Gerry Cambridge lived in a caravan in Ayrshire for over twenty years, and some of the poems in this rich collection reflect that. They’re full of wild weather and birds, natural landscapes and unforgettably individual human beings. But the poet’s evocation of the brash joyfulness of Glasgow, his adopted city, is just as striking.
Seven years since his widely read Notes for Lighting a Fire, this glittering new book promises something special.
—for Amit Majmudar
It took place in the night. Miles
up in the dark, out of untouchable height,
such a weight fell, such a vast whirl and chaos
while the folk slept, snug as spoons
in a drawer, under each heavy cover,
dreaming in cossetted warmth
of whatever. Then
it must have cleared, like a silent army going
tremendously away, leaving behind the wide
star-pricked sky and the moon’s
liberated shining. So
when I rose, blear-eyed,
dragged, reluctant, to the things of day
and the old wounds, and glanced out the door—
a heartleap! Way
into distance, all
across the Highland morning,
the singular peaks, incandescent in the light
that had lifted itself out of amber to gold to the pristinest
white in the eye.
And acknowledged only briefly—for already
the kettle was clicking off at my back—
summit on summit lit
out under blue to forever:
magnificent, and very cold.