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August 19, 2010

In Memory of Edwin Morgan

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What is that place, my father and my mother,
you have gone to, I think of, in the ashes
of the air and not the earth, better to go there
than under stones or in any remembrance
but mine and that of others who once loved you,
fewer year on year. It is midsummer
and till my voice broke, Summer suns are glowing
I loved to sing and One fine day to hear from
some thin wild old gramophone that carried
its passion across the Rutherglen street, invisibly
played again and again - I thought of that person,
him or her, as taking me to a country
far high sunny where I knew to be happy
was only a moment, a puttering flame in the fireplace
but burning all the misery to cinders
if it could, a sift of dross like what we mourn for
as caskets sink with horrifying blandness
into a roar, into smoke, into light, into almost nothing.
The not quite nothing I praise it and I write it.

Edwin Morgan died 19th August 2010 (see good piece by Sarah Crown at link above)

Edwin Morgan in 1950s

I met Eddie Morgan a few times and invited him to read in Huddersfield for the 1995 World Poetry Festival (Andy Darby now of the Lancaster Litfest also played a huge role here). I was very fond of Eddie and his poetry and translations. He was 75 when he read for the festival and had all the energy and elan of someone far younger; he was not world-weary in the slightest, but illuminated with life and full of love. Over dinner we managed to discuss Mandelstam, Mayakovsky, Blok, Montale, Baudelaire, the Scottish Poetry Renaissance, freshwater ecology, mathematics and the varieties of midge found in Fife.  He was and is a hero, and I urge you to read him. I love this photo of him from the '50s (courtesy of the Scottish Poetry Library). Goodbye and good rest, Eddie.

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