Featured Writer – Ian McDonough (13/07/2015)

A. C. Clarke writes:

I am delighted to welcome Ian McDonough as our featured writer. Ian is one of the many fine poets whom the Federation is lucky enough to have among its members. Some of you will have heard him read his pitch-perfect poem Jesus In The Woods (below) at the Mirrorball recently. Its enviable lightness of touch only enhances its poignancy.

Ian McDonough was born and brought up in Brora on the East Coast of Sutherland. His first full collection Clan MacHine was shortlisted for Scottish First Book of the Year, and his latest collection published by Mariscat in November 2014– A Witch Among The Gooseberries was runner up for the national Callum Macdonald Award.

His poems have recently appeared in Poetry Review, New Writing Scotland, The Herald and The Scotsman.

A member of Shore Poets, Ian lives in Edinburgh with his partner and daughter. When not writing he works as a mediator and trainer.

Jesus in the Woods

I used to think that Jesus lived
in the woods, with leaves
in his hair, his bare brown feet
padding swiftly
along secret, shaded paths.

I thought if I could sneak down
from my room
to the midnight forest
I would hear him singing psalms
as he ran through the trees
executing one miracle after another.

When I learned from my teacher
that he lived in a land
of dust and sand and stone I felt sorry
for the trees – and for Jesus too.
But mostly for myself, knowing that
from now on, my midnight
would be quieter,
so much less interesting.

Still, in the wind-blown early hours,
I sometimes hear, among
the sighing of the rowan and the birch,
quick footsteps,
a snatch of holy song.

© Ian McDonough 2015

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