Happy Saint Andrew’s Day

And so one of the Scottish national emblems – the thistle – for the day of our patron saint who also gave us the form of our flag, the Saltire, the oldest national flag still in use, an insignia of Scottishness for over a thousand years. And since it is Saint Andrew’s Day let’s have some Scottish poetry – this one is by the poet and novelist Andrew Greig, who I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a drink and a natter with on a few occasions over the years:

As your lover on waking recounts her dreams,
unruly, striking, unfathomable as herself,
your attention wanders
to her moving lips, throat, those slim shoulders
draped in a shawl of light, and what’s being christened here
is not what is said but who is saying it,
the overwhelming fact
she lives and breathes beside you another day.

Other folks’ golf shots being even less interesting
than their dreams, I’ll be brief:
as she spoke I thought of a putt yesterday at the 4th,
as many feet from the pin as I am years from my birth,
several more than I am from my death –
one stiff clip, it birled across the green,
curved up the rise, swung down the dip
like a miniature planet heading home,

and the strangest thing is not what’s going to happen
but your dazed, incredulous knowing it will,
long before the ball reaches the cup then drops,
that it’s turned out right after all,
like waking one morning to find yourself
unerringly in love with your wife.

“A Long Shot”, by Andrew Greig, borrowed from the website of the Scottish Poetry Library (based here in Edinburgh), where you can enjoy a good browse at plenty of verse from Scottish writers.

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