Writing 201: Future

Writing 201: Future

The future starts in the past

The past ends in the future

Your first rites turn into your last

The moment you cease to nurture


Cherish yourself as the first

No one knows you but you

How you bury in you the worst

And shy away from the best too


The worst ordeal is the middle

Plodding through the dull present

Allow your best virtue, your worst evil

Only the mediocre are wholly decent


The future begins in your first breath

The past is the moment of your death

Writing 201: Landscape

Writing 201: Landscape

This is a poem found entirely in Robert Crawford’s monograph On Glasgow and Edinburgh (2013).

On Glasgow and EdinburghOn Glasgow and Edinburgh by Robert Crawford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carefully researched and attractively written, this is a highly informative and insightful guide to both cities on their own and in contrast with each other.


The Athens of the North:

Encyclopaedia Britannica,

Edinburgh Review,

Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine,

Chamber’s Edinburgh Journal.


Here I stand at

The Cross of Edinburgh,

And can, in a few minutes, take

Fifty men of genius and learning by the hand.


A city of grand,

Often riverless bridges;

Some historic streets are windswept

In their elevation,

Others oddly and fascinatingly



Mary King’s Close,

Beneath the Royal Mile’s City Chambers,

Has a haunted, museum-like stillness.


A museum exhibit,

A splendid stage set,

A wonderful museum of itself.

Writing 201: Drawer

Writing 201: Drawer


Oh, drawer, what treasures you hold

Buried in sand, dirt or clay

To be scooped out every day

I can smell the scent

Of a present

Left by my cat, the cunning fox

In the drawer of her litter box

Writing 201: Fingers

Writing 201: Fingers

Thick, short, cold fingers digging in the thin, soft, warm skin. Digging, ripping, tearing like claws, knives, forks. The flesh splitting, yielding, giving in – unfeeling, uncaring, dead meat. This is him eating his chicken meal.

Writing 201: Hero(ine)

Writing 201: Hero(ine)

A hero began

As everyman


Everyman grew up

Everyman broke up

Everyman sobered up


Becoming bitter and brave

Daring to kill the ill

The ill that never will

Live again good and brave


A hero became

A hero went and




Everyman ends

As a hero

Writing 201: Poetry Potluck

Writing 201: Poetry Potluck

I am ill.
I have taken a pill to kill

The thin
Papery feeling.

–Sylvia Plath, “Cut”

If I am asked to share one poem, which happens to be the weekend assignment for Writing 201, I cannot but come up with lines that have in them darkness, originality and – women’s emancipation (or suppression). The quote above is to me one of the best lines in poetry of all times: the rhymes, rhythm, structure, word choice, all converge to create an emotionally powerful yet also intellectually sound and artistically well-crafted piece of work.

Sylvia Plath, “Cut”

What a thrill–
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of a hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Little pilgrim,
The Indian’s axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Carpet rolls

Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz.

A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.

Whose side are they on?
O my
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to kill

The thin
Papery feeling.
Kamikaze man–

The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux Klan
Darkens and tarnishes and when

The balled
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence

How you jump–
Trepanned veteran,
Dirty girl,
Thumb stump.

Writing 201: Fog

Writing 201: Fog

Lying low in the fields

Is morning mist


The thick and sticky mist

Smothers and conceals


Rotten apples, dead hares

Lives lost to the mist

Writing 201: Animal

Writing 201: Animal

Schrödinger’s cat:
Is she live
or dead?
Is she
a he?

out of the box.

Writing 201: Trust

Writing 201: Trust

A belated confession

Distrust emerged



Already bugging


Dead end




Writing 201: Journey

Writing 201: Journey

There was a doctor in Patagonia

Who pursued a treatment of pneumonia

She sipped soda and Scotch

Which cleared her lungs top-notch

And got her a new liver from Armenia