About the Poem
About the poet
George Mackay Brown (1921-1996) was born in the remote Orkney Islands off the north coast of...
They drove to the Market with ringing pockets.
Folster found a girl
Who put wounds on his face and throat,
Small and diagonal, like red doves.
Johnston stood beside the barrel.
All day he stood there.
He woke in a ditch, his mouth full of ashes.
Grieve bought a balloon and a goldfish.
He swung through the air.
He fired shotguns, rolled pennies, ate sweet fog from a stick.
Heddle was at the Market also.
I know nothing of his activities.
He is and always was a quiet man.
Garson went three rounds with a negro boxer,
And received thirty shillings
Much applause, and an eye loaded with thunder.
Where did they find Flett?
They found him in a brazen circle,
All flame and blood, a new Salvationist.
A gypsy saw in the hand of Halcro
Great strolling herds, harvests, a proud woman.
He wintered in the poorhouse.
They drove home from the Market under the stars
Except for Johnston
Who lay in a ditch, his mouth full of dying fires.
from Collected Poems (John Murray, 2005), by permission of Archie Bevan, Literary Executor for the Estate of George Mackay Brown. Recording from the private recordings of Archie Bevan, used with his permission.