From Moonrise till Dawn Læseprøve

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From Moonrise till Dawn. A Cycle of Poetry and Songs

© Duncan Gillies MacLaurin, NordØsten Forlag  NordOsten Books 2013

ISBN 978-87-91493-39-3


Cover image: “Night Adventure”, 1993, a water colour by Julia MacLaurin


Typeface: Verdana


NordØsten  NordOsten Books’ License Statement: This ebook is licensed for your personal reading as a printout or read on an ebook reader, tablet or PC. If you would like another person to have this book, please purchase an additional copy. Thank you for respecting the work of the author, translator and publisher.


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Mais les vrais voyageurs sont ceux-là seuls qui partent

Pour partir; cœurs lègers, semblables aux ballons,

De leur fatalité jamais ils ne s’écartent,

Et, sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!


True travellers are those alone who leave

For leaving’s sake; their hearts, as light as dust,

Will never swerve from what the three Fates weave.

Don't ask them why. Just call it wanderlust.

Charles Baudelaire, “Le Voyage”

 


Contents


Dedication


Moonrise

The Four Elements

  I Earth

  II Water

  III Air

  IV Fire

Animation

  I Hedgehog

  II Cat

  III Sparrow

  IV Frog

Psyche

  I Thunderstruck

  II Corrine

  III The Birds and the Bees

  IV The Fringe, 1980

Music

  I Busker

  II Vagabond

  III Poet

  IV Lunatic

Mythologies

  I The Bard That Sang Stromness

  II The Coronation of the Moon

  III Naucrate and the Partridge

  IV A Giraffe among Jackals

Fascination

  I The Wanderer

  II The Dipsomaniac

  III The Balladeer

  IV Smoke

Muses

  I My Muse

  II A Mademoiselle

  III The Highways and the Byways

  IV My Secret Garden


Sunset

Busking in Italy

The Sweetest Duet

First Perugia, then Assisi

Red Moon

Two of a Kind

Lost in Your Eyes

Trust

Twilight

Revelation

A Slice of Lemon

On Sören Jessen’s Sand

Amber Moon

On the Quiet

Like the Stars

Faith


Dusk

Paradise

Bags of Time

On Fanö

Gold Moon

  I On the Sand

  II By the Sea

  III In the Sky

  IV With the Sun

On Esperance Bay

Celebration

Hope


Midnight

With You

Liberation

On Hjerting Strand

Silver Moon

On Our Silver Anniversary

Inspiration

Grace


Cock-crow I

Disabled Muse

A Long Lie

The Big Smoke

Blue Moon I

  I Coffin Grey

  II Just Rain

  III Table for Two

  IV The Real Pity

The Big Picture

On Paper

Deceit


Cock-crow II

Remorse

The Light in Your Window

Promises

Blue Moon II

  I Cupid

  II My Naked Heart

  III Yesterday Girl

  IV Without You

Dismay

Streets of Gold

Regret


Cock-crow III

Disgrace

Lucky Loot

Horror Vacui

Blue Moon III

  I Prison Song

  II Necrophobia

  III Black Cloud

  IV The Whisperings Within

Dunderhead

This Terrible Taboo

Despair


Dawn

Defiance

  I The Tyrant

  II I Sing the Sonnet

  III No Bloody Way!

  IV The Magic Garden

Self-portraits

  I Mama’s Little Boy

  II Friday, 13th June

  III Mum’s the Word

  IV On Papsie’s 89th Birthday

Portraits

  I Misfit

  II Cripple

  III Lisa Leaving

  IV Still Life

L’Homme Révolté

  I Child

  II Teenager

  III Teacher

  IV Torch-bearer

Expanding Notes

  I Presence

  II Persuasion

  III Precision

  IV Prescience

Looking for Gold

  I To a Promising Teacher Candidate

  II The Acrosticist

  III The Lessons Learned from Vietnam

  IV Sitting Smoking

Futures Unknown

  I Will

  II Heart

  III Mind

  IV Soul

Meditation


Listen to the pieces being performed

Acknowledgements

Accolades for Duncan Gillies MacLaurin

About Duncan Gillies MacLaurin

Links to NordØsten  NordOsten Books

Notes

 


Dedication


to Ann Bilde


At twenty-four I felt the draw

of your magnetic field.

Inviting me across the sea,

you’d be a catalyst

for eloquence, your bold defence

of common sense your shield.

At twenty-four I felt the draw

of your magnetic field

was warm and kind. And soon I’d find

your open mind concealed

a one-time twin; you welcomed in

this skinny Latinist.

At twenty-four I felt the draw

of your magnetic field

inviting me across the sea.

You’d be a catalyst.


 

Moonrise


The sun must be tucked in by twilight

to be up with the lark, while the moon

can retire anytime around midnight

and resurface the next afternoon.

 

The Four Elements


i) Earth

Danger wears a bloody mask

that hides a lovely garden.


ii) Water

Arrive in any town you like,

your feet will find a river.


iii) Air

Spineless waves, rolling ashore,

this is the oak you kneel before

and fawn upon. How feeble you are,

ruled by the moon, not even a star!


iv) Fire

Stupid old oak, to think you’d endure

in aeternum! Are you still sure

giants are strong and waves have no spine

now you can’t boast the ghost of a sign?

 


Animation


i) Hedgehog


for Niels Holm Olsen


Why go to work in winter

when it’s time to go to sleep?

Why wrestle with a splinter

when it’s penetrated deep?

Why aggravate a giant

when it’s guaranteed to fall?

I envy the defiant

hedgehog curled up in a ball.


Why hesitate to tarry

in the shelter of the trees?

Why volunteer to carry

more and buckle at the knees?

Why strive to be compliant

when the benefits are small?

I envy the defiant

hedgehog curled up in a ball.


I’d like to be the master

of my individual fate.

If only I were faster,

not forever running late,

I’d soon be self-reliant,

not at people’s beck and call.

I envy the defiant

hedgehog curled up in a ball.


Why pay to feed an army

whose endeavours you despise?

Why risk becoming barmy

chasing one more stupid prize?

Why argue with a client

over nothing much at all?

I envy the defiant

hedgehog curled up in a ball.


Now all this endless bustle

leads to loneliness and stress;

it’s like a Willy Russell

play, or two in one big mess;

imagine Dr. Bryant

driving Shirley up the wall.

I envy the defiant

hedgehog curled up in a ball. 1 


ii) Cat

Oh dear, little cat,

you’re a little too fat,

unless you’re about to have kittens,

but no matter which,

that’s one hell of an itch

you’re trying to scratch with your mittens.


Do you think you could fly

like that bird in the sky

if no one was clipping your wings?

Or do you just wish

you could swim like that fish,

or dance like those butterfly things?


No, you won’t ever be

those creations you see,

not even if sometimes you catch them;

for a life that’s fulfilling,

you have to be willing

to carry nine lives and then hatch them. 2 


iii) Sparrow

The sparrow arrives from nowhere,

unscheduled,

a tiny bundle of

vibrant flesh and feathers

urgently looking about.


A fleeting wink from a questioning sparrow

is worth more than diamonds.

Sparrows, they have

a fielding-plan different

to trickling humanity.


Magic wants to spin through the world

in vast, spiralling streams

transforming dull hearts

into zithers and quivers

the colour of poetry.


Dream you are a jazz musician

learning to trust

yourself with song.

Imagine yourself

a sculptor of sound.


iv) Frog

the last piece of wood

stacked neatly with the others –

a frog sits naked

 


Psyche


i) Thunderstruck


After Sappho and Catullus


Him over there, is he Superman or what?

Truth is, poor old Superman’s out of his league.

How can he just sit there and watch you like that?

How can he listen


to that laughter of yours and not be transformed

into a zombie? Whenever I see you,

girl, it’s the same. The words I’ve been counting on

scatter in tatters;


my tongue turns to ice; a sliver of flame

seeps through my limbs; my ears tintinnabulate

with a sound all their own; and my eyes are twin

towers in darkness.


ii) Corrine

I met you, girl,

the day you turned sixteen.

I was caught in a whirl;

you were smiling and serene.

All of my senses suddenly fled;

how I wished I was somebody else instead!

I met you, girl,

the day you turned sixteen.


I guess that I ought to have seen

Love fixing his troublesome dart.

Although I was but seventeen,

I felt I’d been pierced through my heart.


Corrine, you were so pristine

I thought you were my fairy queen.

I loved you then; it wasn’t just

my imagination.

Corrine, you were just sixteen.

I wish I were still seventeen.


I guess that I ought to have seen

how gaily you wished me farewell.

Although I was but seventeen,

I thought I’d been sentenced to hell.


Corrine, you were so pristine

I thought you were my fairy queen.

I loved you then; it wasn’t just

my imagination.

Corrine, you were just sixteen.

I wish I were still seventeen.


I’d be lying in your arms all night;

I’d be flying to your charms all day.


I loved you then; it wasn’t just

my imagination.

Corrine, you were just sixteen.

I wish I were still seventeen.


I guess that I ought to have seen

my path could have led to your door.

Although I was but seventeen,

I’m not seventeen anymore.


Corrine, you were so pristine

I thought you were my fairy queen.

I loved you then; it wasn’t just

my imagination.

Corrine, you were just sixteen.

I wish I were still seventeen.


iii) The Birds and the Bees

The bed in my room’s

been the head of a tomb

since I met you,

a burial ground,

not the merry-go-round

it once was.

Too shy to protest,

I’ve been trying my best

to forget you,

but now I’m revealing

just how I’ve been feeling

because


I can’t understand

that you aren’t close at hand

or beside me;

you know we were made

for a slow serenade

cheek to cheek.

That we two will fit

you’ll soon see when you’re sitting

astride me

right after we’ve kissed.

I’d be daft to resist.

I’m too weak.


Your parents have sent you away

to Paris to study today.


My story’s been told

by balladeers of old

in measures much sweeter than these.

But just as the sun

is new to everyone,

so too are the birds and the bees.


You guided me through

a kaleidoscope view

of your garden;

my heart skipped a beat

when you started to eat

a red plum.

You turned with a smile.

My cheeks burned. You said: “I’ll

beg your pardon?”

For no reason at all

I was squeezing the ball

of my thumb.


Your parents have sent you away

to Paris to study today.


My story’s been told

by balladeers of old

in measures much sweeter than these.

But just as the sun

is new to everyone,

so too are the birds and the bees.


Even if I never come

to visit you in France,

I’ll still be here when you get back,

and then we’ll have a second chance.


Your parents have sent you away

to Paris to study today.


My story’s been told

by balladeers of old

in measures much sweeter than these.

But just as the sun

is new to everyone,

so too are the birds and the bees.


iv) The Fringe, 1980

We picked up my sister and Gail at the station –

“we” being me and my friend, Michael Boyd.

He needed a flatmate, the sooner the better,

and Gail had been looking for somewhere to stay,

so now they were meeting at my invitation.

Too dishy for words and enchanted with Freud,

she showed us her goldfish the minute we met her.

The general idea was to take in a play.


Politely informed that we wouldn’t be able

to get into Latin! Tobacco and Boys,

we ended up choosing my second suggestion,

a Hamlet so wretched we laughed till we cried.

This guy spent an hour assembling a table.

Not once did he speak, though he made lots of noise.

“To BE-e, or NOT to be: THAT is the QUEStion…,”

a speaker intoned, and our merriment died.


We no longer found our protagonist funny;

he simply dismantled the table he’d made.

The two other punters had long since defected,

but being good Scots we’d been taught if you’d hired

a seat you should keep it, or else you’d lose money.

The long and the short of it was that we stayed

to give our applause. It was then Gail inspected

her goldfish. “The bastard! It’s fucking expired!” 3 

 


Notes


1. Dr. Bryant is a lecturer of English who participates in the dialogue, Educating Rita, 1980, while Shirley delivers the monologue, Shirley Valentine, 1986. The film versions, 1983 & 1989, were both directed by Lewis Gilbert, and there are a number of parallel scenes.

2.This was inspired by “Dream”, 1995, a water colour by Julia MacLaurin (privately owned). here

3. This refers to the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh that takes place every August.



 






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