I was lucky enough to be reading the other night down at Lochwinnoch in a great little pub called "The Brown Bull" with the Read Raw crowd, that means Mo Blake, George Walker, and Wullie Purcell, and also some old friends - Jack Hastie, Clive Briggs and the mighty Betty McKellar who could make reading a shopping receipt sound amazing.


Betty did a special request for me, reading a poem that appeared in two poetry collections that she wrote about her friend Margaret Orr who was taken into the tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter when she was a little girl. It has a killer last two lines, I think:


The Last Defence
By Betty McKellar

I know a woman
Who was taken into the tomb
Of Tutankhamen
By Howard Carter
The link in a touch chain to history
A talking book
Her memories spill
Like sparkling wine from an over-filled glass
And she lets us sip

We can be there
When a girl holds Carter’s hand
And looks on treasure
It brings a proxy thrill of pleasure
To see an alabaster vase as she did
Cool white milk smooth as silk gleaming in torchlight
And the lustre-sheen of chariots
And the sculptured sarcophagus dim-lit.
Artefacts bared for us to stare at

It’s our appropriation of the past

A phalanx of goddess-sentinels
With gold, exquisite faces
Stands guard by royal command
But the fabulous death-head mask
Of gold 
And blue lapis lazuli
Is a boy’s last futile defence
Against us

By: Ian Hunter On Sunday, 10 May 2015 Comment Comments( 0 ) Hits Views(18942)