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Poetry - 26th April 2010

Lesley Duncan
26 Apr 2010

Edwin Morgan, Scotland's national poet, celebrates his 90th birthday tomorrow. In this poem, written a decade ago, he confronts looming old age in indomitable style. The piece was published originally in Unknown Is Best (Mariscat Press/Scottish Poetry Library).
Edwin Morgan, Scotland's national poet, celebrates his 90th birthday tomorrow. In this poem, written a decade ago, he confronts looming old age in indomitable style. The piece was published originally in Unknown Is Best (Mariscat Press/Scottish Poetry Library). In spite of health problems, Professor Morgan continues to be creative and indeed a new collection of his poetry, entitled Dreams and Other Nightmares (Mariscat Press, £9), will be launched tomorrow at his birthday celebrations. His many admirers will wish him a very happy day. - Lesley Duncan

 

AT EIGHTY

Push the boat out, companeros,
Push the boat out, whatever the sea.
Who says we cannot guide ourselves
through the boiling reefs, black as they are,
the enemy of us all makes sure of it!
Mariners, keep good watch always
for that last passage of blue water
we have heard of and long to reach
(no matter if we cannot, no matter!)
in our eighty-year-old timbers
leaky and patched as they are but sweet,
well seasoned with the scent of woods
long perished, serviceable still
in unarrested pungency
of salt and blistering sunlight. Out,
push it all out into the unknown!
Unknown is best, it beckons best,
like distant ships in mist, or bells
clanging ruthless from stormy buoys.

 

 

 

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