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Volume 7 – Issue 4 – Poems – Alexander Hutchison – Scottish Review of Books
by Alexander Hutchinson

Volume 7 – Issue 4 – Poems – Alexander Hutchison

November 12, 2011 | by Alexander Hutchinson



Unlucky in the locations;
maybe in the weather too.

‘What we pursue is matter
and moisture; what satisfies
or implicates us thoroughly
however is mostly wispy
nonsense to describe’.

He got to the point where
his heart just couldn’t take
another butter biscuit; nor
his cortex another insult like
the one dished up before.


‘Circle back or head on
anyway; anyhow you are
free to go. Thunder and rain,
the voice of pardon. Cracking
on and cracking open’.

Rumour, misunderstanding:
it’s easy to take offence.
Outside, not a breath
of wind; but the birds
on the go very early.

Forgiveness brings release.


Just because something is
going round is no good reason
for you to catch it.

Have a cup of tea and put your
own dishes in the sink. Give them
a quick rinse then get some music on.
Don’t bother with anyone else’s.

That piece for clarinet is perfectly
consoling. But don’t be tempted
to wallow. Judge for yourself.

If fingers wag, let them.


Scattered like stars on the ground
what we share is not an accident.

Even when we like the same things
doesn’t make an alliance between us.

‘Love binds; fear bonds.
Many pretend and dissimulate’.

If a little bit of light shows round
the edge of the door, that’s okay.

You might have the sense of something
or somebody coming close to look over
your shoulder. You’ll hear it when it comes.
Otherwise there’s no need to stir.


I’ll bring the scraper,
you bring the trowel and struts.

It’s got to be cleared out properly.
Might as well be this afternoon.

We should start in front of the town
if not right opposite the gate.

It will take some time to get inside.


‘Force of cunning in
the face of strength’:

out of that dark
coil – something.

Better to come
half-way: I would.

Bickering is not
the best – even if
you are bound to.

‘Ca canny: a good start
brings an end quicker’.
How often have we
had to listen to that?

But watch your tail in
the water, and watch what
you do with your feet.


‘I wish I was really brave.
Perhaps I have changed now,
but I doubt it. I wish I had
something beyond hesitation:
heedless, unwavering’.

‘Maybe I’m not as bad as once
I was. Children change things.
But it demeans me: all the rest
of virtue falls away without it’.

Confidence in doing things,
willingness to take a risk or two,
to speak one’s mind, or being
prepared to take the blame,
is not the same as being
prepared to take a blow.


Jackets off, tops too.
What’s to stop us?

Going at it ding dong.
Fire and water.

Save your claws
and teeth right now,
but I don’t doubt
you’ll need them.

There’s a metal post
with a pointed end, if
you want to drive
up some sparks.


‘Strong and gentle, joy
takes all things forward’.

The breeze is lifting the edge
of the curtains where the window
is slightly ajar. I can hear it moving
already, stirring in the trees.

Well, a dip when the haze is not
yet off the surface of the lochan
could be the best time to begin.

‘Practice makes perfect,
and use makes master’.

Though seduction on
a daily basis (real or
imagined) is not what
I wish to describe.


My shirt is on the bushes;
my towel is under a stone.

Just say the word
and I’ll follow you in.


Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur…

All that skill and beauty ruined;
all that life and courage gone.
Horses, riders, women, children
torn apart and trampled on.

Mothers, sisters blown to pieces,
fathers, sons brought down in flame.
Lies and misery supported;
no one found to share the blame.

Athens, Egypt, Indonesia –
anywhere you look you’ll see.
Bush meat out of Congo pygmies.
Truth and Justice turn and flee.

Spout ‘new order’, sell more bagpipes,
tell them you’re ‘restoring calm’.
Profit, death, ‘material interest’.
Guaranteed. Who gives a damn?

If you’re not a friend then fuck you.
(Even then you take a chance.)
We like Netanyahu don’t we?
Toi, toi, toi, et Allez, France!

Everywhere dissent discouraged;
Freedom’s flag is soon pulled down.
Fairest fields are lying waste now.
‘Friendly fire’ has torched the town.

All that skill and beauty ruined;
all that life and courage gone.
Horses, riders, women, children
torn apart and trampled on.

The epigraph of ‘In the Shadow of the Acropolis’ is taken from Schiller’s poem which provides lyrics to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. It translates: ‘All creatures drink Joy from the breasts of Nature’.


From this Issue

The Real MacLean

by Christopher Whyte

Beebus Scotticus

by Kenneth Roy

Nights At The Boovies

by Colin Waters

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