Makar Press

Rowena M Love

 

Writer, poet and performer

Originally from the West of Scotland, Rowena is now based in Hertfordshire, although she and her poetry make regular trips back to Scotland.

She has had hundreds of poems published all round the world (in print and online) and broadcast on radio.  Rowena has done well in competitions over the years, too.  Her most recent win was the prestigious McCash Poetry Prize for Scots poetry run jointly by Glasgow University and The Herald (see the winning poem below).

 

Some sample poems for you...

PENTIT LEDDY

It's time.  

Ye're sae hantle in ma thochts

that it’s a stamagast tae see ma physog

no yourn in the keekin-gless.

Fingers flaucht a wing o hair ahint ae lug: 

new style fur a new stairt.

 

Ah gove intae the gless,

stieve as a preened butterflee,

ma een marled wi rigglemerie 

o howp.

 

Zip rips the seelence. Makeup brattles oot.

Eelids wait thir stour o pollen

in colours fragrant wi mynd.

Gray, licht as the Tay skinklin wi sunblink,

or stormclood daurk, when we laucht in the rain;

a blush o day-set, its lammer spraing 

cruivin me in the past when Ah was still cocooned 

in innocence, wappit fast in yir silken lees.

 

Haird deceesions reeve the Tammie-nid-nod,

lattin poustie flichter free.

Mascara curls breers intae a Venus fleetrap 

tae fang yir tent, keep it.

Lippie kisses flesh lik a premoneetion

or a hecht.

 

Thare.  Ah'm duin.  The leddy, pentit.

It's time. 

 

 

Winner of the McCash Poetry Prize for Scots Poetry 2012.   It has been published by The Herald in their anthology The Smeddum Test,  with 101 Scots poems from the 10 years of the competition.  You can buy it on Amazon.

I've put an English version of the same poem below.

 

 

PAINTED LADY

It's time.  

You're so much in my thoughts 

it's a shock to see my face

not yours in the mirror.

Fingers tremble a wing of hair

behind one ear: 

new style for a new start. 

I gaze into the glass,

motionless as a pinned butterfly,

my eyes patterned with intricate markings 

of hope. 

 

Zip rips the silence.

Makeup clatters out.

Lids await their dusting of pollen

in colours fragrant with memory.

Grey, light as the Liffey sparkling with sunshine,

or storm cloud dark, when we laughed in the rain;

a blush of sunset, its amber tones

trapping me in the past

when I was still cocooned in innocence, 

wrapped fast in your silken lies. 

 

Hard decisions split the chrysalis, 

letting determination flutter free. 

Mascara curls lashes into a Venus flytrap

to capture your attention, keep it. 

Lipstick kisses flesh like a premonition

or a promise. 

 

There.  I'm done.  The lady, painted.

It's time. 

 

 

Note: the English version of the poem was also successful in a competition. This one was selected to be part of the Arts Trail in Bolton in 2012, along with a number of other poems by Rowena.

 

 

GONNAE NO

Goannae no talk sae coorse,

yer effin an blindin

cheapenin yer guid looks tae boattle blonde

slurpin Buckie fae a broon poke

steid o a class act sippin single malt.

 

Gonnae no ’pologeese fur oor leid

‘s if it wur the Sassenach’s puir relation,

a maiden lady saft in the heid

steid o a pretty lass strang an sure

wi hir creel o wirds claiked wi meanin.

 

Goannae no spik lik a numpty

‘s if w’ur a nation o dafties

steid o wan wi mair inventions

tae oor name than haggis dinners.

 

Goannae no hide Rabbie’s licht

fur the hail year bar yin nicht,

nor ignore oor ither makars,

scared tae mak tae muckle o them

case we huv tae admit tae pride.

 

Gonnae no hide ahint history

‘s if we began an endit wi Wallace –

nae Enlightenment, nae Athens o the North,

mair culture in yer fridge

nor oan yer tongue.

 

Gonnae no leemit us

tae tartan an shortbreid,

nor gae sae far the ither wey

that pipe bands mak ye blush;

cawin the feet fae ye

stead o swaggerin heid heich

at the very thocht o wha we ur. 

 

 

Note: always a very popular poem at readings, it has been published by Poetry Scotland and an excerpt of it was used in a Scottish Parliamentary paper on the use of the Scots Language. 

 

 

PRESTON MILL

The mill stands poised

like a fashion model,

displaying tones and textures

from Nature’s Collection.

 

Red pantiles drape the roof

with Madras cloth checks;

cornerstones seam sandstone walls

in shades of sorrel;

a skirt of grass borders the buildings

in a lush green velvet

polka-dotted with ducks.

 

A lamé pond shines like sequins in sun,

its silver surface slubbed

with the wake of waterfowl.

 

The mill wheel bobbin

purls water from the stream;

white cotton yarn unravels

from every paddle.

 

Beyond the drawn-thread fence,

is the corduroy of ploughed fields:

light and shadow ruffle the nap

into ripples of russet and chestnut.

 

Above, doves are appliquéd

on sky’s azure bunting,

pin feathers pointing to Phantassie

and dreams.

 

 

Excerpts from this poem have just been used in the most recent guidebook for the Mill, produced the National Trust for Scotland (May 2012)

 

 

THE DOLPHIN

for Insa

 

Cancer’s a queer fish:

anaemic amoeba endlessly mutating;

puffer-fish growths bloated with poison;

or shoals of cells

that prowl like piranhas

stripping my health in their feeding frenzy.

 

But attitude can attack back,

till I’m the dolphin swimming free

from this sea

of sickness.

 

I’ll trawl my system,

catching cancers and fears,

netting them to wriggle and squirm:

powerless.

 

I’m the dolphin swimming free.

 

Modern medicine may have me filleted,

canned and processed,

pumped full of additives –

but the rest is up to me...

 

I’m the dolphin swimming free.

 

Dread might dorsal my spine,

tears flood my face with brine

but I... CAN... DO... THIS...

 

I am the dolphin swimming free.

 

 

 This poem has appeared in Reach Poetry Magazine and in a number of different anthologies and magazines subsequently.  Its most recent outing is in Soul Feathers, a beautiful anthology of poems raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.  You can buy it on Amazon.

 

 

MINING SUNLIGHT

 Sun bores through a seam of dense cloud

until it reaches sea, drills through ice-blue water,

filling the hole with so much gold

it overflows, an ever-widening puddle

that slowly sinks and drains

as the sides cave in under the force of cumulus.

 

Wind is a blunt chisel, chipping the waves,

revealing striations that glitter with pyrites,

their false promise soon buried beneath

shale shadows that clog the surface.

 

Sunset dribbles from a crack in the cloud face,

then gushes in a copper spray

that twists and coils as if alive,

before seeping away, its power spent.

 

The watcher is left to fossick for opalescent light,

last twists of apricot  and rose flickering against the blue

that deepens slowly to coal.

 

 

Inspired by watching the sun on the sea at Portpatrick, on the Mull of Galloway.This poem has been published in The Fireside Book, produced by D C Thomson

 

 

 

The Chameleon of Happiness

 

 

This was Rowena's first collection, which came out in 2004.  

 

It is available to purchase through the Makar Bookshop on this website at a cost of £7.99, which includes free postage and packaging anywhere in the UK (and for a small additional sum for foreign buyers).  

 

Please note, if you have any difficulties with the bookshop then simply drop us an email and we can invoice you directly using PayPal. 

 

 

 

Comin Oot in the Wash

 

 

This was Rowena's first pamphlet, which came out in 2008

It is available to purchase through the Makar Bookshop on this website at a cost of £5, which includes free postage and packaging anywhere in the UK (and for a small additional sum for foreign buyers).  Please note, if you have any difficulties with the bookshop then simply drop us an email and we can invoice you directly using PayPal.

You'll find it in the 'Poetry Pamphlets (assorted)' section - just select Comin Oot in the Wash from the drop down menu at the bottom then click add to cart. 

 

Want to get in touch?

If you want to contact Rowena you can email her by clicking on this link.