Page 1

rki New Writing and Art from Dumfries and Galloway

Issue No. 1 Summer 1995

ÂŁ1.50


Typesetting

by: Markings Press, 77 High Street,

Kirkcudbri:ght

Tel 01557 331557

Printed by The Forward

Copyright

Š 1995:

Copyright

Press, Castle Douglas

remains

with the authors.


Art

• Derek Ross • Linda Mallet • Anne Darling • John Macintyre • JeffWhite • Linsey Lamont • Brian Parson • Hazel Dunlop • Deidre Bannerman • Jeremy Car lisle

Poetry

• Derek Ross • James McGonigal • Hugh McMillan • John Hudson • Donald Adamson • JeffWhite • T ony Bonning • Dermis Binns • Randolph

Galloway

• Liz Niven • Catherine

J. Baty

• Harvey Holton • Castle Douglas ARC • Douglas Lipton

Prose

• E. Innes Stewart • Ann Karkalas • lain Cross • June Odell • Dougy McFern • Pete Fortune • Catherine

A. Bennie

• Jill Sumner • Jenny Wilson

3 7 & 8& 13 16 20 22 & 26 &

42 47

23 27

33 35 & 39

3&4 5 & 32 11 & 24 14 15 17 18 19 28 34 & 35 39 45 46 50 & 51

6 12 21 25 29 36 40 41 48


Welcome Another mag competing for your attention and the money in your pocket. Yes. But different we think. We hope that we're offering quality, stimulation, some controversy but more than all these we're offering the work of our region. "Markings" is not impersonal. You probably know many of the folk who've contributed to this first issue - and we want to keep it that way.

but never in the old way of woodsman among like folk. Then one day a tragedy occurred. A girl in the village was killed by a car. The woodtink bard picked up his pen and wrote an elegy expressing communal grief in the imagery of his native Fife. His song may have saddened or hurt but everyone knew it spoke the truth of how they all felt. Now the poet is as much a part of local life as the farmer, the mechanic or the teacher.

Art is not something that goes on in ivory towers, nor are artists and writers unapproachable. Art is the stuff of the pub, the black mood, the kitchen. Our local writer in residence from last year tells an interesting story. The folks down his local in Fife knew him as a woodtink - he carried a chain saw, not a pen. Then he had to take a day off work. When asked why he said he had to go to a book launch. The reply suggested that he, of all people, surely wasn't interested in books. What was he doing at a book launch? When he replied that it was his book that was being launched, jaws dropped. Just for good measure he added that his was a poetry book. That evening in the local few words were sfoken to him, though many strange g ances were cast his way. Gradually as evenings passed the talk warmed up

"Markings" sets out to be a forum for the hearts and minds of Dumfries and Galloway; it's for us all. YOUt work has been coming through my letter box over the past six weeks and I hope it will continue to do so in all its incredible variety. An editor's job is selector - a workhorse really, who makes your work available to a wider public. Nothing is exempt from "Markings". The title harks back to the first creative marks made by the human race in this region, the cup and ring marks, mysterious expression of our relationship with the cosmos. Much of the content I have chosen for this first issue reflects th is continued relationship with the past but looks at it from many angles through poetry, prose, photography and art. But this issue doesn't stop there - I'll let you find out more for yourself ...

The Team General Editor Issue One: Literary Editors:

John Hudson Elspeth Brown Donald Adamson

Visual Art Editors:

Anne Darling Jefferson

Advertising:

G. White

T ony Bonning


Derek Ross

Our History Our history, tidal as the Solway, is washed up on these bays and estuaries. A library that requires only our time and inclination to pause, and browse. Scattered here and there, revealed at low tide, the nets and poles of stakenets are the webs and spines of old books, and the rush of the sea seems but the ruffle of our pages.

Page 3


Stephen

Dreamin

Skewered by shafts 0 street lamp licht that slice through yer haaf dran blinds, ye squirm in yer Nintendo quilt. Hair smeared tae yer sweat in broo, een rollin, fists c1enchin, breath catch in, Christ! why dae bairns dream sae sair? A streetch oot ma han then stop mase1, ye're feert 0 the dark. "You switched the dark on!" ye accused me yince, whun A switched aff yer licht cas ye wudnae sleep. Years ago it wis, but yer wirds haunt me yet.

NU no wak ye. A'U no tak awa yer dream an plunge ye intae dark confusion. Yir dream'll run its coorse an nae doot be forgotten by the moarnin. Bit yin thing's share, nae metter hoo deep yer nicht, the licht'Il come ... the licht'll come.

Derek

Ross

Page 4


Night Watch (Talking to Basil) It's a quiet start to entering the grave, pulling up grass or putting on weight to be carried. Just so much action sliding past the point. Where did his glasses go, handy where shade splits shade while trees raise microphones for a final word from the sky? You wrote sunset on a postcard and strolled out on the slipway. A blackbird struck its last match on the dark. We inhale memories. What if night never came out to call us in for bed, or no swans hung their white cloths in the air? Trees weave intricate traps for light and fail, just as stones fail to wipe its grin from the water's face, there again when ripples go. We'll both dive in and sink to the silt, cracked pots with nothing left to spill. Basil and me are toughing it out, biting into the cheek of this particular apple: dead Dads. Never to see them again except maybe they're watching us now with the same look, as rain gossips with the wind like old workmates, men who were started and laid off together. Now off travelling the overseas of night.

James McGonigal

Poge 5


E. Innes Stewart

Spring greens, cabbage ratch, water birds wading, skimming harsh voiced not birds of the bird table, a snel wind, always a snell wind and mountains oppressive, indifferent; without paths, haunted by blood curdling skritch of pheasant and adders basking on the rocks in the cold Spring sunshine. People are there I know for I hear the guns killing. The men blend with the hills in their green boots and their green Barbours. Queasy green. Each shot sets off harsh mewling from the seagulls who circle the loch looking for some fish to massacre to add to the carnage. Most of all I fear for the rabbits, innocent herbivores, prey to the hawks, foxes, horrifying paralysing weasel and of course the rare but frantic motor car that races desperately through these murderous hills. They've sent me here to cheer me up. The peace of the countryside is to soothe my savaged nerves. I am to walk among these creatures who run from me in fear. There are lambs in the field and mint sauce is growing in the kitchen garden. The sun is cold. At night the indifferent stars ice up the sky. Moonlight silhouettes the faceless owl and the silence is broken by the scream of his prey. The howl of death is the only voice a rabbit has. Broken with man-brought sickness as many often are, they stand silent with clouded eyes, swollen as they freeze in the night. I draw the curtains, heap up the fire and listen to the radio in this rough cottage. I pour myself a drink and sit on a cushion by the hearth to warm my chilled body. The only voice now is the cry of the oystercatcher come inland to the loch to raise his young. Maybe he finds this territory alien too. I cannot identify with him for he has his mate while mine has taken flight before the breeding season. Yet I wish the oystercatchers well. The fire is beginning to warm me. I sit hunched on the floor trying to mourn but I begin to feel hungry. I turn the radio on to music, the familiar Pastoral stirs my numbed heart as I ferret around my rucksack for a tin of soup. A two ringed unit and grill stand in the living room and I heat soup and make toast and let the music loosen my clenched mind. I turn up the sound lest I hear a death cry from the outside world. "[usr as well you two didn't have any children, Janey," never seemed reliable to me. Never settled. How long that air hostess? I don't suppose you know. Can't tell the time. Probably more than one. Never looked after on your birthday he never bothered with it. No good rest. 'In sickness and in health.' Remember when you that tht."

I hear my mother's voice. "He had he been carrying on with when they're off on 'planes all you properly. If he was away if you were ill. That's the real had the flu? Left you alone in

"He had to mum, he was flying to Tenerife." Bur he could have made me a coffee before he left, even a glass of water. Sanity returns with the loss of clarity. I do not think now that I shall end it all tonight. That will come soon enough, lurking in every body cell and every step in

Pog" 6


this precarious world. I will edit my thoughts drastically enough to return to the hopeful city. I will build again around me the wasps nest of sweetness to take me further on towards old age. I will return to work on the psychiatric ward and will stand for the real world to which my patients are trying to return. But I will know better what is in the mind of a poor creature slumped in the withdrawal of depression and I will not be able to prevent myself wondering whether that reality is truer than mine. Yet I will persist in keeping alive in myself the touch of mania that keeps us all going. Going where is another question which most of us give up asking or comfort ourselves with a story so involved and supported by so many followers it must be true. Though

I will never forget that around us circles the merciless countryside.

---.-"

.~

l

''1

Unda Mallet: Two Sheep

Page 7


Anne Darling: White Crow

Page 8


YE Day: Hexham The brassy music floats down quintessential streets, past stones cicatrized by histories and now, by bunting. On flickering televisions corralled by day-off boozers politicians palely bang the drum: we must remember those who stuffed the Germans, whose tragic deaths kept Britain Great. What blousy things to die for; flags and sunshine, lips and lager. In the cool abbey where stones shine like water I sit beside an unwreathed grave. 'T 0 the Gods, the Shades, Flavinius, a horse soldier of the Cavalry Regiment of Petriana, Standard Bearer of the Troop of Candidus, 25 years of age, having served 7 years in the army, is here laid, for the Glory of Rome.' Reflections from a bonefield, on this most glorious day. The greatest tragedy of the dead, the bastards left to talk for them.

Hugh McMillan

Page 11


Lifelong Learning?

by Ann Karkalas

" ... with the future of these extra-mural classes in the balance, I can only emphasise how much they have all enriched my life, and what a miserable gap there will be if they are disc?,ntinued in their present form. I gather that most of my class mates feel the same ... " ... I consider the provision of non-vocational courses to be of very great value to life in rural Scotland - an important component of the social life of an area. I believe this view is widely shared ... " " .. .it is essential to my mental and intellectual

welfare!"

1

"I am not interested in credit-bearing courses at all .. " [what is not understood is "the depth of feeling in many retired people as to what education means to them in later years, and especially in rural areas, where meeting with people of similar interests is often a lifeline ... "

These are just a few of the many similar comments which the Department of Adult and Continuing Education has been receiving from students in Dumfries and Galloway recently. They result from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council s telling the Scottish Universities to convert as many as possible of their extra-mural courses to credit-bearing ones, involving assessment and often examination. For some who missed out on formal higher education, this is a welcome development, and DACE is certainly in favour of new routes to higher education where they are needed (including Dumfries and Galloway) and is fast opening them up. But the downside is that funding for non-accredited courses will be very severely cut if things follow the pattern already established south of the border. Many will wonder: why should they? Present DACE students in Dumfries and Galloway have twice been surveyed about these proposals, and each time an overwhelming proportion (over 94%) wished to keep courses as they are. A large number are older students who feel they have had enough assessment and gathered enough qualifications in their lives already. They don't come to gain "recognition for their learning". They come to learn for the joy and variety of it, for the interchange of ideas with specialist lecturers and each other, for learning which is still a collaborative rather than a competitive affair. These features would not necessarily be destroyed by accreditation, but they would be affected. Not only the students' power to influence the pace and content of an individual course, but the size, range and flexibility of courses offered in such a sparsely populated area would be greatly restricted. "Lifelong learning" to which educational policy is supposedly now dedicated, is a fine-sounding phrase. Does it really mean any more than continual retraining, development of new skills as the job market changes? Response by SHEFC to the wishes of older learners, in scattered communities where courses cannot be self-supporting, will be a good test of the rhetoric. Who wants to cut the lifeline?

Ann Karkalas is Senior Lecturer in English at Glasgow University and DACE co-ordinator for Dumfries and Galloway. She can be contacted at DACE, 59 Oakjield Avenue, Glasgow G12 8LW. Poge 12


Page 13


Horn at Night Fog pitches over cloakless eyes. A salt and soundless sea of bodiless black swells limitless. The huge throat bellows its monotone, a macabre and echoless love-chant from ashore. Where are the restless ones? Who the hopeless searching the ocean? Faceless they float, voiceless sirens stirred in forks of fog.

John Hudson

Page 14


Leisured

Progress

Living in a provincial town, an out-of-the-way place, for my father the outside world came on stage at an unhurried pace: showmen and circus artists each year Oatthe Rood Fair, a music-hall act at the Theatre Royal, a performing bear shuffling down the High Street. Was there a difference that night when the crowd pressed round the Standard window, 1912: ... THE TITANIC ... MANY LOST Or did that merely continue a pattern set before, those telegrams pinned hour by hour, disaster cruising down the wire with the whole night to kill? Soon it would come again, on foot left, right, off to the war in France, my dad in step with it. The guns puffed with all the time in the world. Thought flew, fell with a wait to end all waiting in the slow trajectory of the shell.

Donald Adamson

Page 1S


White on Scu(l,ture J: You

stick bits of metal and stone together it art. Do you think that's art?

and call

J: No. J: But

your stuff looks good. It's pretty, it's aesthetically pleasing. Why don't you think it's art?

J:

Because pissing in the snow and screen printing some movie star's photograph over it sells for twenty thousand pounds. That's art.

J: If that's J: I'm too

art why don't you do it? stupid, and besides I don't know any movie

stars.

J: That gives me J: 0 good. Ideas

a~ idea.

are really high art these days. You can franchise a concept, and that means everyone has to pay you even though you don't do anything.

J: No,

no! Not a concept, I mean real art: Let's make a movie!

J: And

the actors can be sculptures better than movie stars!

J:

ButI've already done that. !vir whole garden s the set.

J: Then

you're a director, like Bufiuel or Dali?

J: Is

that a compliment? Zozie on 0 Unicycle

Jefferson G. White sculpts at Craigcrofe. near Laur ieston. His garden acts as a set for his pieces and visitors are welcome. The drawings on this page are supplied by the sculptor and represent works on show.

The Kiss Poge 16


Iced Sunshine There's a chill in the air How do we get him down With ladders, anti-aircraft fire Or pieces of the town? The prickly village skyline Is jaggedy enough To burst any bubbles That might just buoy him up. Autumn is his season Why does he come in spring When we in our unreason Expect heat to be King?

Jefferson

G. White

Page 17


The Yuletide Fire He had deserted - dying in December. Lying when he said he would never leave her. Abandoning in time to turn merrymaking Into misery. Taking, Robbing her capabilities; Betraying with subtleties: Always lighting the fire, Fixing plugs, driving the car. Now half a person - a tamed beast set free, She was left to clear up the debris Of death: half-done jobs, drawers full of tools, A broken down car, workshop manuals. How dare he die before the end! That was no way to treat a wife, a lover, a friend. No! she would neither mourn nor suffer grief, Nor wear despair like some Christmas wreath. She would live; she would learn. He had wanted to be buried? Damn him! He could burn. T ony Bonning

Poge 18


The Men of Knoydart Resting between Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn Wild Knoydart lays fixed twixt heaven and hell, The private wilderness of Lord Brocket. Sandaig village was where the spark began: Macphee, MacDonald, Archie MacDougall, McPhail, MacAskill, MacHardy and Quinn. Still fighting the clearances in '48 They staked their claims and awaited their fate. The fascist Laird, affronted, knew he'd win By using the law to end the struggle. Nora Reilly, postmistress, brought the ban. With cameras ready the men took it. They had their hopes: but the courts tolled the knell On the men of Knoydart. There'd be no corn. Dermis

Notes

Binns, Auchencairn

(supplied

by the author)

Scotland's last Land Raid took place in 1948 in Knoydart. Lord Brocket W3S a member of the Conservative Anglo-German Friendship Society and a friend of Hitler and von Ribbentrop, Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn are possibly a corruption of the Gaelic meaning Loch of Heaven and Loch of Hell. The cameras refer to the fact that both the Herald and Scotsman, and probably other newpapers, fully recorded all the events.

Page 19


,.

linsey Lamant: Ugly Duckling

Page 20


The King is Dead, Long Live the King by lain Cross The creative human spirit is boundless. And so I regret that we don't praise the recent and most significant act of human creativity seen in this region for many years. I refer to the decapitation of the King and Queen, Henry Moore's masterpiece at Shawhead. Nothing so cosmically and comically dynamic has been achieved since Burns wrote Tam. We've lost a couple of bronze heads but gained a new work of art, a new style, a . new perceptIOn. As to the loss, do we really give a toss? Its presence was a manifestation of a bourgeois, materialist culture. Our staid conservationist ethos ossified Moore's inspiration years ago. The King and Queen was a cultural icon that had lost its spunk. The act of vandalism, no matter what its motive, was an act of enormous creative liberation, the act of an artist. Like any good artwork it forces us to confront values, question permanence and face reality. Its worth now fundamentally questioned allows us to see beyond the illusions to a weight of bronze. Our eyes have been startled into a new vision. At this point I propose a new genre: Decapitation Art. This would involve the mysterious vandalism of art icons, works that through our pride and greed we allow to trick us into comfortable falsehoods. The recreation of favourites by subtraction, the boogie-dancing on the shrine of the connoisseur. Decapitation

equals decapitalisation, the expunging of art as capital. This is no drawing a moustache on a copy of the Mona Lisa; this is defacing the real thing! Parts or movements of Beethoven symphonies could go missing; Jesus could be excised from the odd Leonardo; whole Burns poems could suddenly be lost through acts of well co-ordinated art vandalism. Thus the mystery would be sanctified, not the material. Such a genre truly affirms the boundless creative spirit. How many great works of art have never seen the light of day? How many artists die young, how many poetic masterpieces are thrown out with the dusty belongings of old age, unrecognised by the tidy minded mourners? How much inspiration is crushed by the thoughtless words of the philistine? How much wonderful music has been sung never to be heard again and how much unsung? How many murals greater than the Sistine chapel lie beneath the dust and rubble of fallen civilisations? The refashioning of the King and Queen is their memorial through absence. The unheard, unseen and unwritten, the downtrodden, illiterate and hopeless are as much part of our culture as those absent heads. What if Decapitation Art took off in a big way as in those great clean sings of the past, the Reformation, the fall of the Roman Empire, the French Revolution? Would we give up, sit upon a stone and sigh? If all art were wiped clean off the the Earth, it would take us minutes to start again, to create, to reinvent our great conjuring trick, our testament to vision and power. So boundless is the human creative spirit! The King is dead, long live the King!

Page 21


Brian Parsons: Images

Our consciousness hovers between the microcosm and the macrocosm. A Persian poem titled the Mathriavi says. "Be nothing. then. and walk upon the wave." These words describe the process of creativity. letting go. getting in touch with greater creative powers. and allowing them to flow through us. These forces are not always immediately coherent but the nature of life and creativity is change. Human beings are complex creatures relating to each other and the environment at many different levels. Thus change is complex. too. and we are all involved in an on-going learning process. Cultures wax and wane yet through these changes there are always discernible constants like an anchor in a whirlpool.

Page 22


The initial development of my contemporary painting has a desire to achieve a balance in visual terms between the apparently chaotic life processes and the underlying rational structures of creation and the human mind. The universe and ourselves appear' to be part of one total creative life process. Visually nature is intensely abstract, making marks is something nature excels at. How is it, we may well ask, that all the letters of our alphabet can be found somewhere on the wings of butterflies? B.P.

Poge 23


Vlad the Inhaler Cortes Des Arges. A thousand steps cut in yellow rock. We climb through scents, and sunlight darting between the lips of trees. Above us the sky seems pinned by birch stacks. Sometimes, at a dog-leg, the light spins, crescents dizzily down, and the ground is lost, dissolved. Only the climb remains, the drum of breath, and the scream of birds. At the first hint of wall a soldier appears from loops of shadow. He wants cigarettes, settles for a wrist band for his girl. The Dragon's Castle he says, I guard it. I keep it safe. He waves his rifle like a man who has been too long in the woods, and we pass, emerging at a pinnacle to the expected haemorrhage of light.

Hugh

McMillan

Page 24


I Mind When ...

by June Odell

I did a silly thing this morning. I wanted a cup of tea but I hadn't any milk, well ... Well I mind when I was fifteen years old, mother wanted some messages in a hurry. Our Grace was reading a book. I could have been there and back by the time I prised her away from it, so off I went. And oh! joy as I was coming out of the store, there was my heart's desire Billy Frazer and didn't he wink at me and set me walking on air. When I got back home and mother asked what I'd got that and to this day I can see Grace slowly looking up from her saw you like that? In your fluffy bedroom slippers!" And I that I'd forgotten to change my shoes. Oh! what would he

daft grin on for, I told her book and saying "And he burned and froze in shame think of me!

You can laugh afterwards can't you, at the silly things you do. I mind years later, run ragged with the weans - I wonder how my mother coped - and off I went with Billy's shoes for the menders, only when I got there I had in my bag the two milk bottles I'd meant to leave at the doorstep and guess where Billy's shoes were! You have to laugh. Another time - and who hasn't done these kind of things - I meant to pour a new packet of tea into the caddy and didn't I absent-mindedly tip the lot into the freshly rinsed tea pot. Oh! it's annoying at the time isn't it, but everyone's done it. It's just that lately I've been doing more silly things, and not realising it at the time. Like, if I doze off in the chair I wake up in a panic and don't know which way to turn to get ready for Billy coming in for his tea; or I sit down and write a lovely letter to our Grace - she married at just eighteen you know, an English chap he was and they moved down there but we've always kept in touch between visits, so I write to her and then I'm reminded that they're both long gone. Dead and buried these ten years or more, my Billy and our Grace. I don't want the children to know how silly I get - how forgetful. I don't want them to worry. I know they're my children because they say "Hello mum, look I've bought some flowers" or whatever - but my heart fair breaks that I can't remember their names. So I just nod and smile and encourage them to talk and tell me what they've been up to. They brought me a colour photograph of their children - in a wee gold frame it was, I have it somewhere - and I said "Oh! they are bonny" because I've learned lots of tricks to cover my forgetfulness. One of them said "Suzy got her big front teeth through since that was taken" and I smiled and said "Oh! yes I can see" and "How is Suzy>" I'm clever at covering up my silliness and forgetfulness. Talking about being silly reminds me, this morning I wanted a cup of tea, but I hadn't any milk. Well I just put my cardigan on, because it was still a bit early and a bit nippy, and there, wasn't I outside on my way to the store and there was that nice lass Megan - she always wears a badge with her name on so I know it's her, she's a bonny wee thing is Megan and very thoughtful like that, and she says "Where are you going?" so I tell her I want a cup of tea, and she says, "Come back in and I'll fetch you one." And she did, bless her. I still had my nightie on I realised when I got back inside. I started to cry and I don't know why. I only wanted a cup of tea .....

Page 2S


H

z Hazel Dunlop comes about the phorography and Westminster, she moral and commercial better printer in order

from Castle Douglas. In 1989 she left to pursue and learn industry. During her studies in Dumfries, Manchester discovered new photographic theories, practices, and the values of the photograph. She then went on to become a for her work to be recognised.

In 1994 she worked as a professional black and white printer in London's top commercial labs, Now she freelances for Scottish Newspapers such as the Glasgow Herald, Glasgow Evening Times, The Sunday Post and, more recently, n"gazines like Marie Claire (U.K. ed.) and London newsp.pers. As a specialist in traditional photo-documentary, her work is also dependent on commissions and is thus varied, from photographs for a mannequin company to fashion shots for model agencies as well as her daily press work.

Page 26

E l


o U N L

o P

Poge 27


Galloway Weather If in red the sun should set. Next day will be cold and wet. If the sun should set in grey. Next will be a rainy day. The The The The

North wind brings cold and wet together. South wind brings us rainy weather. West wind brings us fine soft rain. East wind brings clouds for further rain.

Dirty days hath September April. June and November All the rest have thirty-one Without a single gleam of sun February has twenty-eight for a bite Still it rains both day and night If they all had ten and thirty They would all be just as wet and dirty. Randolph

Galloway

,

~

r-f' r=r-)

'

c')~-~- -..-,. -~'"") "=' ,... r-

r-_

r r: -

1"""'-

...,..,.

-,..r'"\

----=------------- -.~

Poge 28


The Yonder Place an

excerpt from

The Captain's

a

story for children by Dougie McFern

Return

Woken up by the sound of cackling and shrieking seagulls, Davie rose out of bed and stumbled over to his bedroom window. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he gazed down at the small town of Millaig. The clock on the landing struck 7 a.m .. Already people Were gathering at the harbour. Realising what this meant his blue eyes scanned the distant horizon. A ------smile came across the young man's face as he recognised the tall white sails standing proud against the clear. sky. "The Captain, the Captain, he's back!" he cried, getting dressed as quickly as possible. Taking one fast glance through the small round window Davie rushed downstairs to the kitchen. It was Wednesday and as always his mother had been busy baking. Tuesday nights she would fire up the oven to make scones, biscuits and bread for days to come. Raising the cloth that protected them from the flies he took a peep at his mother's home-made delicacies. Then, convinced she wouldn't miss one or three, Davie snatched a handful and stuffed them into his jacket pockets and left the house. Humming his favourite tune while munching on a biscuit, Davie sauntered casually down the steep cobbled street towards the harbour. The aroma of burning peat filled the air from newly lit fires and was almost overpowering as the gusty breeze drove the brown smoke to street level. On either side of the narrow lane small terraced houses formed a high enclosure, each brightly coloured but identical in design. Each house had one window set in a turret of slate and brick located on the roof, jutting out like a big glass cupboard. This was the "Quiet See Place" or "Wee Qweesty Hoose" as it was more commonly known; it offered an unequalled observation point for worried wives, mothers and grandmothers to keep watch on the sea for returning fisherman. The smell of fish and salt water soon filled Davie's lungs. Situated practically in the sea was old Bill's place. Made from wood and painted white, the building stuck out from the rest. Written along the wall in bold lettering was the name "SLIPWAY SUPPLIES". Bill, a friendly but sour-faced man, was making ready to leave and was hitching his horse, Sarn, to the buggy. He stopped briefly to chat to Davie. "What are you up to today, Davie? Off to see the Captain are we? I always found YOll got the best view of smuggling ships from Raven's Point. There'll be plenty of time for you to get there, for she's missed the morning tide."

Page 29


Davie's face went bright red and he found he couldn't look Bill in the eye. fIe always thought he was the only one who knew about Raven's Point. . Bill, who was pole-faced, puckered a forced smile and said," ever mind lad, your secret's safe with me, after all I wouldn't want to upset your mother." With that he pricked Sam. "Go on, get up!" At the harbour itself all the fishing boats were home, tethered four abreast, leaving ample room for the "Lady Warrior". Further away, among the seaweed, a pair of oystercatchers were delving deep into the sand with their bright orange beaks, beating down heavily on those stu'mpy black and white wings to obtain more purchase and pulling out huge lug-worms. Davie listened to the rowdy din being emitted by the waiting crowd. He decided to avoid them for the present and head for Raven's Point. He checked no one was watching before passing through the two pillared posts that marked the start of his trek. It was said a curse was cast on the lonely rock. With people afraid to live on or near it, the mysterious place remained unspoiled The only time people dared set foot on it was to prepare the fires in the hope of protecting the village. Each year, fearing for their fives, local townsfolk carried wood and forest waste to the Point, setting the islet on fire. This strange ritual took place on the 30th day of April, just before summer fishing was due to start, and left a black band which crossed the islet. Care was taken to ensure the same part was fired year after year, as it was generally believed that evil spirits rising from the sea would not cross the sacred band of blackened earth. Dogged by a sore foot Davie was forced to stop. He sat down on a rotten piece of driftwood and pulled off his boot. As he had suspected, a blister was forming on his big toe, all red and sore. Tiny grains of sand had entered his boot through a small hole in the stitching. He took out his handkerchief and used it to bandage his sore toe, then emptied the sand from his boot by hitting it on a rock. Davie then retied his boot and returned quickly to a more comfortable stride. A rising raven caught his attention. He watched as the crow-like bird flew increasingly higher using slow but powerful wingbeats. Upon reaching a great height the young bird assumed a more graceful flight. Round and round the mysterious point the playful bird soared, its broad, stable wings stretched out fully. Davie looked on. The raven rose up suddenly in an almost vertical jump to become nothing more than a tiny black speck. Dipping and diving, it put on a fantastic display of acrobatics, then closing its wings, it fell from the sky like a stone. Davie breathed a sigh of relief to see the raven break off its plunge only yards from the ground. Uttering a deep croak of delight; the raven composed himself then started the long climb back into the cloudless sky. 50 hypnotised "Ouch!"

was Davie by the raven's antics that he walked into something

he complained.

sharp.

"When did that grow there?"

A thicket of deep rooted undergrowth blocked the pathway. Even standing tall on . his tip-toes Davie couldn't see a way forward. He took hold of a stick and hacked a way through the tangle of brambles and bracken. A rabbit flashed out, only showing a glimpse of its white bobbing tail as it scampered up the rocky embankment. Davie ran to where the rabbit had taken cover and r0ked around. Like a magician the rabbit had vanished beneath long tussocks 0 hissing and rustling grass stirred by the sweeping breeze. Davie tackled the last few yards to the cliff edge. Page 30


Lifting his arms high above his head he squeezed gently through the prickly gorse bushes. They gave off a coconut fragrance coupled with the sweet smell of sea salt. Finally he was overlooking the sea. The ominous sight of Raven's Point lay dead ahead. It emerged from the sea like a giant skull, rising quickly to a jagged point. Hesitantly Davie stepped forward to examine the state of the sea. It was calm, much calmer than normal. Far below and to his left was the beautiful ship, the Lady Warrior. She had three masts, a large one in the middle and two others fore and aft, making her uncatchable when under full sail. Using a rope he had kept hidden nearby, Davie started down the sharp incline to the shore below. He wondered how many more people knew of his adventures to the islet. Two or three visits had let him explore only part of this scary place, and so far there had been no sign of a monster. This fuelled his desire for exploration. He longed to search the blind side, invisible from the mainland. This is where sailors spoke of huge green eyes glowing in the dark, staring out to sea. Carefully Davie descended the cliff, feeding the rope inch by inch through his tender hands, moving gradually to the spot where he knew a way across. From the mainland you would have said the islet was unapproachable but Davie knew of a narrow ridge of rocks and shells stretching all the way. This causeway was submerged by the sea, but was passable with care during the hours around low tide. Davie found himself torn between exploring the islet or heading off home to Millaig. He had often come this far where he could catch the clearest view of the Lady Warrior and imagine he was an albatross following her on a voyage. Once the pilot boat came to lead her into harbour, Davie would race her home. This time he pondered and decided to stay a little longer. He gazed along the causeway at the calm but swelling sea. At the back of his mind he knew it would be wrong to continue but carried on regardless. A small rowing boat was hidden on the other side; he would use that should he get cut off. Davie had lots of fun jumping and balancing his way across the shaky stepping stones, the waves lapping over them. Within a short time he landed on Raven's Point and checked to see if the boat was still where he had last seen it. Luckily it was and it appeared sea-worthy. Pleased with himself the young boy headed inland. He walked over the blackened earth left from the fire of a few months earlier and noticed among the ashes minute green plants sprouting new life back to the black waste. Quickly the journey became challenging as the charred band gave onto the unspoiled vegetation found on the top end of the islet. Birds sang among the grass and bulrushes, baked golden by the hot summer. Crouching down, Davie popped his head out from the swaying grasses. He could see the Lady Warrior still anchored out in the bay, then crept on, head down. Even the Captain wouldn't approve of him going here, and warned against it often enough. Davie moved safely out of sight of the ship. He could feel his heart thumping like a beating drum as he neared the eerie part of the islet. The birds now became silent. He momentarily shuddered with fear and began to have second thoughts about monsters on Raven's Point but his stubborn streak wouldn't let him turn back. He crouched to the ground, and silently, carefully moved on. Then, without warning, he fell helplessly through a small crevice concealed by dead leaves and grass, landing with a painful bump on a smooth, stone floor. Poge 31


December

in Heaven

End of the road For all that golden fashless footloosing In one view of ice-blue sea. No roadsigns or markings Harmonica music from the gardens of wee cottages (Alfresco tea-dancing on frosty grass!) Kept us alert As the track unwound between To a bay sanded with crystal.

pink granite

Blood-berried bushes Shook in the breeze as we stripped Our slow push out into waves

crags

to begin

That would float us Away off under over on our backs to gaze into that Ocean of sky with its unfathomable Legends

of cloud,

Atlantics

of spring

[arnes McGonigal

Page 32

ram.

other


(

Deirdre Sannerman: korus

Page 33


Morning

in Chinatown

Epicanthian folds flicker An eye of the city wakens. Impossible on true maps You slant to the south of little haly. Following in the footsteps Of your tight-bound daughters, You cannot grow; But with an oriental love Of all things small You're a New World, perfect miniature Of your distant, ancient model, A little bonsai town Which never really sleeps or Clicks its lights out But all night blinks its neon eyes Till Moon removes her shoes And bows in the morning. Liz Niven

Page 34


T ea-Time in China town Jasmine-scented shops with W oks and steam rice cookers Are closing down Canal Street. Stalls of stir-fry greens lie limp Under lamps pagoda-topped And parchment-faded smiles. Through flapping theatre doors Peek matt black walls with paper bamboo sets Whose actors click chop-sticks Two doors down in the 'Rising Sun' As evening falls At tea-time In Chinatown. Liz Niven

Jeremy Carlisle: Untitled Page 35


haein much ti dae wi that shower 0 corrupt shitehawks, and I'd like to ask that meenister fella how he squares bein a Christian wi bein a Tory?

by Pete Fortune

But I'm nae Christian masell so I dropped ony idea 0 scrievin aboot

He comes wannerin inti ma office, him wi his poet's sensitivity and wee bohemian beard. "Send us something for the new mag," he says. "Not your usual stuff though. Some polemic maybe. A rant."

Hame course ready mind. it...nQ?

that.

for ma tea - which wesna ready of - so sits I doun wi pen and paper ti jot doun ocht which cam ti The telly wes on of course - ~ - and there's that hypocrite

A rant? I'll give him fucking rant. "What subject?" asks I, and he says "anything." Whatever I care to write about. And then he saunters cot in thon kinna annoyin relaxed wey he has, scartin his erse and mumlin somethin about gaun for a bite 0 denner noo.

Clinton gaun aboot the bomb in Oklahoma. Terrible business I agree, but when you think 0 the bad cairry-oans the States hae been involved in owre the years, it's a bit rich him acting aa uppity an innocent the wey he wes. What aboot 100,000 deid Iraqui sodgers a few years back? Eh? And dinna be fooled bi the

I'd just feenesht ma denner when the bugger appeared. Cheese sandwich and a squelchy saft orange. A hunner fuckin seeds wi every souk. But the wee bugger had gien me some food tae _ food for

talk 0 it be in ower democracy. It was aa aboot the price 0 oil an American supremacy an naethin else. And here anither thing - hou much American siller fell inti the haunds 0 the Provos?

Write aboot any thin I want?

rhochr.

Then

bi Christ

he's tell in us he's feart

Ay, but what exactly? I could think on little else when I was walkin hame. Of course first thing I thoct on was why it always teemed 0 bluidy rain when the umbrella was left lyin in the porch at hame? Water was runnin doon ma back

for the young folk 0 America, that sic an act micht hae destroyed their innocence! Their innocence? Here a place ower run wi crime and drugs an ghettoes no ti mention guns guns and mair fuckin guns, and he's feart the young fowk will be pit

in torrents,

aff playin

cos

0

could

haurdly

think

strecht

it.

Destroy

wi their their

toys?

innocence?

Ha! I switched

Then passin St. Michaels kirk (the ane recently circumcised) I thocht aboot the shame an misery that shoud consume the meenister there (recently retired I maun add). Stood for the cooncil at least twice

the bugger off, him wi his big reid ha-face. The tea was ready bi then oniewey - pizza and chips. Pizza base like cardboard and thon oven chips - the texture akin ti a handfu 0 the Sandy hills

this last while

beach.

- stood

as A TORY.

Them presidin ower mass unemployment (dinna be fooled bi their meddlin wi statistics) an aboot to cut dole money entitlement frae a year ti six months. Them slaughterin the health service, slash in the siller spent on education but the bastards thernsells takin hand-outs first chaunce they get - ti ask questions in the House 0 Commons' Ken wha should be askin bluidy questions! Coudna see Jesus

I went for a bath efter that ti gie masell a chance ti think. Whit would I write on? Did I want ti write onierhin for this bluidy magazine in the first place? I detected a stink aboot the haill bluidy ploy, tell ye the truth. Layabout's Monthly it should be ca'ad. Onlie fowk likely ti read it's maybe thaim wha hope to hae their skreids prentit in it. The luvvlies scairtin ane anither's backs.

Page 36


Bluidy writers. Bunch 0 chancers, some 0 thaim I ken, swannin aboot the wey they dae, Dinna ken whit a day's work is. 0 mony fowk dae ken what a dais work is - but that's us back ti the' tories, so best left weill alane, that subject. But what should J' write? Thing' is, at ma age ye hae ti be carefu. Forty's a funny age, dinna want ti come across as sair an bitter, ken? At forty .ye're past the hauf-wey stage _ 0 yeI' allotted spa?, ken? Ye're hauf-deid! Ma wyfe tried n cheer when I said that.

me up wee while past on sense, said she, ye'r芦

hauf-alive. ,Wumman's

no wyce at times.

that be. Bastards. But mak a coo or twa uncomfy afore their slauchter - weill sir, thon'll no dae, If ever I'm cairted aff fer the slauchter then I coudna care a shire whether I'm comfy or no. Raither ye tried to stop ma bein slauchtered, thank ye aa the same. Thae same -bluidy fowk would nae dour misca communists, so they maun be happy wi their capitalism. They've thersell ti blernrn really for the plight 0 the wee beasties, when ye think on't that wey. An here anither thing. I want ti ken hou money fowk demonstratin at aa they ports gaun harne ti a guid tea 0 steak an kidney

But there had to be somethin I wanted ti write on. The wee bugger wi the beard had pit me aff in the first place, truith .be tellt. Suggestin I gie him a fuckin rant indeed. Oniethin I pen is aye we illstructured and cannily controlled _ ask oniebodie, Then ma subject dawned on me. Ma muse' had descendit! But before I gae inti that, somethin else I want tirnention. Sornethin else at was on the news the nicht. Aa thae fowk gaun gyte aboot the coos and ither beasts be in d ti the continent. transporte What dae ye k ma e 0 t h em? Christ, they maun be livin in cloud cuckoo land, hae as daft a . hi . I notion 0 w It agncu ture is really aboot as the notion thon Clinron bugger lues to real life America. They think the ferm . I ., d . d h IS t le wey It s eplcte in t eir nursery rhyme buiks, when in reality it's aa aboot bl 00 d . an guts and shire up ti yer ankles! The ferrn's simply a pert 0 capitalism, and ther's nocht humane aboot capitalism. Capitalism's aa aboot profit _ profit a.t onie cost. It wes in the name 0 capitalism that 100,000 Iraqui sodgers were cut doun. ' 路 h An I lsten., W en aa due Arabs, when they were getttn s I auchtered in their tens 0 thocsans, whaur were they fowk then? Aa they animal lovers, eh~ Watching it aa unfold on their telly I 11 bet, and mair than likely clappin in tune wi the powers

pudding.

Eh? Tell

me that.

An listen, here's anither laugh anent the Clinton fellie an the "innocence" 0 American bairns. Whit kinna exernpil's bein set wi the cairry-oan ther was sendin thon fellie to his daith in the electric chair?And no juist him. I'm tellt there's hunners like him. Twelve bluidy year on death row. Appeal efrer bluidy appeal. Puir bugger's erse is on the seat an then off it again. Stay 0 execution fer a few days, then his erse was back on the bluidy seat. Noo A ken he was a criminal wha'd committed a hellish crime, but thon business was nocht short fowk kickin there? a puir monie

0 torture. 0 that mony up a stir aboot then, was

Imagine the ootcry daein thon ti wee coo? An if there wesna sae guns ther wudna be sae monie

nurders, an aa the bairns lot soonder i their beds

micht sleep a nicht.

a

0

But ti get back ti ma real subject. Cam ti me in a real tizz 0 creativity. Was starin me in the face aa the time, juist hadna realised it. Aince I twigged then ma first and main concern was that I'd manage ti say what I wanted ti say in the number 0 wurds allowed. Wee fella with the beard said roon aboot a thoosan

wurds

maximum,

ye see.

Oniewie, what I decided ti write aboot in the end wes the sair and vexfu question 0 why the (CUT - Editor)

Page 37


Graubelle Man "Roll up Roll up View the helpless horror Of the Graubelle Man, Disfigurements perfectly preserved." Head hung listlessly like a discarded Puppet. Arms zig-zagged together, Not shielding but Supporting. ' Ribs a motionless Accordion of caged bone. Lower limbs a jigsaw of Glistening scaf folds. Graubelle Man, a Sinister silhouette Silenced for centuries. "Roll up Roll across Pull the strings Solve the puzzle" Shout for the muted Graubelle Man If you have anything old to say.

Catherine

J.

Racy

Jeremy Carlisle: Untitled Page 39


by Charlotte A. Bennie Wigtownshire itself has lots of "ghosties, ghoulies and things that go bump in the night." Right out of town, at the Claywhuppart Bridge, was a Wee Aal Wuman. Claywhuppart was about a mile away on the low road to the Isle of Whithorn, and from the bridge, looking back towards the town, you had a good view of Glenn Gruff, which was said to have been the sight of the Conventicles in Covenanting times. If we were there on a long, clear evening, we made sure we were heading back up the Claywhuppart Hill towards the town before the twilight. Once the light faded there was a chance that the Wee Aal Wuman would escort you up the hill then fade away, leaving you alone for the mile or so still to be completed. No-one knew what she did, although everyone could describe her; small in stature, with old-fashioned long skirts and a shawl over her head. No-one even knew why she was there. Certainly none of us wanted the chance of an interview. My brother, who often went on long treks around the county, recounted an occasion when he was cycling home and his pedal-powered dynamo lamp picked out a shadowy form staggering up the Claywhuppart hill. The shape staggered into the middle of the road, too late for my brother to take a"voiding action. He

said afterwards that the figure was extremely solid, for a ghost, with a lurid and un lady-like turn of phrase and, from its smell, it had apparently been drinking. Another edge of town ghost was the Drummer Boy. Not only did he have a set locality, but he only appeared on a particular night of the year. So you really knew where you were with him. The only problem was, on which night did he appear? Some said Hallowe'en, others said Christmas, others Hogmanay. However since the route he travelled playing his drum was across fields on the east side of George Street, disappearing into a squelchy area known as the Goose Duds, I reckoned that he was an easy ghost to avoid. There was little chance that I would be stravaiging across that area on any of the nights he was said to appear. Since Glen Gruff lies between Claywhuppart and the Goose Duds, I have since wondered whether these ghosts are the last, numinous memories of tragedies which occurred during the Killing Times, as the Covenanting era was known in these parts.

"Ghosties" continues in the next issue. If anyone else has interesting tales of the supernatural we'd like to hear from you. Poge 40


Remember, Remember by Jill Sumner The first of November. No getting away from it, winter's really here. Outside it's still dark - not a lot of incentive to roll out of bed. Why can't I hibernate, like less determined creatures? However the scrabbling of our mouse in the rafters - (memo: buy more bacon for baiting the traps) - goads me into action. Across the fields mist still hovers like witch's breath. Last night -All Hallow's Eve - the neighbours came guising, their torches skewering the darkness. But we weren't deceived by their masks and grinning turnip lanterns. They couldn't scare old Winter's gloom away; Summer has finally blown herself out, like their guttering candles. A quick breakfast, then it's time to leave for work. The road runs like a ribbon back to back with the old railway line, closed in the fifties. On the brow of the hill the prehistoric circle beckons me with stony, crooked fingers. Once an Irish peddlar spent a night up there. Next day his flesh had sunk, his skin was wrinkled, his hair was white. He'd been spirited away to Faeryland, where time passes in the blinking of an eye, and faery wine soothes the restless into blissful immobility. And why not? I'd make a spell to keep the dark at bay if I could. Lack of light makes me dull; cold makes me stupid. November's such a dead month. A blackbird flies out of a sloe bush, a mat of tangled branches but there've been no sloes for the last three years. I have my "Rurntopf" brewing away instead ... blackcurrants, plums and tayberries plump with rum after a bumper crop. Thar'll keep out the cold! And since an old elm blew down in last Winter's gales, we're not short of conventional fuel, either. The tup's in with the ewes now. Some already wear his mark, vivid blue backs ides promising next Spring's lambs. Cattle crowd round their winter feeding trough, their breath milky-white in the cold air. Across the road rooks rise from the sodden ground like seeds from a pod, while hogweed, desiccated and denuded like tattered umbrellas, lines the verge. I reach the harbour. The sea's flat, dull as pewter, wall's been' reinforced again with its annual thick shield, preparing for Winter's offensive. Strategy are important now, sure landmarks on our Winter journey ... Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night, Christmas candles and light.

but the bitumen and rituals with

Down on the shore the November the fifth bonfire waits to be torched. Just as Nature, on her final fling, blazed with

Poge 41


Autumn reds and golds, our flames will burn up the darkness; children will dance round waving sparklers, adults will drink out of cans, and bake potatoes in the embers; the sparks will soar upwards. We'll all be held spellbound, till the spent timbers crumble, and all that's left is ash. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." In the village square council workmen are hosing down the War Memorial. Soon, on Remembrance Sunday, paper poppies will wreathe the memorial's steps like bright pools of blood. There's little other colour now. Hydrangeas have faded to a soft funeral mauve; the grass is dry and brown, tree branches are black. Nature has shut up shop, drawn down the blinds. All that's required now is that we remember the dead and be aware of dying and decay. As if on cue I swerve to avoid a soggy corpse on the road. A fox? It's too big for a rabbit. Ahead lies December and the winter sou'westerlies, Then trees will clench their toes into the ground, bowing beneath the whip; then waves will crack onto the shore, frothing like a pint of heavy. "No way out of Winter except through it," says Hughie Coid, veteran of two world wars, warm in his special seat in the pub with his foaming tankard. At the top of the hill I turn on to the By-pass. A red deer springs out from a copse, observes me coming and waits, head on one side. Winter holds no fears for her. It's just a colder time of year, needing a different approach. She picks a careful way over the dyke and slips skilfully under the trees. Briefly the sun shines, lighting up the puddles.

Unda Mallet: Four Sheep

Page 42


The Silent Earth The sun bakes the silent earth parched grass dries in broken reeds no bird flies, no beast runs, in empty spaces nothing feeds. A child screams in the wilderness the cry hollow in the emptiness a mother's love in nothingness on dry beds no basket floats. There was a time that fed and grew before the heat of a thousand suns when trees grew in cooling winds and in water clear a torrent runs. We ignored an ancient code a basket floats in another time life returns by another road and mutant backs bare the load. Hungry millions on the planet's food aplenty they had none products of a broken race multinationals held the gun.

face

Oil and milk powder the berth in barren soil dry the seeds lost now the world's funds in empty spaces nothing feeds.

Harvey Holron Dumfries and Galloway

Writer

in Residence

Page 45


Herbert

the Black Parrot

Herbert lives in my house And he's not a haPfY parrot. He looks at his tai And wishes he could say more than just "Hallo Herbert". Herbert can do lots of things He eats porridge for breakfast He flies out of his cage And scratches my bum for me. He jumps from the bookcase onto my neck And bites my nose. But Herbert wishes he could argue and swear. He would like to be able To ask for a bath. To get me to wash his back. He would like to be able to chat with another parrot (Or even a budgie would do). I am going to teach Herbert to speak To argue and swear. And then I'm going to let him fly up in the sky. And then I'm going to shoot him To put him out of his misery.

This poem was written by students with learning disabilities at Castle Douglas Activity & Resource Centre. It was facilitated by Annie Borthwick, Day Centre Officer.

Page 46


Anne Darling: Dream

Poge 47


Gretna is the place for weddings, and it was perhaps an oversight that the start of a unique partnership was not formalised there in 1985. All the local authorities of South West Scotland, District and Regional Councils, agreed a partnership for a pilot three year period with the Scottish Arts Council to form the first independent area arts association in Scotland. T en years later meeting the requirements of both funding partners has required tact, skill and invention. On the one hand, local funders want to see fair distribution of opportunities, geographical spread, effective housekeeping and value for money. Central funders concur on housekeeping and value for money and add artistic innovation, education and outreach, equal opportunity and leadership among peers. Sometimes the two agendas agree, but all the while DGAA continues its agreed task of direct provision and arts development. The interests, for example, of the professional theatre or dance company have to be considered alongside the characteristics of communities with which the companies may be involved, a balancing act which is helped by the network of "eo-promoters" who help to choose the program, and who, in their communities, put performances into place in halls and schools. This network of volunteers, ranging from teachers to drama club members, doctor to library assistant, bus driver to pensioner, keeps DGAA in close touch with the varied localities in the region. Over the years it is the co-promoters who have selected the program - and who does not remember with pleasure the tour of "The Steamit' with Elaine C. Smith, or the magical evening in which one couple - Una McLean and Russell Hunter - entertained as many other "Couples". 1987 and 1989 saw the production of large-scale plays, each written for a special community; David Ian Neville caught the flavour of Annari's past in "Back to Limbo" while ick Fearne worked energetically with a large cast and two bands to produce seven packed and memorable performances. Upper Nithsdale recalled the arrival of an exiled film-star whose presence in their community caused great speculation. Colin Mortimer provided the text on this occasion, while Joyce Deans directed a cast drawn from Kirkconnel, Sanquhar and environs. Two professional productions have been mounted, "The Admiral [ones" with Jimmy Chisholm winning a Fringe First in 1993, and "Storylive" featuring Paul Young and Carol Ann Crawford was presented as part of the national campaign to encourage reading in 1995. The first Artist in Residence was appointed in association with the Dumfries Octocentenary, taking Wendy McMurdo into schools and college, and bringing her into contact with practising and would-be artists. One of those influenced by her in those early days was Eric Davidson, now working independently as an arts tutor. Two further visual artists have worked in the areas of mental health and with older people, especially in the Annan area. Nicola Ewing not only developed work with members of the Day Care Centre and residents in Annan Hospital, but was able to work with the Activity and Resource Centre members in partnership with Writer in Residence, Bill Herbert, to achieve a mural and the performance of a play. Vida Page 48


Hedley, as Dance Artist for the region, encouraged everyone to express themselves through movement, while schools were involved in dance events under the "On the Move" season, bringing pupils into contact with African dance, with contemporary dance and with the mathematical science of juggling. Productive partnerships with schools have spread the work of Writers in Residence the length of the region, and in 1995 there are ten active Writers' Groups, of which seven owe their existence to the support of Writers in Residence. The recent consultation day confirmed the independence of these groups, and underlined the benefits of writers meeting with one another and sharing experiences and ambitions. DGAA has recently become concerned with traditional Scottish arts, including the use of Scots in writing, the collecting of songs from older people, and the teaching of these to primary pupils, opportunities for learning traditional dances and a chance to have a say in a Consultation Day on the way forward for tradi tional arts. The Association has facilitated some exceptional events, including the Gracefield showing of the Charles Rennie Macintosh exhibition, the visit of the European Arts Festival tent to Castle Douglas, the visits of the remarkable French Cinernobile, and in line with current interest in traditional music and dance, the recent Ceilidh Circus tour. Four artists based in the region travelled to different parts of Europe to record their impressions, and brought back poems, diaries, designs and painting for exhibition on their return. For only 55p per person per year, DGAA offers a service which it ensures is supported by central government through the Scottish Arts Council, working hard to ensure that every penny invested by Councils in the region is matched by either revenue or project funding from the centre. DGAA's turnover has increased by 40% over the ten years.

In prospect are a fixed term residency for a sculptor in Stranraer who will heir to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the Burgh; a Residency in T raditiona Dance later this year and a possibility of a new post to help developments in the public art area. With the Burns bicentenary in view and the bicentenary of the birth of Carlyle, proposals for permanently sited public art works have burgeoned, and the assistance of a Public Art Officer in managing commissions, competitions and finding matching funs will be of some importance. So the pilot project has become a sustainable organisation, which in turn helps to create opportunities for audiences and artists. For the future there will be more investment in people and in infrastructure with the aim of developing creative opportunities for the whole community - and for those who visit too. DGAA hopes to play an active part through partnership in the region's cultural life in the next ten years. An exhibition of work to mark the tenth anniversary will take place in Kirkcudbright

Article supplied by Jenny Wilson Director, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association Page 49

in October.


Douglas lipton

Egg Collector In the night, she collects his gametes in one hollowed hand, while the other, in her mind's eye, holds a Birdsnest Orchid and feels his revulsion at fecundity. Later, she touches the sore places where subcutaneous issues have prised flesh and left tattoos and swellings where love used to bite. There are days when he never leaves his room and its cabinets. It is his study and museum in the science of brittle secrets. Often he puts her away for rival females, and, while she uses her fingers to heal wounds, he hitches lifts, takes trains and catches ferries. He receives information and does research, wears walking boots and carries certain books, field glasses, tackle, bags, cotton wool, his camera, containers and the needles. He finds where the little birds that spin on the water build their nests, and where the sad rain-geese sit and wait for miracles. He finds their secret places, uncamouflages and takes away small warm eggs from which he caresses spilling away on the ground.

Poge 50

the life,


By convolutions he returns past her and into the room where the trays slide out and on bearings, nudgelessly.

III

In the shuttered dimness he steals looks at his display of unviability, while she aches elsewhere out of his reach.

Goldsworthy Mandala sandstone

twigwater

snowroot

mudstalk

nut

e

thorn

earth

stone c k g

a

grass

water

sun ram

petal

berry wind

stick

leaf

h

bark manchild's

a

light

u

playground

light

cone

twig

feather

mist

snow o c

k

n

hail

puddle

moon

root

pool

rock

sand

c

stalk

moss

e

Ice

b

mud

P

e

o o conefeather

y

barkpuddle

petalmoss

Pog051

thornleaf


Submissions of poetry, short stories, articles (including literary and art criticism) artwork for the Autumn issue should be sent with SAE to:

and

"Markings" 77 High Street Kirkcudbright E-mail

DG6 4JW

I00255.2104@compuserve.com

Graphics (photographs, line drawings or grey scale images) should be no larger than A4 in size. Text must be typewritten to letter quality, or sent in ASCII format on PC readable 3.5" floppy disk. The editors also welcome letters and reserve the right to publish and edit any submitted unless otherwise stated in the correspondence. Please note that as this publication is non profit-making we cannot return that is not accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope.

Page 52

material

Markings issue 1  

The first ever edition of Markings, released in 1995 and including poetry, prose and topical essays. A collector's item.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you