

ache and rest to talk

mouths and lungs draw clean air

hearts and tongues claim Campsie’s beauty,

then the slow careful descent

 

Campsie’s braw bartering of delight

for fulfilling amazement and slow flight

back across the carse of the Clyde to the city

 

sun’s man-eye dulled and blinked

moon’s lady-eye glowed on

gladness milking her full soft face

 

knowing we will return to her place

her braw hands spread wide their auld lang embrace

 

Mouth of the Clyde, Christmastide

 

There are kids here who have suffered

their love to be bared for all to see

at the funerals of their mothers and fathers, aged fifteen

 

a girl, her father gone she cannot sleep at night

misses classes and has shadowed eyes

 

another, her girlfriend, cannot forget her mother’s sleeping form

lying at the foot of the rainy garden, still for some time

unnoticed and untouched,

then police-cordoned and police-incidented, police-tented

to hoodwink prying neighbours’ eyes too late.

 

And sleep is the warm gift the secure child will have when at last

she stops gazing longingly her mouth open-awed at the pretty pile

at the foot of their green Broadway-lit tree-

 

there they all are at the salty mouth, at Inver-Clyde,

some safe and sound snug and soft-scented, good as gold,

 

some sucking the red-glowing embers of their cigarettes, already too old,

swigging Mad Dog and Buckfast at the Lighthouse in silhouette

 

so brave and so bold, while cars trucks buses swing past headlights glaring

tyres sucking the soaking tarmac rain raining down rain blowing and blasting,

rain raw on faces raised to the night’s raw knuckles clutching glass, mouths

gulping it down, not thinking, perhaps now forgetting

 

that another Christmas is not here with no

mother that another Eve is not here with no

father and that their names are not Sharri and Shannon

that’s someone else,

 

and they are Everywhere missing their loved ones

lost and no fault of theirs but self-blame is a cost

and effectively all their lives

a hole will burn through always and

always they must thole this loss.

 

 

The Golden Fleece of Arran

 

Once long ago, when just a twinkle in me mama's een,

I was told the story of Jack the Shepherd and his Golden Fleece.

 

In the autumn, he would drop a sheep's fleece

into a burn- a certain burn- on the Isle of Arran, knowing

that when the spring came

and the taxman and the laird's man demanded their dues

the fleece would be full of fantastic flecks of Scottish gold.

 

He would hike up the hill in the dark

cracking ice-holes sunk in the sod by the heavy cattle

with his clods of boots, his nose dripping, his breath billowing out,

Rab the Sheepdog panting clouds of dogsbreath caught in the torch's beam

and Pickles the Pony snorting his general disapproval of dogs in the night-

 

finally he would stand at the water's edge and drag with all his might-

for the fleece would weigh heavy in his hands, being full of flecks

of glittering Scottish gold and sodden with good burn water-

and heave the fleece into a bag and onto Pickles' back.

 

Down the hillside in the dark before dawn, so that nobody

could observe where he had been or what he had done and imitate

his God-given gift of trawled treasure from the beautiful mountain

burn, he would step into his croft and his wife Deli and he would sift

carefully through the fleece, gently picking at the gold.

 

And that is how they paid their rent and taxes, long long ago

when the Scots were freeborn and ingenious in the old ways

and spun legends before the fire at night before the Scot

John Logie Baird himself

it was who invented the television, and spoiled it all.

 

Jack and his fleece are still there

on Arran, in every fire's glow late at night

when the wind blows and the sheep wander

and the folk stare and stare to remember where it was

that on his death bed, his wife was told the secret burn's location-

 

for Jack's last fleece was never found

and Jack's gold is not stuck underground

but on the fleece in a chuckling burn

who chuckles at we humans, laughs by turns.

 

 

(The Adventures of ) Rita the Red Irish Rollicking Rover

 

Rita the Red Irish Rolicking Rover,

-whom great pal and Heilan Chief Colin Mac

had rolled in the green Irish clover-

was down there in the Moulin Rouge on the Cote

du Sud de la France,

when the French Irish (or the Irish French) asked her to dance

 

Well up she flew, her skirts flung up high

and her heels she did kick

way up to the sky

so the French Irish (or Irish French...)

declared Red Irish Rita the Rollicking Rover

winner of all! And gin she kicked the table ower

and with a cocky Limerick wink, she cried,

'I'll buy yeez aw a drink!'

 

So it was vin rouge et bieres flowing on the House

and back to her table Red Irish Rita happily flounced

to her Heilan Loddie, Colin The Stag

(who'd been through a few dolls afore he cuddled

Red Rita )

 

And to this day, down there in the South of France

the Legend of Red Rita,

Queen of the Dance, is still worth a toast or two,

whiles they aft are heard tae cry, in conversation like,

'Tu te rappelles de Rita La Rouge, Reine de la Danse, ici

en juin, au Sud de La France?!'

 

And the reply is always the same, for who could forget

that night in France, as son and daughter,

watched gobsmacked, entranced,

as their mother up and leapt on tables, kicked her heels high

and displayed her red pants,

 

and the Irish French- or maybe the French Irish-

roared their approval and the MacArthur grinned

 

And that's the story of Red Irish Rita

who got the Frenchmen all in a fievre,

Queen of the Danse, in the red-hot Moulin Rouge

in the Sud de La France.

 

Three Autumn Haiku

 

Walking in autumn

a leaf falls, feathering down

stillness, landing leaves

 

 

Squirrel blinks quickly

tail tip touches wet black nose

another nut rolls

 

 

Clouds rush, rain rakes grass

rivers swell, burst, rushing past

sudden tree drops, crash!