The truth so far
In the chalky trough under the blackboard,
lessons dusted and already forgotten.
The teacher is squawking away once more,
scratching into the tabula rasa
the truths so far about God and arithmetic
with the expungible white of fossil shells.
(first published in The Rialto; from Spinning Plates, Happenstance Press, 2012)
While clearing out the old bureau we find it,
his sun-tanned wallet from the Africa Campaign.
Goatskin fobbed off as camel hide in a souk,
the first time he had paper money to play with.
It is autumn about the house where he wintered,
the blood-brown scratches of branches lay down
leaves like a free-fall gambler or briber of the wind,
and something is buying itself back into bud.
Richie McCaffery, is a Carnegie research scholar at the University of Glasgow, working towards a PhD in the Scottish poets of World War Two. His first collection, Spinning Plates, was published by HappenStance Press in 2012. He has been shortlisted to the final fifteen of the Eric Gregory Awards (2012) and twice shortlisted for a Scottish Book Trust ‘New Writer Award’. He has been a Hawthornden fellow and a writer in residence for the Cromarty Arts Trust and at Hugh MacDiarmid’s Cottage ‘Brownsbank’, as well as a recipient of a Scottish Arts Council ‘Edwin Morgan’ poetry bursary. He is also a poetry editor at The Cadaverine.