Thoughts ahead of the day of the dead

A metal claw crumbles chunks of their grandfather’s Govan school as my boys begin nursery just yards away – I wonder, would he have been glad or angry that his grandsons will grow up where he did? After he ran away to London, and had me there? Are we a snake, eating our own tale? My Uncle Eddie likes the circularity, but my father preferred straight lines. Although two of his last paintings have a frame contained within them, as if he wanted to paint outside it. Perhaps that’s what I’m doing now. I hope so.

The tearing hand is a joy my kids, as it is to me. I tried to mourn the history and sandstone, but could only see the sick-green inner walls, the rotting wooden rafters, and remember how much he had hated them, the bitter men who told him he was nothing. On my walls hang a series of colour shouts against them; and in my pocket, on a silver stick, his songs, to tell them they were wrong.

About Pedalling Poetry

Writer Ellen McAteer is founder of Tell It Slant poetry bookshop in Glasgow, General Manager at Poetry London magazine. She was a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, and a mentee of the Clydebuilt Verse Apprenticeship Scheme, under Alexander Hutchison, and a singer with the band Stone Tape, as well as a solo singer who won a BBC Radio competition with her song Blue Valentine. She was Director of the Poetry Trust, which ran the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, a director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, a visiting lecturer at Oxford University's MSt in creative writing, and a member of the core group of performers at the Hammer and Tongue spoken word collective in Oxford. She is a qualified Librarian.
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