Poem introduction

This is about my son, who is being breastfed, but was old enough to be introduced to a spoon, which he regarded as a plaything.

To Andrew, Before One

He holds a spoon, certain of what he holds:
nothing more solid-certain than his spoon:
fat clenching fist and hard thing clenched, the same:
no separation between noun and noun.

He waves the spoon, certain of what he waves:
lost in the rhythm of the waving weight
the small face is remote and yet intent:
to feel, think, dream and do are all the same:
no separation between verb and verb.

He drinks his mother: sweetness is a tree
whose branches swing and feed him:
no separation between noun and verb.

“You shall not” makes him known he is not God,
dividing think from feel and dream from do,
creating adjectives like good and bad,
pronouns like you and me and mine and those,
till home is a place minced into tiny words,
the spoon a perilous thing no longer his
and food the bait of an enormous trap
he hardly will accept as universe.


from Old Negatives: Four Verse Sequences (Cape, 1989), © Alasdair Gray 1989, used by permission of the author

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1Biography

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2Autobiography

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3Marriage

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4To Andrew, Before One

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5Perspectives

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6Woundscape

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7Awakening

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8Unlovely

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9Not Striving

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10Lyrical End

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11Old Moments

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12Winter Housekeeping, 1990

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13Photograph 1956

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14Waiting in Gallway

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15Far North of Dover Beach

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16Postmodernism

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17Genesis

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18Dictators

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19A Censor Complains

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20The Naming of Britain

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21Moonlight

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22Vocation

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23Last Request

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24An Author's Lament

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