- What We Saw
inside his smile was a shark’s fin at surfer’s paradise
and inside his invitation were the next-door Joneses
inside his small talk was a pair of callipers
and inside his monotone was his father’s rusty toolbox
inside the pockets of his marriage was a note from his mother
inside his question was the chalk outline of a crime scene
and inside his question was a season ticket to the blitz
inside the question was his Sunday suit
a size too small for any answer but his own.
2. In the Moment
At the outer edge of what we call our selves
we meet; the blank page lies between.
Fine brush-marks draw from the inkwell of us both:
new lines arc, stretch across the page, emerge
as sketch – room, table, bottle, glasses.
The room takes on perspective, light and shade
coloured by neither but by both –
we are the bottle, we are the wine,
We drink and as we drink
we take a little of the other inside.
This inter-change, inevitable as breath is
the architecture of connection, and
at every meeting at the outer edges
of what we call our self a new page lies between,
We might call this hope.
About this poem
This poem was chosen by Hugh McMillan as part of the Scottish Poetry Library’s ‘Champions’ project, a guest curatorship programme to help extend our national reach.
Hugh McMillan says, ‘Both the poems in ‘When We Meet’ are concerned with contact and the process of meeting. The first, ‘What we saw’ describes an encounter where the clamour of subtext is so loud any meaningful meeting is drowned out. The second, ‘In the moment’ is perhaps more positive. The title references Martin Buber and touches on Gestalt/humanistic theory – that we co-create each other in the moment of meeting, and through this relationship change is made possible.