Alastair Reid's An Alastair Reid Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose PDF

By Alastair Reid

ISBN-10: 0874516927

ISBN-13: 9780874516920

ISBN-10: 0874516935

ISBN-13: 9780874516937

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Extra resources for An Alastair Reid Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose

Example text

I felt them to be somehow in contradiction, and still do. The Scottish landscapemisty, muted, in constant flux and shiftintrudes its presence in the form of endlessly changing weather; the Scottish character, eroded by a bitter history and a stony morality, and perhaps in reaction to the changing turbulence of weather, subscribes to illusions of permanence, of durability, asking for a kind of submission, an obedience. I felt, from the beginning, exhilarated by the first, fettered by the second.

Virtue had to be achieved at the expense of the flesh and the physical world, in which we were always being judged and found wantingthe world, it seemed, had a vast, invisible scoreboard that gave no marks for virtue but buzzed mercilessly at miscreants. It buzzed for me. It buzzed for me and for Kathleen, one of my sisters, so regularly that we became renegades, outwitting the system when we could. In St. Andrews, that dreich outlook regularly took the form of an audible sniff of disapproval. I was born in rural Scotland, in Galloway, in the warm southwest, a gentle, kindly beginning, for we were bound by the rhythms of the soil, always outdoors, helping at neighboring farms, haunting small harbors, looking after animals, or romping in the oat and barley fields that lay between our house and the sea.

The end of spring was crowned by school sports day, the departure of students; my own work was almost finished. When Jeff left, the suspension in which we had lived all year was broken, Page 26 and we found ourselves back in time. Our lease on Pilmour Cottage would soon be up, and I made plans to go to Spain on the way to Mexico, and once more assembled our worldly goods, dividing what to abandon from what to keep. There were rituals of passage, leave-takings, last walks, backward looks. We had arrived in and gone from places so often, and seen so many people leave, that we were familiar with all the facets of departing.

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An Alastair Reid Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose by Alastair Reid


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