Solway Shore

Annie McCrae

3 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.

Annie McCrae is the tenth poet in the series.

Solway Shore

I left behind my confirmation cross
on a pile of school clothes
as I swam in the sea at Southerness.

Like a teenage selkie
I came ashore naked on the merse
lured by a siren call of bass
booming, like rutting deer,
across the Firth
from speakers on a seaside stoop.

High on darkness
between sheets thin as Rizla papers
a new underworld.
Waves rattled the windows
of my not-quite-woman frame.

I woke to a blood red sun.

Annie McCrae

Annie McCrae grew up in Dumfries before moving to Edinburgh for university and a working life as an English teacher and trade union activist in the city. She has written poetry since a teenager but only recently, in retirement, has she committed herself to the regular submission of poems for publication. 

Her work has appeared in an Edinburgh City Libraries’ pamphlet “Fifth Column” (1999), the 2008 pamphlet “Magistri Pro Pace” (Teachers for Peace), “A Kist of Thistles” (2020) and she was a winner in the 2020 Bread and Roses Poetry Competition.

Here she is reading the beautiful coming of age poem, ‘Solway Shore’. Unlike some of our poets, Annie is looking at the Solway from the perspective of the many people who have left to find a life elsewhere, but whose time there shaped and defined the beginning of their lives.