Thursday 29 June 2023

From the waist down

Pic: A pair of old sandals on gravel


After a bit of a break I have been reading some poems out and about recently. It’s just a small weekly night, organised by a friend, and it’s mostly a music night (absolutely my favourite kind of thing – very relaxed, some experienced players, some newbies, no one else who calls themselves a poet). I’ve even been singing a little bit (but let’s not talk about that right now – I have poem about my singing called Croak by croak that you can find at the bottom of this page).


A friend mentioned that she didn’t know the poems I read last night and I realised at least one of them didn’t make it to the internet (at least I don’t think so). This poem is one I wrote after a weekend boating trip Mark and I took on Loch Ness in 2021 (pics below from the trip). On the second day a white-tailed sea eagle flew over us while we were in the middle of the loch (with pretty much no one else as far as our eyes could see, Mark got a photo on his more serious camera). Poor thing was just getting lunch, didn’t know poetry was afoot. Audio of the poem here.

Pic: A camera screen with a photo of a white-tailed sea eagle


Sea legs


So much to escape,

I can see the appeal

as we bounce away

on waves and swell,

leave land’s tough rind

for alternative time.


Some swoosh on by,

we chug, chug, chug,

small craft, huge loch,

we laugh and bob,

our eyes need help,

our legs adjust.


As we practise knots

on our little adventure,

giant wings above

might seem to mock – 

white-tailed sea eagle,

a lesson in flight.


It crosses the loch

in a handful of beats,

the water is wide

but the bird is too,

it scoops a snack,

then it swoops on back.

RF 2021



 Pic: Entering Loch Ness, view of clouds and water and hills from a motor boat

Some of you might recognise the phrase ‘the water is wide’ in that poem as it is the title and part of a folk song (sung by many well-known 20th century artists too). I first heard it at Montrose Folk Club sung by Judy Dinning and the band Real Time (I wrote about Judy for another project back here). Looking at the poem persuaded me to have a go at singing The Water is Wide this week. I don’t sing it as well as Judy (here she is, with Real Time, performing it) but I enjoyed the attempt. Another of the participants nudged me to “just dive in” as I stalled a little before starting, wondering if warbling in public was really a good idea. It was a very apt comment and it helped no end.


The other poem I read last night is one that has had much more attention than most of mine. It’s a love poem called Don’t squeeze my shoes and it’s been used in weddings (and is even on wedding websites like this one – check me alongside Bob Dylan and Winnie the Pooh as options for your special day). It’s not my favourite poem of mine by some stretch but we can’t control what flies and what doesn’t – here is my post about it on my old blog (including the poem). The title is a phrase used in the TV show NYPD Blue that Mark and I used to watch years ago (and of course we used to repeat the phrase in terrible NY accents…).


Anyway, may your feet be comfy, as often as possible. Until next time.


1 comment:

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