Here [is the first of] four poems which mention, to some extent, my second wife, Morag McAlpine, who died in 2014.

Winter Housekeeping, 1990

In weather like this the homeless can hardly live
and every year sees more of them, none of them me.
I give to beggars of course, though charity
prolongs their pain. So do market forces.
Strong brains who tackle problems of this kind
need the protection of a cosy house
or several. I manage with only two
and love these freezing slushy Glasgow streets
at home in bed here, holding and held by you.

“Be up. Be out. Be off,” I to me say
so softly there is no need to obey.
Warm smoothness is a quality of you,
enjoying which undoes all need to do.
Warm smoothness is a quality of we
who lie enjoying it, content to be.

from Sixteen Occasional Poems 1990-2000 (Morag McAlpine, 2000), © Alasdair Gray 2000, used by permission of the author

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