Support 110 years of independent journalism.

16 April 2016

“The Diamond Pane”: a poem by Kathleen Jamie

"I, my mother’s daughter, / took up a pen, hard-nibbed / and therefore equal / to the task. . ."

By Kathleen Jamie

*/

In my “eyrie of freedom”,
that house of the mind, high
above a small Fife town
of fisherfolk and weavers,
I, my mother’s daughter,
took up a pen, hard-nibbed
and therefore equal
to the task, and etched my name
– my maiden name –
on a diamond pane of glass.
 
Through those same narrow
casements, closed tight
against Arctic winds, I beheld,
like a seer his weird sights,
ice-floes, death-pale, choking
the gold-fringed Firth, far-off
snow peaks, clouds chased on
by westerlies; and so there flew
from that falcon’s lair
my “airy imagination”:
I’d ramble over frozen fields
till sunset – so early! –
sent its roseate glow;
our fireside conversations
swooped through books, and hope and liberty.
 
That pane where I made my sign
– one of many admitting
a pallid light to a passage
of white closed doors –
was it marked like a card
with a fate which, unknowingly,
I’d chosen? In June,
when the “crimson midnight sun
skirted the northern horizon”
I bade my friends farewell, and climbed
the gangplank of the Osnaburgh
ready to sail south, and soon
again run to the warm south,
entering my “age of promise”.


Commissioned for the Frankenstein in Bristol weekender (22-23 April), celebrating Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Details: ideasfestival.co.uk

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action

This article appears in the 13 Apr 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The making of a monster