Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

Collage cover of book print, a cut-out picture of two sea-faring figures etc. Yellow letteringmend, Catherine Eunson

Self-published, 2020

Lines for thoughtful eyes and the future too

Catherine Eunson has produced a pocketbook of twenty poems in English and Scots dedicated to ‘thoughtful eyes / & the future too’. She focuses on Glasgow-based vignettes of everyday observation, e.g., of a washing line, a morning cuppa, an owl above a hay field, a February daily diary. The title poem can be found on the Fife Contemporary Art Resolve to Make it New exhibition.

Towards the middle of this wee pamphlet the reader comes to a few Scots pieces full of energy and music.

In ‘Fie the bus’ (‘From the bus’) the narrator muses in Scots on the view of a tractor working a Mearns field of turnips (neeps) in the North East of Scotland. The lines celebrate plovers, sheep, gulls, and the flavours of winter.

‘Ondine at the Birks’ references, in a playful way, the water sprite of that name and Burns’ poem ‘The Birks (Birches) of Aberfeldie’. Ondine asks the narrator to wear a ‘bonnie scarf’ ‘for Rabbie’s sake’ who replies, ‘I’d rather keep my life lass / and baith feet dry!’

Westron wynde when wyll thow blow?’ also refers to an old and, this time, anonymous poem, venting frustration at the grounding of a plane:

The sma rain doon can fairly raine
file is dool mirk scugs oor pane
Spier at the oracle — fan’ll stap?
Cortana, quine, ony notion?

The booklet is intended as a diary of rural and island life across the year 2020, a particular year worthy of recording. Light, insightful cameos in musical, muscular language.

Maggie Mackay