John Glenday – The Firth

 that morning, from our bench by the ranges,
 we followed a single north sea wave
 driving upriver, too far away to touch,
 too close to bear, and at the bar, because
 the shallows gather there, watched how it rose
 above itself, proud and triumphant, as I did once
 until the wind, that white blade carding
 the winter from the firth, cut through,
 feathering its crest to a brief astonished haze
 then sent it withering back towards whatever
 it had always been, or where it came from. 

'the bar'

The Firth is the Firth of Tay, where John Glenday grew up and now lives again. He set out to describe this corner of Scotland but found he couldn’t get beyond Carnoustie/Monifieth and environs; the poems grew from natural focus to character focus and ended up as a sequence that talks, a little perhaps, about the people who live and lived there – his family in particular. Many of the poems are what he calls ‘worked memories’.

‘Glenday’s poems come from a quietness, an unrhetorical clarity; they have the sound of someone contemplating – more a listening than a speaking.’ Andrew Greig.

John Glenday is the author of four collections. Grain was short-listed for the Griffin International Poetry Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. The Golden Mean won the 2016 Roehampton Poetry Prize. His Selected Poems is recently out from Picador Poets.

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