Alistair Paterson is a Scottish poet and creativity coach/trainer living and working in Ayr, Scotland. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies in the UK and continental Europe. He is the author of Quadrivium: Poems from Four Paths, and has collaborated on several artist book projects with French artists including Bertrand Bracaval and Robert Pillard-Valere.
anvil in the sky
and I resist Norse metaphor
that take you as far away
as close to the things they represent
to indulge the formation
in all its glory
and associate it
and all the while
through the pondering
there is the wonder of a storm in the making ...
The Bones Know
tide turns flooding The Rough Firth
then the saltflats
and boats float off the seabed
precision effect from exact causes
Earth and moon synchronised
true to the entry in the Solway Tide Timetable
and with the tiny tilts now in Earth’s axis –
realignments altering weather and other phenomena –
changes we see and feel
what of solar and galactic?
what changes wrought by butterfly wings
flapped here on the far out there
where we don’t see and don’t know what it is
that we at the same time feel in our bones –
and where we feel it to their marrow –
for they’re spun in cosmic dance
aligning countlessly at all times with every thing
as they turn on their bodies’ locomotion
and Earth spins?
ask the bones
what do they say?
listen to the bones
the bones know
The Promise of Poetry
(A poem should not mean, but be. Archibald McLeish)
after Rilke (1875-1926)
the question of the poet’s work is asked again –
Tell me poet, what do you do?
poetry should be made to breathe
and do so through the power of the aspirant pen
poetry should open because it has been turned over by the ink of the delving pen
poetry should song a voice on the paper of its page and upon the tongue of its sayer
poetry will wear out all that does not fit it.