Alan McClure

4 October 2020

Eleven Poets for Eleven Days

Wigtown Book Festival has asked Hugh McMillan, one of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Champions and a nationally respected poet from Dumfries & Galloway, to curate ‘Eleven Poets for Eleven Days’ for our 2020 festival. 

A poet from the region will be introduced daily, here on our website, along with a video reading of their specially commissioned poem.

Alan McClure is the eleventh, and final, poet in the series.


She bides her time, the Solway.
twice daily tides the briefest blink
in a fall and rise of eons.

As distant ice relaxes, she sighs and rises
stops rivers in their tracks
slides up channels slow, deliberate,
the fluid scrutiny
of a mollusc’s tentacled eye

She’s long since swallowed
our first, uncertain footprints
on barren, treeless shores,
from curraghs, careless flotsam
on a thawing ravaged land

Now hermits’ caves will fill,
crucifix-scratched walls
will barnacle and anemone.
She’ll seek the pilgrim path inland
and lap at doorsteps, swirl through streets

Smoothe bricks, dull glass,
engulf a people’s baffled past
and cast exultant clouds aloft
on skies of torrid blue.

Alan McClure

Alan McClure is a songwriter, poet and novelist based in Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway. He is currently taking a career break from life as a primary school teacher. He is inspired and fascinated by the natural world and it informs a lot of his work, as does politics and family. He wrote the satirical song that will be the defining cultural highlight of Alister Jack’s career in politics.

His first novel, Callum and the Mountain, a magical realist book for 8-12 year olds with a strong Scottish flavour, was published in 2019 by Beaten Track Publishing. A new one, Jack’s Well, will be out in October 2020.

Here he is reading ‘Solway’, a commentary on the eternality and flow of land and water as we humans feverishly scratch at the surface of time.