Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Ian Hamilton Finlay 1925-2006

An interesting article about Ian Hamilton Finlay in today's Guardian. I'm not sure if his first -- and, I think, only -- collection of traditional, as opposed to concrete, poems is still available, but I thought it might be nice to put a couple of the poems here. If you'd like to read more, hunt out The Dancers Inherit the Party. (Or offer me an obscenely large sum of money for my copy.)


When we are dead we will all be angels
And we will see how many of us can balance on a pin.
I think we may manage seven or eight of us
Angelically balanced, if we all squeeze in.


The best a writer writes is Beautiful.
He should ignore the Mad and Dutiful.

Meanwhile, of course, the Lie is there.
The posh Lie struts in the social air

And writers write it, and it is
Part of the analyst's neurosis.

Well, a writer should defy
It. A writer writes of sky

And other things quite sad and Beautiful.
He should ignore the Mad and Dutiful.

See how lame and blind he goes!
See how he dances on his toes!

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