Alan Spence

Alan Spence is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer. He is Professor Emeritus in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen where he founded the annual WORD Festival in 1999 and was its artistic director for twelve years. With his wife he runs the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre in Edinburgh. In 2017 he was appointed Edinburgh Makar, the poet laureate for the city, and in 2018 he was awarded the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun by the government of Japan. His most recent books are the novel Night Boat, playscript No Nothing, and poetry collection Morning Glory.


Five O’Clock Verses »

Reading: Alan Spence, Fiona Moore

Thu 7 March | 17:00 - 18:00 | £6.50/£4.50 | Parliament Hall, South Street



Sometimes you hear a perfect sonnet line,
spoken in passing, the word on the street
fall easily but as if by design
into that good, old, pentameter beat.
So on this late September afternoon,
summer winding down, shading into fall,
the day, the year, this life, passing too soon,
I almost hear the meaning of it all
as a young mother calls out to her son
running daft in this scrap of city park.
She calls, knowing this time will soon be done,
but as if love might yet hold back the dark,
‘Just play a while and then we have to go.’
Just play a while, and then we have to go.


Alan Spence