Snowdrop Walk

Skirting Inverleith pond I pass a pair of Canada
geese, black with patches of white on throat and tail,
protecting their young; and later in the Botanics
(the geriatrics, myself among them, and the electric

buggies out in force), see on a bench overlooking
the snowdrop walk two figures in white headgear
and skirts, under capacious black cloaks, clearly
the vesture of some order. My tentative greeting

receives a cheery ‘hello’, rich brown faces breaking
into luminous smiles, though their eyes are invisible
behind sunglasses. Later I meet them at the main gates
admiring a silver lime, hands folded in their laps

as if in meditation, revealing slivers of white. They
move on, leaving me wondering whether my journey
will lead to darkness or light; where they themselves
are heading; and who will be soothed by their blessing?


Underwood, Stewart Conn’s fourth pamphlet of poems from Mariscat, delves further into the poet’s central concerns: the natural world, family, love, and the ephemeral nature of life.

"With life restricted to a view through a window, Conn’s poems proffer momentary joy. The cheerful chaos of doves crash-landing into a cherry tree. A symphony played full blast over empty gardens. Everyday objects – an ancient typewriter, a blue-fly, a doll – take on new significance. ‘Underwood’, the vale of tears near Hell where Dante’s Virgil walked, is also the typing machine Conn composed his first play on. Its keys are damaged but they still offer ‘vital clues’ for lively, entertaining work still to be done…
Conn’s task has always been to lead us back to our own impermanence and fragility, the facts of life that make us realise we are still alive in the world. In the last poem [Bowing Out] he hopes that his new ending will be au revoir, not adieu! Amen to that."

—David Manderson
The Bottle Imp

"These poems have such warmth and lightness, and yet such syntactic control …they contain all the creatures of the air – birds, ghosts, angels… even music floating on the breeze."
—Kate Hendry


          Underwood front cover
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