Landscape speaks of poets. a response to “Landscape and I” by Norman MacCaig

Landscape speaks of poets.
a response to “Landscape and I” by Norman MacCaig

The thing is, climb it.
The thing is, know the lark and hawk
are portents on the tongues of trees.
The thing is, plant yourself in me
in all the ways you can:
plunge in – the loch will tell
a tale of me while skinning you alive.

This is the thing.  The thing is
what the crab and foxcub say
when you’re not listening.
The thing is you are tiny,
flitting like a moth across
the eyelid of my ancient night.
My rock and blood and claw and spite –

that is the thing you’re digging for,
sunk to the wrist in clart and sweat,
your fingers brittle-white as chalk.
The thing is, climb the mountain.
Come and stand at my front door
and see the thing I truly am.
Then we’ll talk.


Claire Askew’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems, the 2013 Salt Book of New Writing, and Be The First To Like This: New Scottish Poetry.  She was the winner of the inaugural International Salt Prize for Poetry (2012) and runner up at the inaugural Edwin Morgan Award (2014).  Her debut collection, This changes things, is forthcoming from Bloodaxe.

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