GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Andy Allan is a native of Strathspey in Scotland and currently lives beside Culbin Forest, near Forres, on the Moray Firth. His outlook on life reflects his highland upbringing. He draws inspiration from Celtic myth, the landscape, the natural world and life and in general.
The Highland landscape and wildlife feature in a significant number of his poems, which have been widely published in magazines, anthologies and
on-line. He has also been a prize-winner in a number of competitions. Andy has read on local-radio, at numerous festivals and other venues.
A highlight appearance was reading at ‘Celtic Connections’ in Glasgow in 2015.
His pamphlet collection, “Breath of Dragons,” was published by award-winning specialist poetry publishers Indigo Dreams in 2015.
Although no Doric poems feature in his new collection, Andy is also a prize-winner and a published writer in the Doric of Strathspey.
His website can be found at: aeallan.com
Cover artwork by Ronnie Goodyer
138 x 216mm
£9.99 + P&P UK
Within the Slide of Wind
‘Within the Slide of Wind’ features aspects of Scotland’s highland landscape and its environment. The natural and the supernatural loom large in this new collection, touching on the lives and legends of those who have lived in that landscape in the past, those who have walked the hills, the shores and the wildwood before us.
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"Andy Allan’s poems are living, breathing meditations on nature, landscape and seascape. His is an authentic, intuitive voice celebrating the history, mountains, glens, rivers, and wildlife of his native Scotland. There is light and shade, strength and fragility as seasons turn . . . as we too are imbued with his sense of belonging."
Eileen Carney Hulme
"Andy Allan is a poet who makes a real connection to
the Scottish landscape. His subjects are not simply bit players, but central to the places, real and imagined, he takes us as readers. I can almost hear his footsteps
in the mist."
"Andy Allan is a dab hand with an expert verb, and often a beautifully turned noun. You do not need many adjectives when you can write like this:Anticipation whistles on the wind,the freshness of excitement’s edge."
Editor - Happenstance Press
Within the Slide of Wind
Birches lift and swell in swirling
flutters as the trees sing,
their voices like wave-dragged shingle,
shush, shush, in the constant rush of air.
A grey-white blanket hides the sun,
obscures the high blue heavens,
as I walk this slick and empty road,
in the aftermath of rain.
Soft light flickers on drops of liquid
silver, flashing, dripping, dangling,
glittering like jewels.
Air slips through bouncing boughs to
set rustling yellow leaves a-dancing.
Chittering chaffinches chase through
fragmented thought, cavort in shoals,
dart into tossing tree-shadow.
Like magic they reappear, slipping
through bowed wires, swooping
over grim grey buildings,
skating on glossy slate.
Breathing deep my spirits soar,
invigorated on this wild dreich day,
this glorious singing cold wet land,
this place where I belong.
Learning from You
From as far back as I can remember,
you listened with patience to my quick
words, as we laughed and played together.
So many times across the years you’d
draw from me some ill-thought stance
then make some comment,
leave me to absorb and ponder.
You never told me I was wrong
nor laughed at youth’s delusions,
you never told me I was right.
You set in motion trains of thought
that helped me grow, fed false argument,
tested me with nonsense, raised my ire.
Reluctance grew to accept your words
or any words unscreened by thought,
I see that now. You forced me to ask
the question, Why? taught me to
analyse the motives of others,
to balance actions and outcomes.
I learned to consider all points-of-view,
not to jump to easy judgements, that
the majority are not always right.
I began to distrust the press, to see through
the lies peddled for vested interests and
to question motives, especially my own.
From you I began to glean tolerance,
I learned empathy without knowing it.
You lent me life’s map. You sowed the seeds.
Shadows of Belonging
Dark skerries glisten on the world’s edge,
delight surging through white spume.
Overhead, a gull soars with your endless laughter,
sailing with me through long, blue yesterdays.
In rising winds and ocean agitation,
huge breakers pound on silver sands where
shifting shingle rattles in a churning rush,
retreating hush . . . before they crash once more.
In dunes, where gale-tugged grasses flail,
my mind drifts under scudding clouds,
shifts through lonely shafts of sunlight.
Memories gather, hovering at my shoulder
as I taste again your sea-salt-breath.
On a stiffening breeze I see your dissolving
footprints scrawled on wind-whipped sand.
Clouds race with wind-shadows,
biting sand-storms scour the empty beach,
unable to erase our shared past.
We will always belong in this place
immersed in its isolation,
rooted to this rugged shore.
A stark silhouette
stamped on sky’s deep blue.
Eyes absorb stars,
emerging, fading, pulsing
tiny white seeds spinning,
scattered on indigo
floating in the void.
in night’s cool breath,
slipping misty whispers
of white noise thrumming
through the universe.
shiver on neck-hairs,
seeding a silent smile.
The Tolbooth, Forres
Puddled reflections, flashes of green,
red and amber pierce black-velvet,
wash the night with gaudy brightness.
Funnelling through wynds and closes,
wind-songs whisper of days gone by.
No horses clop on cobble stones,
no hawkers haunt this High Street.
Only name-shadows evoke the toun’s past,
Hangman’s Well, Castle Hill, Bogton.
Enduring, the Tolbooth stands
rooted in this place, a symbol
of continuity and permanence.
The stocky building towers, dark,
staunch, immovable in driving rain.
Bastion against time’s slow passage,
brooding in the town’s living heart,
remembering the glory-days.
Ill-used through the gloom of years,
claimed at last by those who care.