Poet, teacher & critic
Familiar sights to me of course - my hometown. Odd to think that the ruination happened not over centuries but mainly in one day, long ago, when, after two days of fervent preaching, John Knox led a large posse of men along the road from the church in the town centre and they knocked it down in the name of anti-catholicism. Catholicism - which via the pilgrim tourist trade had made the town rich and (supposedly) decadent - disappeared from the town for hundreds of years. Even in the 1910s, some Irish labourers holding an ad hoc mass were stoned and abused. A Catholic presence in the town did not reappear until well into the 1920s at least.
It was healthy to avoid events when I was exhausted, as I find that tiredness, and emotion in poetry, bring "poetic epiphanies" on me. At least this year like two years ago, my work was done by then for the most part, and this time it was happiness rather than tears, although tears were never all that far away. I had already befriended Carrie Etter before I heard her reading, the experience of which lifted me up and wrapped me in a warm, soft blanket while she sang to me of a Siren, which told me that I'd never really been alone, despite everything.
Dear Carrie,I wonder if I might have your permission to use one of your photographs on a church worship aid this Sunday. I will be preaching at St Andrew Presbyterian Chuch in Renton Washington this Sunday. I attended St Andrews university and I want to talk about the cathedral there as a "thin place" for me and explore the communities presence there and the endurance of the divine even as we try and fail to name it in bricks and mortar or other constructs. Your picture gives a sense of what it is to walk in that place. I would credit you and your blog of course. Please let me know. Thanks. Maggie Breen.
Maggie, I'd be delighted to have my work used thus. Thank you.