Poem introduction

Before my boy was born - I didn't know it was a boy obviously - but before this child was born I was frightened that I might not like this child who was going to come and live with us. I think this is a thing a lot of expectant mothers fear but you're not allowed to say it. And I thought this person's going to come and live with us for, maybe, twenty years and what if we just don't like each other? But I live by the Tay which has huge reed beds so I thought well if the worst comes to the worst I can always make a wee basket which of course I didn't. Instead I wrote this poem called 'The Tay Moses'.

The Tay Moses

The Tay Moses

What can I fashion
for you but a woven
creel of river-
rashes, a golden
oriole's nest, my gift
wrought from the Firth -

and choose my tide: either
the flow, when, watertight
you'll drift to the uplands -
my favourite hills, held safe
in eddies, where salmon, wisdom
and guts withered in spawn,
rest between moves - that
slither of body as you were born -

or the ebb, when the water
will birl you to snag
on reeds, the river-
pilot leaning over the side:
'Name o God!' and you'll change hands:
tractor-man, grieve, farm-wife
who takes you into her
competent arms

even as I drive, slamming
the car's gears,
spitting gravel on tracks
down between berry-fields,
engine still racing, the door wide
as I run toward her, crying
LEAVE HIM! Please,
it's okay, he's mine.


from Jizzen (Picador, 1999), copyright © Kathleen Jamie 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.

Recordings

Kathleen Jamie Downloads

1View from the Cliffs

£0.89

2The Leaving of an Island

£0.89

3Black Spiders

£0.89

4Peter the Rock

£0.89

5Julian of Norwich

£0.89

6The Way We Live

£0.89

7From The Autonomous Region

£0.89

8The Queen of Sheba

£0.89

9Child with Pillar Box and Bin Bags

£0.89

10Wee Wifey

£0.89

11Perfect Day

£0.89

12Mr and Mrs Scotland Are Dead

£0.89

13Outreach

£0.89

14Arraheids

£0.89

15Hand Relief

£0.89

16Swallows and Swifts

£0.89

17The Sea-house

£0.89

18Rooms

£0.89

19Skeins o Geese

£0.89

20From Ultrasound: Ultrasound, Thaw, Bairnsang, Prayer

£0.89

21The Tay Moses

£0.89

22Crossing the Loch

£0.89

23The Graduates

£0.89

24Mrs McKellar, her martyrdom

£0.89

25Bonaly

£0.89

26Lochan

£0.89

27Rhododendrons

£0.89

28The Well at the Broch of Gurness

£0.89

29St Bride's

£0.89

30Bolus

No preview avaialable.£0.89

31Meadowsweet

£0.89

32Pipistrelles

£0.89

33The hill-track (Frogs)

£0.89

34The Wishing Tree

£0.89

1The Cave of the Fish

£0.89

2The Bower

£0.89

3The Blue Boat

£0.89

4White-sided Dolphins

£0.89

5Basking Shark

£0.89

6The Buddleia

£0.89

7Daisies

£0.89

8The Tree House

£0.89

9The Creel

£0.89

10The Dipper

£0.89

11The Beach

£0.89

12The Dash

£0.89

13Ospreys

£0.89

14Springs

£0.89

15Excavation & Recovery

£0.89

16The Study

£0.89

17Hawk and Shadow

£0.89

18The Stags

£0.89

19The Spider

£0.89

20The Gather

£0.89

21Roses

£0.89

22The Overhaul

£0.89

23An Avowal

£0.89

24The Bridge

£0.89

25Moon

£0.89

26Glamourie

£0.89

27Even the Raven

£0.89

28The Shrew

£0.89

29Glacial

£0.89

30Deliverance

£0.89

31Corporation Road 1, 2

£0.89

32The Heronry

£0.89

33The Glen

£0.89

34Blossom

£0.89

35The Hinds

£0.89

36The Sheilings

£0.89

37The Girls

£0.89

38World Tree

£0.89

39Fianuis

£0.89

40Migratory III

£0.89

41Homespun

£0.89

42The Tradition

£0.89

43Another You

£0.89

Books by Kathleen Jamie