(after Sandy Moffat’s Poets’ Pub painting & poets portraits)
Each to his milieu, indoors, outdoors,
locale landscaped in river, harbour,
city, mountain, each deliberating brow
hung upon the portraiture of now.
Together they are clambering to be apart,
escape the dream-team crowded howff,
return to self, to paper, keyboard, pen,
to limning vast minutiae of dùthchas
through every jigsawed, modern mappa mundi.
Even in pastel, charcoal, their eyes speak
differently, some twinkling with boyish cheek,
some knowing the frame of modest body,
self aware as fragile thoroughbreds,
some barely there, some already going from where
they’re placed into that background of imagined space.
Except for Iain, who looks both found & lost,
already haunted by his own baffled ghost
shaped from unsure laughter, fag smoke, surprised
delight at those of us who gladly walk the
landscapes of his personal hereafter.
About this poem
Broadcast on the Janice Forsyth Show on 15 January, 2018, to commemorate the Landmarks exhibition of paintings by Alexander Moffat and Ruth Nicol, and new poems by Alan Riach, at the Lillie Art Gallery, Milngavie.