Thursday, July 22, 2010


It was a day peculiar to this piece of the planet,
when larks rose on long thin strings of singing
and the air shifted with the shimmer of actual angels.
Greenness entered the body. The grasses
shivered with presences, and sunlight
stayed like a halo on hair and heather and hills.
Walking into town, I saw, in a radiant raincoat,
the woman from the fish-shop. 'What a day it is!'
cried I, like a sunstruck madman.
And what did she have to say for it?
Her brow grew bleak, her ancestors raged in their graves
as she spoke with their ancient misery:
'We'll pay for it, we'll pay for it, we'll pay for it!'

Alastair Reid


Kate said...

marvellous extract. thank you!

tpe said...

Very nearly perfect, Lottiep. I can't think why I've not come across this before (save for my own continued and vexing ignorance, I suppose). And I know I haven't come across it before, of course, because it would have stuck in my mind like a beautifully funny and painfully sharp beacon. Magic.


LottieP said...

I knew you'd like it, TPE. Many have tried to succinctly convey the Scottish psyche; few have succeeded. This does. It is always absolutely fresh every time I read it.