John Bolland

John Bolland writes novels, poetry and short fiction, and lives in the northeast of Scotland. A graduate of Glasgow University’s MLitt programme, his work has appeared in The Interpreters House, Northwords Now, Lallans, The London Magazine, Pushing Out the Boat, Poetry Scotland, The Poets Republic and a number of anthologies. He recently completed a funded residency with an Aberdeen-based PR agency. He blogs at www.aviewfromthelongrass.com and is a member of the Aberdeen Writers’ Studio.

Events

Theoartistry Showcase »

Listen to poems from the Theoartistry workshop earlier in the week

Sun 11 March | 14:15 - 15:00 | FREE | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre

Poem

Thin Ice

(For Marc Cornelissen and Philip De Roo, missing presumed drowned 200 kilometres
South of Bathurst Island in the Canadian
Arctic, 29th April, 2015)

We circled for an age to no avail.
The place they were, their 'there', was not.
The sea was flecked with broken pack.
The melting ice heaved, shattered on the swell.

The place they were, their 'there', was not.
The origin of their last signal - lost.
The melting ice heaved, shattered on the swell.
One sled dog stranded. Gear. No other trace.

The origin of their last signal lost
on the rising curve of warming currents.
One sled dog stranded. Gear. No other trace.
Only the ocean clenching like a fist.

Before the rising curve of warming currents
the ice recedes a little more each Spring.
The ocean clenches like a fist,
pumped full of energy and chaos.

The ice recedes a little more each Spring.
The place they were, their 'there' is not.
The ocean’s full of energy and chaos.
Its patterns shift and circulations stall.

The place we are, our here - it may not be.
We know the risks but cannot know the hour.
The patterns shift and circulations stall
and we arrive and circle.

We know the risks but cannot know the hour.
The question's huge and simple as the ocean's flux.
Yet we arrive, and circle, wondering -
fuel burning in our engines like a fuse.

The question's simple as the ocean's flux.
Where will we be if all the ice is lost?
Fuel burning in our engines like a fuse,
we circle for an age to no avail.

 

John Bolland

From Aiblins, New Scottish Political Poetry (Luath Press, 2016)