Sunday, December 26, 2010

Edwin Morgan's Trio A Christmas Poem

This black and white photo of Buchanan Street, Glasgow was taken on December 3rd this year by Andrew Kelly. I love this life affirming poem set in Buchanan Street, written by Edwin Morgan who died this year. When I read this poem it always takes me back to being a teenager in Glasgow. Bittersweet memories.

Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening

a young man and two girls, under the Christmas lights -

The young man carries a new guitar in his arms,

the girl on the inside carries a very young baby,

and the girl on the outside carries a chihuahua.

And the three of them are laughing, their breathe rises

in a cloud of happiness, and as they pass

the boy says, "Wait till he sees this but!"

The chihuahua has a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot-


the baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth like

favours in a fresh sweet cake,

the guitar swells out under its milky plastic cover, tied at the neck

with silver tinsel tape and a brisk sprig of mistletoe.

Orphean sprig! Melting Baby! Warm chihuahua!

The vale of tears is powerless before you.

Whether Christ is born, or is not born, you

put paid to fate, it abdicates

under the Christmas lights.

Monsters of the year

go blank, are scattered back,

can't bear this march of three.

And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd

(yet not vanished, for in their arms they wind

the life of men and beasts, and music,

laughter ringing them round like a guard)

at the end of this winter's day


mangocheeks said...

Hi Marian.
I just live on the outskirts of Glasgow and recognise this image being so true.

Happy holidays.

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

What a beautiful poem! I especially love this line

"The vale of tears is powerless before you."

So perfect the way it captures youth, energy, life.

Best to you for a happy new year!

Beatnheart said...

Thank you so much for your visit and comment. It meant alot to me and doesn’t it help when you find someone who relates to how you feel. Happy New year new friend. all the very best, Cynthia

Louise | Italy said...

What a gorgeous life-affirming poem. And Christmas is like that - in the face of the child-like joy some people have, the evils of the world are powerless! Love it.