Carol Argyris lives close to the Moray Firth and within sight of far northern hills.


She has had poems, short stories and flash fiction published in various magazines and on-line sites. She has also self-published three collections of local folk tales. Carol is strongly attracted by myths, folk tales and folk lore from all lands.


This is her debut collection.














138 x 216mm


36 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-50-3












In ‘A Merry Aggregate of Atoms’, the past is interwoven with the present, the celebration of family, life-enhancing moments of humour and good food. The inheritance of legend and folklore is celebrated, ancient stories that still act as catharsis for individual hurt. This is a collection of moments that goes beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary...




‘These are poems from a life fully lived. Through Greek mythology to the honeyed taste of homemade baklava and the scent of olives, here are poems of love and loss. It is a joy to encounter poems of such maturity, freshness and strength.’

Kate Ashton  


‘Often earthy and intimate, sometimes dark, the poems in this  collection will resonate long after you have turned the last page.’ Andy Allan  


‘This debut pamphlet from Carol Argyris explores the complexities of relationships with the world, friends, family and others. Poems mix myth, food, the human spirit and small seaside towns as proof each of us has a story to tell as the weave of past and present is viewed by a keen observer.’

Eileen Carney Hulme







A Merry Aggregate of Atoms


Carol Argyris



Ivan paints trees.

Tall slender trees of no particular genus.

As thin and greyish brown as his small body

they stand uneasily on foreign soil,

trunks ending bluntly where they hit the earth,

they balance, no roots descending.


Amongst these precarious trees

move cowled figures, faded, lost,

wanting that other, brighter, country.

Colours on his northern palette

are sluiced by rain,

turning to mud.


He empties sorrow onto his canvases

making palpable his longing.

I wonder if he cried

when torn from his native land.

Did he scream like the mandrake root

killing those around him with despair?


Ivan smiles now, carefully showing gratitude,

is preternaturally polite,

paints, is sold, is hung

in Galleries: Columbo. London. Paris.

Artist in exile.

Very attractive copy for the Press.

No-one notices

the lack of roots.




Painting Findhorn Bay


If I were a painter I would need variants of grey,

with a squeeze of Chinese white

to light the underside of clouds,

silver the intricate filigree of waves

scribbled by tide and current

on a mercurial bay.


A sliver of blue between air and water,

stolen from cobalt sails

furled on patient yachts,

their prows sniffing the north-westerly.


The rising land behind I’d put in with charcoal,

smudge with a wet thumb,

suggesting veils of rain.


Around the forest

a cuticle of sand

is slowly erased.




65% Water


Push your fingers into the sand

below the tide line.

The sea will rise to find you

for it has never truly let you go.

Without water your thoughts will cease.

Sentience will fail.


Water ebbs and flows in you,

It disassembles, rearranges molecules.

It erodes, shifts, evaporates, reforms.

On its last cycle, when the sun claims it for ever,

the hot winds will come

to feed on the dust of your bones.


The water wants you to imagine that.


A Merry Aggregate of Atoms


Before Time

an accidental coalescence of gases

danced into form one semi-conscious molecule

which rolled in cosmic breakers

through shoreless seas

until it found it could propel itself

and make some choices.


The Thought

behind this merry aggregate of atoms,

the gathering crowd,

had tried a variety of creations

rejecting each with an impatient hand

until ours emerged.


Two arms, two legs, one brain,

(the second at the tail had proved a poor design).


We queued in millions to be born.

arriving, not like Aphrodite gracefully

full-formed upon the half shell,

but grey-slimed, damp and raw

thrust painfully into rubble, and the sound of sirens.


Before I took a breath

I may have heard Thought sigh:

‘This experiment has no need of me to judge

its imperfections.’




The Hair Shirt My Mother Knitted Me


Cloudy garments fit for a princess

grew from her quick needles,

fell like snow into her lap.

She dreamed

of her little daughter

on Sunday-go-to-church-day

dressed in white Angora,

blonde curls a gleaming halo,

round rosy cheeks.

Doing her proud.


Was it the long-haired wool

or the unhappiness she knitted into it

that caused my skin to itch and burn,

my face to flame,

my airways swell and close

as the frothy net enveloped me?

I’m so sorry mother

for my ungrateful body

that couldn’t make you happy.






Una was always last to leave a party

so it was no surprise to us

when the mechanism failed

to take away her coffin

to close the curtains on her.

We were forced to turn our backs.

To walk away.

It felt impolite.

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