John Glenday

Poet, Drumnadrochit, Highland

John Glenday was born in Broughty Ferry in 1952. He is a poet whose lyrically delicate and emotionally powerful poetry combines the customary and the fantastic. His first collection, The Apple Ghost, won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and his subsequent collections Undark and Grain, were both Poetry Book Society Recommendations.

A Westray Prayer

i.m. Mike and Barbara Heasman


Let us now give thanks
for these salt-blown

wind-burned pastures
where outgrass and timothy
shrink from the harrow of the sea

where Scotland at long last
wearies of muttering its own name
where we may begin

to believe we have always known
what someone in his wisdom
must have meant

when he gave us everything
and told us nothing.


John Glenday
from Grain (London: Picador, 2009)


My Documenting Britain project involves collaborating with film makers to create poetry-films which, through a conjunction of image and words, celebrate the complex relationship between landscape, literature, history and identity.

What My Father Didn’t Tell Me

language
he said

that dead space
far side

of our garden wall
where willow-herb

thrives on negligence
and the best

of my apples
fell.

John Glenday

An Apple, a Boulder, a Mountain

With this in her hand, everything is possible: mountains will wither into fruit, fruit will blossom into stones, stones will listen for…

John Glenday

The Migrants

Grid Reference NH84324 51149

We paused that morning by a stand of alder and willow, where the Nairn buckles and curves, unravelling north-east towards the Firth.

Sunlight was scribbling October in the water. One by one the last birds let down, drawing their seams of thirst across a pool, then banking over the trees…

John Glenday