John Bolland writes poetry, short fiction and novels in Scots and English. A graduate of Glasgow’s Creative Writing Master’s programme, his work has appeared in the London Magazine, Northwords Now, Pushing Out the Boat, The Poets Republic, Poetry Scotland and a number of anthologies. His work generally explores themes of identity, sustainability and resilience and intergenerational responsibility. Fallen Stock, his first full collection, will be published by Red Squirrel Press in March 2019.
Three scabbit yowes an their fower lambies bleat
on nippit sward aboot es whale-bane wreck -
a cast-up, shallows-puzzlt croft, back-broken,
amang these Assynt braes far Gaelic breathes
aa constonants an vowels silent.
Forgotten in es corner o the map,
aat shieling is a shell, faal-lunged,
collapsit unner aa the stanes
an torn-up tracks o present histories.
Bit still thon bleatin’ corbies skite,
fleecing the place midst gorse an fecklessness.
Fa couped thon hovel here aawyse?
He’s missin’ noo. Fa left thon maggots here
tae flense it bare? He’s missin noo anaa.
Nabobs an merchant butchers biggit up
estates and emptied oot the glen -
nae trade left but the killin’ in the place.
It’s nae a simple thing tae turn a tide
or rax a plantin syne the brae is bare
or wrench a drouthie’s bottle fae his neive
or conjure up new herrin in the Minch.
Bit still they are, in ten-year baby-steps,
greenin the grun aboot Loch Suardalain.
From Fallen Stock (Red Squirrel Press, 2019)