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Blog Gaelic Musings Poetry

National Poetry Day 2020: Vision

Today is National Poetry Day 2020 and the theme this year is “Vision”. I thought that this would be a very timely opportunity for me to share with you a poem which is called “A Vision” (a nod to W. B. Yeats) that I wrote quite a few years ago now and was included on my Kyberpoetica album. There is a page in the poetry section of my website where you can find the full text, however if you would also like to listen to the album track it can be found on the main streaming platforms like Spotify or on my Bandcamp page.

I was also very fortunate to have had the poem translated into Scots Gaelic by the renowned poet Angus Peter Campbell and I recorded this as a track which features me reciting the poem and playing the clàrsach. I made a video to accompany the track which was kindly shared by Lesley Traynor at a live film-poem event and which you can see below.

Taisbean by Drew McNaughton (trans. Angus Peter Campbell)

I released this along with a few other spoken word tracks that I produced on the Taisbean EP. The cover art, which is featured at the top of this post and depicts the opening image of the poem in her own inimitable style, was created by Anna Oberfeld. I also have to thank Wee Studio on the Isle of Lewis for mastering the track, Sinclair Farrell for playing it on his Poets and Poetry Radio Show and Marcas Mac an Tuairneir for including it in Issue 6 of The Poets’ Republic.

Have a great National Poetry Day everyone and if you want please browse the rest of my poetry.

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Blog Mental Health Musings Poetry

Mental Health Awareness Week

As it’s the start of Mental Health Awareness Week I thought I would share this poem I wrote earlier this year. 2020 has been a challenging year hasn’t it.

Threshold

At the threshold of sleep
Falling asleep and waking
I encounter the biggest challenge.

To step over that threshold
Is like a giant leap for mankind
Not a small step of ease.

But the threshold serves a purpose
To contain the scattered grains
Which are beaten loose on the threshing floor

Just like the thoughts in my mind
Which are sent flying by the hard blows
And I am grateful that they are contained.

To take a step, even ever so slight,
Upwards and lift one’s foot
Is a great action indeed.

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Blog Music Musings Nature Poetry

Fundraising for a New Album

After seeing one of my friends post a fundraiser today I was inspired to do one myself. I have been really wanting to do a new album of poetry and music for a long time and just recently I started thinking about it again. I have definitely written enough poetry to do one and I want it to be on the theme of Nature and the environment. As you can see from other poems I’ve posted on this website this has been on my mind a lot. and I also thought of a name for the album which I won’t share just yet but I will refer to it just now as “AM”.

So if you would like to contribute to the AM Spoken Word Album project I’ve included the link below. I hope to get other funding but any money raised just now will help to show potential funders that there is a demand for it. If I can get the funding then I will hopefully even be able to get other musicians to collaborate on the project as well, but any money that comes from this particular fundraiser, whether I get other funding or not, will be kept aside specifically for this project.

If your donation is £10 or more you will get a download code for the finished album via Bandcamp (you can also hear my other work on Bandcamp just now). The album will also be available on other streaming platforms as well just as is my first album “Kyberpoetica“.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for your generosity!

Categories
Blog Musings Nature Poetry

Butterfly Poem

As we are having to stay indoors right now which is a bit like being in a cocoon I thought I would share this poem I wrote which was very beautifully illustrated and written in calligraphy by Anna Dorward. You can have a look at Anna’s Etsy page where you will find a lot more of her work if you like.

I wrote a poem on a butterfly theme called “Aurelian Waves of Time” which you can also check out that I included as part of my Kyberpoetica project. Stay safe and healthy and well!

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Blog Mental Health Musings Philosophy Poetry

Shocks to the System

Poetry is beautiful and I couldn’t live without it. Sometimes though it feels like an isolating pursuit because generally I tend to read and meditate on poetry in solitude, particularly when I’m getting to grips with the subtleties of Gaelic poetry which I have to look up in the dictionary. It can feel doubly isolating when you feel as if you have been ostracised by your peers, not in all circumstances but in certain aspects. Yes, poetry can be a social activity and there are plenty of events happening in the literary world which one can go to, if there is the opportunity, unhampered by responsibilities or financial constraints.

Isolation is a state which causes vulnerability to the knocks which life can sometimes hit you with. Shocks to the system are best handled when you have a nurturing and supportive network of relationships such as family, friends and colleagues, in short, a community. And community is really important, perhaps even as important as poetry.

Philosophy Brings Strength

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Poetry

National Poetry Day 2019 – Truth

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme for 2019 is Truth. So I’m sharing a poem which I wrote quite a few years ago but I feel it is still relevant.

The Epidemiology of Pathological Lying

Dedicated to Hygeia
Lying is a social disease
And every promise broken,
Every word not kept
Wears down your resistance.

Like a virus tearing through people
The infection spreads as one by one
They lose their heads and could
Care less if what they say
Is what they do,

Until cunning and deceitfulness
Are viewed as admirable traits
And promises and trust
Are worth no more than dust.

The only sure cure,
The only regimen to remedy
This insanitary state is
The Truth, plain and simple.
Categories
Musings Nature Philosophy Poetry

You Are Close to Nature Wherever You Are

Regardless of where you may find yourself you are always close to nature. Even if you are in a big city or some industrial landscape, nature herself is inescapable because wherever you go you take nature with you. The great winds of the sky blow through your lungs into your body and they dwell inside you. The seas, rivers and streams are always circulating inside your arteries and veins. The rocks and mountains are in your bones and the soil that rests upon them in your flesh. The fires that light up the dark nights or even propel the cars around us are burning deep within our cells driving the life force within, just as the electricity in power cables can be found in our own nerves and brain.

In one of W. B. Yeats’ most popular poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, he concludes:

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

W. B. Yeats, whose poetry is full of the hermetic mysteries, knew of the Macrocosm and Microcosm and that the external world of nature was also reflected in the inner world of the “deep heart’s core”. So if we are to live in harmony with nature we must also live in harmony within ourselves as the natural forces inside us which we sense internally are also just as prone to moving out of harmony and out of balance as the Earth’s systems. By listening to the voice of our inner nature we may learn by extension to live harmoniously with the nature surrounding us even in the least “natural” of environments, such as a city with its built landscape, noise, bustle and pollution. It might be difficult however it would do us all good if we could stop and listen for the quiet sounds of nature within the “deep heart’s core” every now and then.

Categories
Blog Musings Poetry Uncategorized

Disappointment and Hope

Today I got an email telling me that I had not had some of my work accepted for publication, this was after also hearing nothing back from a poetry competition I entered. I had been hoping that I might have had some success at either or both of these and it is disappointing to find out otherwise I must be honest. Last night I also wrote a rather long piece which I thought I might post on here about the Edinburgh Poetry scene but I haven’t typed it up yet and I’m still debating whether or not to do so. However I also am very aware that there are things happening around me which are very much bigger than just a couple of rejections. The court case in Edinburgh this morning in which three Court of Session judges ruled that the government, and Boris Johnson specifically, acted illegally in dispersing the parliament through the formal process of prorogation took me by surprise as I was at the hearing last week in which a judge found in Johnson’s favour. I wish I had known this was going on or I would have tried to get into hear that one as well. Sitting in the Scottish Poetry Library when I heard the news, I decided to get up and go down the road to Holyrood to see if there was anything going on there. I couldn’t see anything specific but I’m sure that the news must have been on a lot of peoples’ lips throughout the building. With historic events such as these going on in the vicinity I’m not sure that my disappointments are really of much consequence. And besides now I know that my poems are no longer being considered I can publish them on my website.