Colin Will

Colin Will has had eight poetry collections, one haibun collection and one short story collection published. His most recent poetry book, The Night I Danced With Maya, appeared with Red Squirrel Press in 2017. His new work explores the borders between poetry and short fiction. He is also a musician, improvising in response to poetry, classical music and jazz, on saxophones and clarinets. He served two terms as Chair of StAnza’s Board.

Photo: John Bolland


Red Squirrel Press Showcase »

Reading: Colin Will, Judith Taylor, Elizabeth Rimmer

Fri 9 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Council Chamber



I'm a Pict who doesn't want to be painted,
who says no thanks to the tattoo man's needles,
who has never sat on a horse in battle, swung a sword
or shot arrows in anger,
who believes the time for raiding cattle
was long ago, and in another country,
who knows none who died at Mons Graupius,
who could not translate Columba's Gaelic,
but who does not speak the old Brythonic tongue either,
who has no Irish ancestry, no Q-Celtic connections,
who did not carve Sueno's Stone, or any other,
who does not have red hair, but is a carrier,
who has never watched Brave Heart, nor ever will,
who is not a Mormaer, broch-builder, crannog-dweller,
who likes Pictish art and imagery, has a silver ring,
whose family came from the land of Ce, but
who knows nothing of the land of Ce,
except it is good farming country,
who knows the hills and straths of his forebears,
and loves them, but does not want to live there,
who feels a kinship with those who work the fields
and tend the beasts, but that's as far as it goes,
who knows no standard to which he will rally,
who believes a people is not a country,
who knows a country is an economic and political unit,
subject to change, and it has, and it will,
who will not stand up for a national anthem,
but who gets misty hearing Caledonia,
who knows that the Pict lands are not in the Highlands,
strictly speaking, and that his family
were never in a kilt-wearing clan but wears one anyway,
who thinks Sir Walter Scott has a lot to answer for,
who likes his morning porridge, but puts sugar on it,
who is still coming to terms with being outed as a Pict
by his DNA, a specific marker in all his cells,
who is as confused by this as by everything else.

Colin Will

From The Night I Danced With Maya (Red Squirrel Press, 2017)