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last update:

21st Oct 11

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poetry favourites:
Scottish Poetry Library
Oversteps Books


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(Valentine’s Day – 2 versions)
“Giving a Damn”


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collection –
Oversteps Books




The Wrens’ House

     at Rubha nan Oirean, Mull
This has become the wrens’ house:
twenty of them converse in it,
hop among its still strong stones,
remains of walls that were hewn to last.
They cross its bracken-filled floor space
to explore new clefts. There’s sunshine,
a breeze, the sound of the sea nearby.
Nearby, too, the remains of a pier
where people left for good.
Consider the words of a woman named Mary:
It was necessary to depart.
The hiss of the fire
on the flag of the hearth,
as they were drowning it,
reached my heart…

How tiny a wren’s heart must be –
not much bigger than a berry,
and the human heart might shrink
round a great pain. In a world
of small survivors, injustice
large as oceans, rank as exile,
wrens keep house for the scattered dead.
They exist in the gaps that are left,
their voices undiminished –
troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes.

Joan McGavin

in collection, Flannelgraphs, 2011, Oversteps Books,
ISBN 978-1-906856-23-6;
published in anthology, Sixty Poems for Haiti, 2010, Cane Arrow Press,
ISBN 978-0-9562901-3-7