Two poems by Leonard McDermid, Michael Marks award-winning poet

EDINBURGH, UK – 10th May 2018: Leonard McDermid was announced as winner of the 2017 Callum MacDonald Memorial award for his book of poetry, Landway. Lady Marks presented the Callum MacDonald Quaich during an awards ceremony held at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

2018 Poets in Residence Program

Poet Leonard McDermid, this year’s winner of the “Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets” (a.k.a. the Callum MacDonald Award) in Edinburgh, participated in CHS’s Michael Marks Poets in Residence Program for two weeks this past summer. During his stay in Greece, he visited Ancient Olympia, Athens, and Nafplio, where he participated in a number of activities prepared by the CHS.
In Ancient Olympia, as part of the closing ceremony for this year’s IOA-CHS joint symposium, McDermid read the two following poems to a rapt audience:


Yes. I remember Meadowtop
That day, because that long forenoon
We’d raked the drying hay and stooked hard
Unceasingly. In heat of June.

The shade called. Flagons and cold tea.
Shadowed by willows we sat
In the quiet coolness. What we felt
Was weariness – simple as that.

And Arnold, thinking out loud,
Said: “Unusual, if you ask me,
That train should have carried through
And not be stopping in that way.”

He’d been boy porter some years
Before and knew about these things.
Just then, catching that minute, the train set off.
And afterwards, the blackbirds’ songs.

From AND FOR THAT MINUTE, Incident at Adlestrop Station (G.W.R. Stichill Marigold Press, 2009).


The old landway,


A white moon casts the elms’ shadows

Across the future years.

From LANDWAY (Stichill Marigold Press, 2017).