Introducing the June 2008 Readers: 3. Jim Carruth

Jim Carruth has been described as Scotland’s leading rural poet and activist. He was born in Johnstone in 1963 and grew up on his parents’ dairy farm. After spending a period in Turkey he returned to live in Renfrewshire. He is the chair of St Mungo’s Mirrorball, a network of Glasgow-based poets and is an outreach committee member for the StAnza poetry festival.

His first collection Bovine Pastoral was runner-up in the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award in 2004. This was followed by High Auchensale (Ludovic Press 2006) and Cowpit Yowe (Ludovic Press 2008).

He has also collaborated with lino-cut artist Barbara Robertson on the illustrated fable Baxter’s old ram sang the blues.

The Moleman’s Apprentice

surfaced one Friday night
at the village hall
and asked her to dance,
leading the way
through the crowded floor,
parting couples
who closed in tight
behind them.
All evening she stared
into his small eyes
felt his first beard
soft furred
against her face,
but now that’s not
what she remembers
nor his dirty long nails,
his spade-like hands,
his proud boasting
that in a first week
measured in pelts
he had plucked the dead
from their dark;
instead it’s the incident
near the end,
when some joker
flicked a switch
cut the power,
his shudder and scream
as the night snapped shut.

Taster number 1 Mike Stocks
Taster number 2 Eleanor Livingstone

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