Morgan, Edwin

Scotland, (1920-2010)

An Alphabet of Goddesses

  1. Circe
  3. She thought she could live on the capital of weather-hard Odysseus
  4. having stacked his shield and spear at her door
  5. and scampered in her bed that long time,
  6. but now she has grown old there seem to be
  7. no sunny days on her alder-dark island,
  8. no fleets of sailors to entice ashore,
  9. nothing but to chatter to herself by the stove.
  10. What should a scrawny black marmoset
  11. hold up her breasts to—men, mirrors, thunder?
  12. She has got rid of all her mirrors,
  13. and her best men are hogs that root among the thickets,
  14. no longer able to rise on their hind-legs
  15. and snout her with all they remembered of a kiss.
  16. She remembers much, but it is going.
  17. Her scrag-tail droops, her spells falter.
  18. —Then she pulls on her black stockings, right up,
  19. and screeches as she scrapes a nail
  20. along the nylon like a welder’s spark,
  21. and pins on her old sphinx headdress from Cairo
  22. with its mortal colours, immortal desires.

© Edwin Morgan. Selected Poems. Manchester: Carcanet Press Ltd., (1985).

About the Poet

Edwin George Morgan (1920-2010) was a Scottish poet and translator who was associated with the Scottish Renaissance. He is widely recognised as one of the foremost Scottish poets of the 20th century.

Morgan was announced Glasgow’s first Poet Laureate in 1999, and was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2000. In June 2001 he received the prestigious Weidenfeld Prize for Translation, the winning book being his translation of Racine’s Phèdre into Scots. In 2004, he was named as the first Scottish national poet: The Scots Makar. [adapted from and, DES-11/10]

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