The Way We Live

Pass the tambourine, let me bash out praises
to the Lord God of movement, to Absolute
non-friction, flight, and the scarey side:
death by avalanche, birth by failed contraception.
Of chicken tandoori and reggae, loud, from tenements,
commitment,driving fast and unswerving
friendship. Of tee-shirts on pulleys, giros and Bombay,
barmen, dreaming waitresses with many fake-gold
bangles. Of airports, impulse, and waking to uncertainty,
to strip-lights, motorways, or that pantheon --
the mountains. To overdrafts and grafting

and the fit slow pulse of wipers and you're
creeping over Rannoch, while the God of moorland
walks abroad with his entourage of freezing fog,
his bodyguard of snow.
Of endless gloaming in the North, of Asiatic swelter,
to launderettes, anecdotes, passions and exhustion,
Final Demands and dead men, the skeletal grip
of government. To miserey and elation; mixed,
the sod and caprice of landlords.
To the way it fits, the way it is, the way it seems
to be: let me bash out praises -- pass the tamourine.

Kathleen Jamie
13 May 1962 -

In December, 2000, I bought a book called A Poem A Day. I decided that one of my New Years resolutions for 2001 would be to read at least one poem each day. It's been a real pleasure. This poem was the entry for May 13. Each poem in the book has a short description. The following is the description following this entry:

"Kathleen Jamie's travels, mainly in the East, are reflected in her collections The Way We Live (1987) and The Autonomous Region (1993) and in her travel book The Golden Peak (1992). Jamie was born in Renfrewshire and now lives in Fife. Her collection The Queen of Sheba was published in 1994."

From A Poem A Day edited by Karen McCosker and Nicholas Albery and published by Steerforth Press. American edition copyright 1999 by The Natural Death Centre.

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