Two poems by Roderick Watson

Today I’m very proud to host two previously unpublished, new poems by Roderick Watson. Watson lives in Stirling and is an Emeritus Professor of English Studies (University of Stirling) with a particular focus on Scottish literature. His most recent poetry collection is Into the Blue Wavelengths (Luath Press). Watson is busy at present working on a ‘New and Selected Poems’ volume.




I was teaching again last night

talking of poetry and making

meaning out of music and music

out of meaning    with a red-headed

girl telling me about bowel cancer

for some reason and Francis Bacon

and the terror of the flesh.

(Where did that come from?)


And it all made sense.   the words

the dream    the unfolding

lines of the poem

and a stillness in the room

when it was read aloud

with what is conjured up

as the Greeks say

when the god descends.


Otherwise we are just stuff.



Left Unfinished


I dreamed of the dead man who came to lunch

in the country house on a study weekend

who talked of books through the ages   what lasts

what doesn’t and what was left unfinished.


Years ago.  Where did he come from

my ambassador of the undone?

It was vivid at the time as everything is

(en passant as they say) like the grass


raging on the slope outside the library

running down to the stream

or the books on the shelves unopened

and family portraits of the lost.


(Their only son died in the war.)

Between the trees the pathway runs

to a river with salmon driven

to brave the rocks against the flow.


Where do they come from

these sudden returns?

The old friends you can’t rejoin

the regrets you had and left behind.


Why do they come back after

so many years?  At night.

when you aren’t looking?

More lasting than bronze.