Drop in by Margaret Royall

Yes, it’s 2022 and we back again with a drop in by Margaret Royall, as she reflects on a poem (or two!) from her Immersed in Blue (Impspired Press, 2021)…

…First of all I would like to express my sincere thanks to Nigel for inviting me to drop in and talk about poetry from my new collection, Immersed in Blue published by Steve Cawte at Impspired Press

I have chosen two interlinked haiku sequences, Late Summer turns to autumn and Land and Seascape from my Iona Journal Haibun of September 2021.

I have been extremely fortunate to visit the Scottish Isle of Iona annually since 2012  (apart from 2020 due to Covid) to attend a writing retreat there run by poet/author Angela Locke MA. For me this has become a special place, a home from home and has inspired much of my poetry over the years. After my return in 2021 it seemed fitting that I should record my many experiences there by publishing some of the work gathered in my journals. Immersed In Blue is dedicated to the island and to the owners of the Argyll Hotel where we stay for the course.

In these haiku sequences my intention was to give a series of snapshots of the most striking features of the Inner Hebridean Isle of Iona – the things a tourist becomes acquainted with when spending a longer period of time here. (The day-tripper coming just for a few hours and rushing to visit the famous Abbey of St Colomba would, in my opinion, probably be unaware of them). I refer to nature, the island’s flora and fauna, the weather, especially rain ( you can experience four seasons in one day here), St Colomba, the Lewisian gneiss stone, which cannot fail to impress with its vivid colouring and diamond-like shards  (see notes below). I also allude to the numinous quality of what many people experience here; a mystical place where the air is described as thin, allowing rare glimpses into a spiritual dimension, which frequently affects visitors in a profound and often quite unexpected way. Being on Iona can give the impression of being disconnected from the rest of the world, walking in deep time, liminal space. It’s an experience you don’t get in everyday life and one that you never forget.

You may also be struck by my use of unfamiliar vocabulary, explained in the glossary below. This was deliberate on my part. They are either old words or dialect words, which can so easily fall into disuse and be erased from our language completely. My interest in such words stems from being  introduced via Matthew M C Smith’s Black Bough Poetry to the eminent work of Robert Macfarlane, (best known for his books on landscape, nature, place, people and language, which include The Old Ways, Landmarks, The Lost Words and Underland.). As a linguist I have always had a deep fascination for words, dialects and their usage, and I was immediately drawn to Macfarlane’s research and writing. These words sit comfortably in imagist-style poetry, giving immediacy to descriptions of place by showing not telling – something poets are constantly admonished to do!  They  are useful for giving quick-fire impressions. This appealed to me and I saw that the use of haiku lends itself to this imagist style of writing – hence their inclusion.. In ‘Immersed in Blue’ they form part of a series of  Haibun* (see below), which were submitted as my annual end of course projects.

Glossary:  

Haibun – is a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and frequently includes autobiographydiaryessay, prose poem and travel journal. Blatters – puddles (Yorkshire) or ‘to rain heavily and noisily. Clag– fog, mist or low-level cloud. Smeuse – gap in bush or hedge made by passing of small animals. Feetings – footprints/tracks left by birds / creatures in snow, wet mud or sand. Siling – moving downward with flowing, gliding movement, esp of rain. Lewisian gneiss –  a suite of Precambrian, metamorphic rock, outcropping in the northwestern part of Scotland.

Next week read my review of the vivid ‘Immersed in Blue’ by Margaret Royall.

Unmuted, the latest collection by Nigel Kent is available NOW for £7 + P&P (£1.90) UK only, for more details, including how to order, click here and message him using the contact form.

3 thoughts on “Drop in by Margaret Royall

  1. Great explanation, Margaret. I too love Robert McFarlane, having been introduced to him by my MA dissertation tutor when he suggested I read Landmarks. From there I was also introduced to the late Roger Deakin, Robert’s friend.

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  2. Always a learning experience when considering Margaret’s very special work with her mastery of form and ostensibly but not literally obtuse language! The blend of Haibun and Haiku offers Margaret a host of opportunities to explore a fascinating, magical and mystical place. I tip my hat to Nigel again for providing the platform which allows a window into the poet’s methodology. Great job both!

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