This is for Norman MacCaig, and that whole disappearing generation of poets.

Norman’s Goodnight


One drops
in a bunker,
another on his doorstep,
Christmas morning, shovelling snow.

When I go
may it be like that,
a short fall down and out
while busy in open air –

like a pigeon, say,
winging it across clear sky,
sways then plummets,
brought down by stray buckshot.

And may there be time
to murmur as I fold
some word of thanks
and letting go –

like the last time I saw MacCaig
standing at his door;
as I turned the stair
his hand came up, waved:

Ta-ta. Ta-ta.
Masterly concision –
‘Thank you’ and
‘Goodnight’ in one.

I hope to be
even briefer as I fall:

Ta –

from This Life, This Life: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006 (Bloodaxe, 2006), © Andrew Greig, 2006, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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