Poem introduction

Here [is the first of] four poems which mention, to some extent, my second wife, Morag McAlpine, who died in 2014.

Winter Housekeeping, 1990

In weather like this the homeless can hardly live
and every year sees more of them, none of them me.
I give to beggars of course, though charity
prolongs their pain. So do market forces.
Strong brains who tackle problems of this kind
need the protection of a cosy house
or several. I manage with only two
and love these freezing slushy Glasgow streets
at home in bed here, holding and held by you.

“Be up. Be out. Be off,” I to me say
so softly there is no need to obey.
Warm smoothness is a quality of you,
enjoying which undoes all need to do.
Warm smoothness is a quality of we
who lie enjoying it, content to be.


from Sixteen Occasional Poems 1990-2000 (Morag McAlpine, 2000), © Alasdair Gray 2000, used by permission of the author

Sponsor this poem

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

Recordings

Alasdair Gray Downloads

1Biography

£0.89

2Autobiography

£0.89

3Marriage

£0.89

4To Andrew, Before One

£0.89

5Perspectives

£0.89

6Woundscape

£0.89

7Awakening

£0.89

8Unlovely

£0.89

9Not Striving

£0.89

10Lyrical End

£0.89

11Old Moments

£0.89

12Winter Housekeeping, 1990

£0.89

13Photograph 1956

£0.89

14Waiting in Gallway

£0.89

15Far North of Dover Beach

£0.89

16Postmodernism

£0.89

17Genesis

No preview avaialable.£0.89

18Dictators

£0.89

19A Censor Complains

£0.89

20The Naming of Britain

£0.89

21Moonlight

£0.89

22Vocation

£0.89

23Last Request

£0.89

24An Author's Lament

£0.89

Books by Alasdair Gray