Sunday, 5 September 2010

Edwin Morgan (1920-2010)

 Scotland's national poet Edwin Morgan died on 19 August 2010. There are numerous tributes to be found on the web. His funeral service at Glasgow university can be found (for the time being) on the STV website here -

And searching  'Edwin Morgan' on Youtube throws up some lovely stuff eg, this, on Raeburn's The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch

(a Scottish icon playing with another Scottish icon).

I started this photoblog inspired by both Edwin Morgan and W G Sebald -

I first read Edwin Morgan in the late 70s after I had tried to write poetry  - ie I wrote broken lines on the page that looked from 6 feet away like a poem,  but when read sounded nothing like. I was a seriously rubbish poet.

Reading Edwin Morgan changed that. I don't mean his example encouraged me to write poetry, as it did so many others. I mean the opposite. Among many things, he taught me that I would never be a poet and that it didn't matter. 

Despite all our Scottish democratic pieties, we know that all are not equal when it comes to words and music, to the masters of the arts. The Monkees are fun but they are not the Beatles: Jack Vettriano is a master of his craft, but he is not Joan Eardley; and it doesn't matter. Edwin Morgan gives me  the pleasure, the thrill you get from watching a brilliant juggler - and so what if I would always drop the balls? In another part of the field there are the master jugglers, master poets, master singers, and there is joy in the world.

Eddie, thank you for the music.

Edwin Morgan's coffin in Glasgow University chapel. A brass  plaque on the coffin says

DIED 19th AUG 2010

Bestiary: Cat/Fly/Owl - Fibre pens and paper, 1968
Front of the Order of Service held in the Bute Hall
The back 
The readings and the music; all wonderful, with a highlight for me being Christina Whyte's rendition of the great Beatles song 'Here, There and Everywhere'
'A Man's a Man for a''That' - sung by the chapel choir with the congregation joining in for the last verse 
A Celebration of  Edwin Morgan at Eighty published by Mariscat Press and the Scottish Poetry Library in 2000

My copy of his first book. . .
. . .signed by him
The last page of his Beowulf -

The kindest of men and the most humane


  1. What a glorious tribute! The photos in the chapel are poems on the theme of the peace that passeth all understanding.

  2. Hi Mike - it was a wonderful send off; so glad we were both there.