Introducing the April 2010 Readers – 2. Andrew Greig

Andrew Greig has published seven collections of poetry, and a lot of people seem to enjoy them. His latest is This Life, This Life: New & Selected Poems 1970-2006. A frustrated singer-songwriter, for him live readings are the true occasions of poems.

First light, Edinburgh

Propped in bed watching
dawn decant on the city,
I look at the book then back at the sky.

Though the book does not claim to be
the word of God,
I do not defend myself when it speaks to me.
Though this tea is brown and tannin-dry
it clears the windows of the eyes
as though they really open on a soul.
Though this oatcake contains no sugar
it bears honey to my lips.
Though the woman singing in the kitchen is but five foot one
and breakfast is solo foraging in this house,
she contains all that is dear and she feeds me.


May the sky like a gleaming ewer
daily tip and pour its liquor in.
May the plug of the heart pop out,
let it all flow back again.
Now sky, book, tea, oatcake
refloat this city’s battered hulk
as though it were sea-worthy,
as though we had some place to go,
our sails filling with the least
puff of the world.

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