About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2021. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor for 2021 was Hugh McMillan.
What is a poem? A few images, somebody deid, a bit of rush and flow, and an ending to invoke the poetry sigh. That is the kind of thinking that keeps me awake at night. Here’s a poem that doesn’t fit into that formula but gets us suspicious, William Burroughs-like, about what constitutes poetry, language itself. Everything here is half seen or non-seen, the poet glimpsed in reflection through collage, splinter, fold, the paranoia of isolation, introspection. An ambitious piece.
Historic Recurrence is a concept colloquially ascribed to the phrase: ‘history repeats itself’. I used this concept to describe the sense of déjà vu I experienced, when encountering similar characteristics of a former friend, in a new acquaintance. Both encounters happened at different points during the pandemic, which evoked the wordplay on ‘eyesolation’. I wanted to visually represent this mirroring of personalities and the superimposition of interactions across time by reflecting certain words and phrases. ‘Unending’ creates a type of infinity mirror between itself, preventing the poem from ending, like the ouroboros eating its own tail. There are a lot of Surrealist references throughout the poem (Dalí’s and Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou and the automatic technique of decalcomania) due to Surrealism’s rich philosophical contemplation on chance-encounters. The poem is an attempt to capture my own marvel at the mechanisms of the world, which constantly create (un)significant coincidences.