copyright 2012 Marceline Donaldson
We experienced a wonderful, brief, impromptu concert of troubador harp music by daughter accompanying her mother’s poetry recitation. It was a magical time. We thought we would share with you a small glimpse of Valerie Gillies’ poetry. She has several books of poetry, if you are interested and would like to read and know more about her work. “Her poems are rooted in an elemental world, and take from nature a lightness as well as a terrestrial substance. At the technical level her experiments with the musical dimension of poetry increase its diversity and resonance: she sees message and form as indivisible.”
They were in Cambridge for a Celtic Conference which brings in the most interesting, talented and gracious people. We look forward to their arrival every year.
copyright 2012 Valerie Gillies
Tune: “Logan Water”
“Fruid Water, furthest of all from the sea,
yours is the voice that means far more to me
than the salty wave flowing up the beach
of a great stretch of ocean I may never reach.
Little I care for foaming breakfers on the shore
or the surface calm that moves so much slower
if I hear your notes that are sweeter than the surf
of all the different waters of the earth.
I don’t need to see the whale or sea-wrack,
the flight of the gannet, the diving of the shag,
I long to watch your trout or your owl flying low,
on your banks I hear the sudden hooves of the roe.
Each of us finds that you can quench our thirst,
stream and surrounding terrain belong together from the first.
In the face of the light you become, through your quality,
like an eye reflecting us in transparency.
Huge masses of water roll in the oceans,
deep currents circulate, of gigantic proportions,
but where you flow freely and trickle over stones
you play with waves in rhythm, vibrate and sing along.
Out of vapour you have come back to liquid,
you return in your course every time to Fruid.
Evaporting, loop with air currents and precipitate:
between earth and heaven you mediate.
Your moving form issuing from the hills
twists in strands of water changed like turning veils;
they make a rope that spirals down the glen,
new water falling through it to refresh men.
I can tell by the current as it swirls along
where it comes from, what rocks cause its tensions,
and I praise your wave shape through which the water flows,
for they remain the same, and rarely go.
From “The Chanter’s Tune” a book of poetry by Valerie Gillies Published by Canongate Publishing Limited Edinburgh Scotland
Republished here with permission of the author/poet
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