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Hugh MacDiarmid
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 13, 2005 08:26AM

I've been reading The Apeman Cometh by Adrian Mitchell and there's a good poem called To the Origanizers of a Poetry Reading by Hugh MacDairmid. So I tried looking him up and the only poem I can find online is in the Scottish dialect (which I'm afraid I don't appreciate - Burns is a closed book to me). I've found a fair bit of background information and read he wrote in English as well, in fact. I understand, mostly in English. Anyone know where I can find some samples, please (preferably less than 100 lines, I'm still digesting Auden's Letter to Lord Byron and thinking about actually reading the Waste Land!)

The Mitchell poem is fun:

"You chose the wrong place -
A neutral room with tawny blinds pulled down.
You pulled the wrong audience -
The gabbiest cultural bureaucrats in town.
You picked the wrong poet -
Too clever too daft too great for you to deserve his spittle
And you brought the wrong whisky
And you only bought him half a bottle".

Now you understand why I want to find some of this man's work!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2005 03:38AM by marian2.

Re: Hugh MacDiarmid
Posted by: ilza (
Date: June 13, 2005 09:33AM

Scotland Small?

Scotland small? Our multiform, our infinite Scotland small?
Only as a patch of hillside may be a cliche corner
To a fool who cries "Nothing but heather!" Where in September another
Sitting there and resting and gazing around
Sees not only heather but blaeberries
With bright green leaves and leaves already turned scarlet,
Hiding ripe blue berries; and amongst the sage-green leaves
Of the bog-myrtle the golden flowers of the tormentil shining;
And on the small bare places, where the little Blackface sheep
Found grazing, milkworts blue as summer skies;
And down in neglected peat-hags, not worked
In living memory, sphagnum moss in pastel shades
Of yellow, green and pink; sundew and butterwort
And nodding harebells vying in their colour
With the blue butterflies that poise themselves delicately upon them,
And stunted rowans with harsh dry leaves of glorious colour
"Nothing but heather!" -- How marvellously descriptive! And incomplete!

Hugh MacDiarmid was the pen name of Christopher Murray Grieve
(August 11, 1892 - September 9, 1978).

a photo
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in 2003 hundreds of lost poems/unknown works by MadDiarmid were found by a researcher (National Library of Scotland)

you can hear him :
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Re: Hugh MacDiarmid
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 13, 2005 10:05AM

Re: Hugh MacDiarmid
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 14, 2005 03:43AM

Thanks so much Ilza - it's a lovely poem - I shall have to go and find more. I gather his most famous one was something about A Drunken Scotsman Gazing at a Thistle.

Thanks, Hugh for the dialect one - it's short and clear enough for even me to follow!

Re: Hugh MacDiarmid
Posted by: ilza (
Date: June 14, 2005 07:02AM

one more :

Whisky Soft as a Candle's Flame
by Hugh MacDiarmid

Do you remember the orchard at Avrânches,
And the wine we drank in the sunshine?
- It was surely sunshine itself we drank
That day, and not just wine.

But now I am growing old and am glad to know
Here in Scotland we've still many a quiet town
Where the whisky is as soft as a candle's flame
And only slightly warmer going down.

· From The Revolutionary Art of the Future: Rediscovered poems by Hugh
MacDiarmid, published by Carcanet.

about the 'lost'poems :

[] />

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2005 07:06AM by ilza.

Re: Hugh MacDiarmid
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 17, 2005 01:34PM

Thanks Ilza - I really like that one. I must get to the library and find more

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