Saturday, 30 April 2011

The one where he brings poetry month to a close with a poem ...

I want to bring poetry month to a close with – guess what – a poem. Predictable, no?

But which one? And by which poet?

Then I decided that it should be one of my own. (Because frankly, dear reader, it’s all about me.)

But which one? So many to choose from.

It needs to have already been published – so if anyone “steals” it the impact is minimal. (Who am I kidding? Impact. We’re talking about poetry, dude.)

Do we want funny? Moving? Sweet? (Scratch that. I don’t do sweet.) Hard-hitting? Thought-provoking? Political? Or one about a royal wedding?

Just messing with you. Don’t do weddings either.

Then this poem popped into my head. Probably because I visited the source of it yesterday with the wee fella and the pup.

The photograph is of a sculpture made by one of Scotland’s best kept secrets – the super talented Ronnie Rae. Go HERE  for more details.

Ronnie was opening an exhibition in the gardens of Holyrood in Edinburgh in May 2006 – right by the palace and the Scottish Parliament building. All sorts of dignitaries were in attendance and Ronnie asked the Makar Press Poets (Sheila Templeton, Rowena M. Love, Jim Hughes and moi) to mark the occasion with a few poems.

He has some pieces on permanent exhibition in Rozelle Park, Ayr just a couple of miles from my home. So I dragged the wee fella along for a visit. (He was totally unimpressed. Thought his dad was a weirdo, staring at a clump of hewn stone.) He was eight-ish at the time and said those immortal words "I can't believe you are actually my dad."

The picture above shows one of the pieces and the one that got the words flowing for me. It’s called Golgotha Madonna and the statue allowed me to shift away from a lifetime of hyperbole and brainwashing and ceremony and think about the human story. This was a real-life woman whose only son was being horribly punished – tortured and crucified. As a parent, you can’t begin to imagine the pain she was in.

Like with anything else in life you are rarely aware of the impact you have. Until the kind and the brave point it out to you. Jim Hughes had a quiet word in my ear after the event. "This poem,’ he said, "Really moved me. I sat in the quiet and thought about your words and Jesus’ mother in Golgotha and I don’t mind telling you I couldn't stop crying."

That’s the power of poetry, people.

Anywho, time to let the words speak for themselves and to thank you for allowing me this indulgence throughout the poetry month of April. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Golgotha Madonna

Her head shelters under the bridge
of a concrete arm.
Lower limbs crushed in silent squat
as if
the simple act of standing
would push up the sky,
make the stars fall
and drown in our oceans.
As if
the simple act of standing
would colour the world
gray with lack.

As if
all she needs
is my touch.
My blessing.


  1. I'm not into Madonna (the religious one and the pop one :) ) but I loved some of the lines in your poem.
    Do you ever use rhymes? I've noticed that most poets nowadays don't use them :(

  2. I'm not into either one either. With this piece I was working to get away from the religiousity (if that's not a word it should be) and concentrate on the human being.

    Rhyme - not so much. Too inhibiting. All other facets of poetry tend to get brushed aside in that search for the end note of the rhyme.