The Poetic Lot of a Canny Scot

-Edwin Morgan

Love rules. Love laughs. Love marches. Love
is the wolf that guards the gate.
Love is the food of music, art, poetry. It
fills us and fuels us and fires us to create.
Love is terror. Love is sweat. Love is bashed
pillow, crumpled sheet, unenviable fate.
Love is the honour that kills and saves and nothing
will ever let that high ambiguity abate.
Love is the crushed ice that tingles and shivers
and clinks fidgin-fain for the sugar-drenched
absinth to fall on it and alter its state.
With love you send a probe
So far from the globe
No one can name the shoals the voids the belts the
zones the drags the flares it signals all to
leave all and to navigate.

Who says the era of absinthe-addled poets is part of history long gone?

This poem written in 2002 by Scotland’s National Poet, Edwin Morgan shows that the allure of the green muse still prompts literary reference and deference.
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Still surviving the trials of cancer, Morgan, a shining example of a modern day artist and absintheur, recently celebrated his 89th birthday with the launch of an exhibition and archive dedicated to his works in the National Poetry Archive in Edinburgh.

The exhibition includes many of personal effects such as his desk, chair, Adler Blue Bird typewriter and an inspirational bottle of absinthe form part of the display.

His absinthe fuelled literary circles were the inspiration for other Scottish poets part of the clique, such as Ron Butlin, who in turn cements the place of the drink amongst the arts.

Absinthe with Eddie

There’s an age that people get stuck at.
(Some of my schoolfriends were already forty,
and others still are; others hit adolescence once,
and never moved on.)
You’re different. You’re younger than when we first met
a generation ago. While the rest of us have been taking good hold
of the passing years, turning them into something solid
and durable around us – to keep the world out
and ourselves trapped safely in – you’ve been dismantling Time
and Space into words, sounds and silences…
Some friends and I paid you a visit recently.
Lunch over, you prepared an afternoon tray of glasses
and illegal absinthe. You invited us
to go on, give it a try –
When I picture you now, I picture you smiling:
in every poem, you’re offering us the unexpected taste
of Life itself – as something altogether new,
and ours for the having.

(published on Scottish Arts Council website )

Jonathan May 1st 2009 10:57 pm Culture,Literature,People No Comments yet Trackback URI

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