Thoughts ahead of the day of the dead II

It’s coming up for a year since my Dad died, and though sadness comes and goes, the happiness has multiplied, too. A measure of healing has begun, after the draft has been a long time mixing. Some of his last words to my sister, when she tried to tell him how much she loved him, were “Come on, let’s not be morbid”. So when my brother asked me if it was ok for him to head off to a songwriting retreat that weekend, I nearly laughed. I can’t think of anything Dad would have liked to hear more than that Jim is going to be forced to write songs, except perhaps that Susie is leaving Glasgow to run her own business, escaping from working for the man at last. Meanwhile, I’ve got a gig at the end of the month supporting two great blues guitarists, Sleepy Eyes Nelson and Craig Hughes. Very excited about that – mixed with regret that Dad can’t hear them, and play with us. There’s a whole community of blues musicians in Glasgow, growing into a scene I would have loved to see him join. It’s at a lovely teahouse in an old mews lane, very relaxed and cosy place down a lane with a bookshop, a record shop and an antique clock shop on the way, and lovely little flats above with a community terrace garden by the river. So of course developers are mad to tear it down and build a monolith instead – I’m going to a protest march Saturday (

Heigh ho, nothing gold can stay, as the poet said. But isn’t that why we pause to watch the sun rise?



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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