Is winter never going to end? Seeking hope in poetry, Fay Young finds a kind of answer in Christina Rossetti’s poem Another Spring, whose sad-sweet longing seems to capture the mood of the moment.
‘I have loved the Rite of Spring since I first heard it, more than 30 years ago. Visceral, violent stuff. Spring, like human birth, does not deliver easily. Stravinsky delighted in the cracking ice that signalled the bursting of new life into Russia’s frozen landscape.’
‘How often are citizens actively included in the decision-making? For Haringey, read those parts of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and every other vibrant city that attracts the developers’ eye’. Fay Young on the key urban question: how can people reclaim the city landscape?
Advice For Our Times, a pop up event at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery on Thursday 8 February, highlights gaps in advice, support and social services for people suffering adversity of many different kinds.
‘Revisiting the collection now, it carries a comforting message in a winter of rampaging flu, overcrowded hospitals, and political uncertainty about how to heal the health service. Love, life, birth and death – the great levellers. We are all ‘common, one of the flock’. (Happy new year!).’
Nothing in education is simple. Professor Emer Smyth throws light on the complex interplay between gender and class at school and urges special investment in support for working class boys.
This year’s Sceptical Scot poem for Christmas – so soon since the last one – is a poignantly, tenderly beautiful poem by Christine de Luca.
‘But here and now, for sanity sake, I abandon the endless stream of anger in the digital world, stuff my silenced phone in my back pocket, pick up a pair of secateurs and venture out into the fresh air’. On Douglas, Atholl and ‘..celebrating a natural world without borders, the spirit of human adventure, and offering a fragrant protection against bad politics’.
‘Throughout my life those Anglo-Scots-Irish links have pulled complicated strands of loyalty, plucking a confusion of romantic emotional responses. Who the hell am I?’
‘Poetry readings were performed here for Refugee Week. Poetry postcards offered to passers by on National Poetry Day. Poetry twirled on willow stakes in the garden. Poetry projected on to the plinth of the Melville Monument and hung on buildings under construction around the square’. But no more…?