Category: Uncategorized

Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

Declaration

I was at the opening event of Celtic Connections Yesterday, to hear a commissioned piece inspired by the Declaration of Arbroath and played by the Grit Orchestra which seems to include almost every musician in every genre in Scotland. Words by Liz Lochhead were included: ‘A declaration is a clear and open statement about who…
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January 17, 2020 0

Last Blog of the Decade

I am not going to do a ‘state of the nation’ piece, because the state of the whole world, frankly, is ‘hell mend ye’, and I am so grateful to the millions of people I know who are saying loudly and forcefully, ‘we will not allow this to go on’. You are, literally, holding me…
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December 31, 2019 0

Because the Land Are We – A Review of Balefire by Jim Carruth

Polygon 2019 isbn 978 1 84697 500 4 81 pp. £8.99 If you look up the word ‘balefire’ – once you get past the role-playing games inspired by the Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels – you will find that in Scotland, it is a purification fire. Houses were cleaned in spring and the…
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November 19, 2019 0

Turning into Winter

Winter here is a time of opening out, rather than closing in. When the leaves begin to fall, great gaps open in our horizons and we can see further out across the fields and towards the hills out eastward and the castle to the west. Evenings and mornings, skeins of geese fly over the house,…
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November 8, 2019 0

Back to the Source

I am reading Seamus Heaney’s Preoccupations, a paperback first published in 1985. Some of it was later reproduced in Finders Keepers in 2002, particularly the essays Mossbawn and the very timely Belfast, which recalls what it was like to live there at the height of the Troubles (how can we think of those days returning?),…
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October 24, 2019 2

Introducing Burnedthumb

When I first developed an online presence, this is what it looked like. I was providing authentic Latin for a computer game my daughter was developing – Latin, it turns out, was made for alien court cases – and I thought I might do a lot more of this, as well as translations. It never…
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September 26, 2019 0

A Charm of the Haggard Herbs

When I was translating the Old English Charm of Nine Herbs, someone talked about writing a modern one, and I took it as a dare. This year I have been out and about in the haggard – a strip of land between the road and the river, and now you can see them all.


July 17, 2019 0

50 Years Ago

Robert MacFarlane was talking on Twitter this week about herbals, and asked if anyone had one or used one, so I said I had made one and then I thought it might be interesting to show you mine. I suppose it is fifty years ago, give or take, since I created my first herbal. You…
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July 4, 2019 0

Inspired By Herbs

Last month I began a series of letters called Inspired By Herbs. It includes a featured herb, and a related poetry prompt. Here is an extract from the first, inspired by chickweed: Latin name stellaria media. Other English names bird’s eye, chickensmeat,  cluckenweed, mischievous jack, skirt buttons, tongue grass, murrenScottish names chickenweed, arva/arvi chickenwir in ShetlandGaelic fliodh/fliogh (affliction)Until last year, I…
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April 10, 2019 0