Tuesday 28 July 2009

The Lost Leader by Mick Imlah

I took Mick Imlah's last book of poetry The Lost Leader with me on our trip to Mull and the ensuing islands earlier in the year, thinking it would be perfect to dip into while we were up there. It was, but somehow I didn't have enough time to read it all. The first poem of the collection was one that I couldn't stop re-reading, it was entitled Muck. As it turns out, we're hoping to get to Muck in October as part of our next batch of islands in Scotland. The poem as a whole is so complete but these three verses and one line offer a flavour of what we might expect from Muck.

So we did go, in wash-tub coracles,

and hauled ashore for an hour or so, on a
black upturned platter of rock, stained
with sea-lichen and scummy pools
of barge flies and crab water.

No trees, then. No welcoming men
or women either. But out on a spur's end
we spotted a sham temple - being a few
upright poles fashioned from driftwood, which

when we straggled over to them, seemed,
without a text or rune to vent their purpose,
to have their say in fish.

Listen to the whole poem at The Poetry Archive

Interview at Oxford Poetry
Review at TLS

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