Duncan Glen - Thinking of Hugh MacDiarmid


There is a sadness in the rustle of the trees
in this anglicised Edinburgh. But see there
oot o the settin sun
into these daurk and humdrum days
slots a sleekit ferlie,
ilka makar haein his ain laugh.
There, and here, a language,
fire-flaucht, handsel agin drivin wunds.
The sicht transmorgified thistle
atap lang lang curve
o mornin's clear blue horizon
The clypie voices jabberin
jabberin, jabbering agin themsels,
stilled to quait
- at least for a shairp intak o braith.
Oot this double windae mony northern lichts to be seen.
Bein faur owre the measurt horizon they canna be pit oot
- at least until the Tuesday efter next's week's eternity...
See oot there an epic whigmaleerie walks doon the street,
and a gallimaufry o soond at its tail.
the haill warld's aclaitter wi the joy o bein


  • fire-flaucht, a flash of lightning
  • stots, bounces
  • sleekit ferlie, sly manifestration, wonder
  • ilka makar, every poet
  • handsel, a gift for luck, a good omen
  • clypie, tell-tale
  • jabberin, chattering
  • quait, quiet
  • windae, window
  • faur owre, far over
  • whigmaleerie, fantastic ornament without monetary value
  • gallimaufry, heterogeneous mixture or medley

About Duncan Glen

Professor Duncan Glen was a poet, literary editor and academic who has published a number of poetry collections under his Akros imprint, which grew out of the Akros magazine he once edited. Akros has also published a number of histories of Glen's home town, Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire. Our selected poem comes from his 2006 collection, Collected Poems, 1965-2005.

Collected Poems

Collected Poems - Duncan Glen

Internet Links