Here are some of my favourite passages from this impressive debut collection by Scottish poet Em Strang:
The sunlight is squeezing her, squeezing the field-grass
until her blue dress is a distant boat
and the field is the sea....
...more night on the fields than she's seen before,
the mountains hovering like hawks.
It's dawn when I find her,
grief-stiff, the rooks lifting and re-settling,
lifting and re-settling,
the sun beginning to burn.
who slide from air to water
as though the sea were an open door.
end of "Getting Ready to Dance"
You swing the bucket like the hand of a friend.
from "Riparian Zone"
It was a long winter and the rain came and never went, like a baby's first cry.
from "Big Davie"
Black nettles cringe at his gate,
old home harled with birdshit.
opening stanza of "Man of the Machars,
...his smile tells the way the river bends
and how he crossed it....
You can't be sure
but the figure walking over seems to be singing,
mouth wide like a warm dark stone and then the song
coming close, as though the singer's inside you--
you're the lone singer!
...each building flanking something beyond
the mind's eye, something flickering inside an opening.
Never too late. A soul. A small black purse.
from "Tog Muhoni"
You can purchase Bird-Woman directly from the publisher here.