Monthly Archives: February 2015

Going Home – Jean Taylor

Going Home


The first room is a room that has seen

too many fabrics. Layers slip from the surfaces.

Soon there will be only lathe and plaster

a structure of rubble behind the peel.

Once there was a suitcase of hope

a dressing table of promise

a chest of drawers stuffed full of dreams

now there are off-cuts of carpet,

rust oxidises on the door fittings,

the suitcase is gaping.


In the attic, the bible has lost its context,

the dreamcatcher is a gatherer of dust,

the bed is pillowed in dirt and discomfort.

The dust has become volcanic

with the crumble of cotton.

There may be a skeleton under the bed.


In her mother’s bedroom the Virgin

fondles her rosary in a gesture of disapproval

her mother’s bed leans against the paneling,

wall socket visible, now that the bed

has been stripped of its comforts.

A small Christ watches over nothingness.


She has placed her new white suitcase

in the middle of horror

in a room which is no longer a room

but a warzone. The birds

have splattered guano over all its faces

the pine chairs, the deal table

the pink plush bedspread.

Only the word remains

on Blue Basildon Bond writing paper

and a novel by Dickens – Great Expectations.



© Jean Taylor

January 2015

Bedroom South Uist photo credit Ian Paterson
Bedroom South Uist photo credit Ian Paterson

Green Room by Marjorie Gill

Finally, when there is nothing left

in the trunk, the clothing passed out

among siblings and cousins in moments

of common sense, she leaves the lid open

so the scent of the child’s belongings

will fade, so she won’t be tempted

to put her head inside that box to breathe.


Then she decides to paint the room,

chooses the child’s favourite grass green,

and can only manage one coat. The cracks

in the woodwork glare at her like honesty.


She stamps a hole in the suitcase.


But she can’t change the bedding;

its grey blankets still convey

the child’s limbs. If only, like tea leaves

in a china cup, she’d read the pillows

that morning and barred the door.

Now, she knows their pattern,

only needs to close her eyes

to see them, crumpled, with a space

left open for her head.



Marjorie Gill

Unmade Lewis photo credit Ian Paterson
Unmade Lewis photo credit Ian Paterson

Creative ripples in our pond

When poet Helen Boden came to see  Away Being at St Margaret’s House last month she took away a bunch of postcards to share with the Southside Writers Group in Edinburgh. Inspired by Ian Paterson’s  images of abandoned croft houses writers Marjorie Gill and Jean Taylor have shared their poems with us. The same images that graced the walls of Gallery 1 earlier this year also inspired Mike Vass‘s new music commission Coming Home sponsored by Enterprise Music Scotland. The EYG Big Band who helped to develop the pieces last year played the pieces in the gallery on January 4th to welcome in the new year and these were recorded and are now on

Taking inspiration from the exhibition
Taking inspiration from the exhibition