Harvey Holton 1949 – 2010

Posted on Posted in poetry

Frae the beginnin
the watters rise
named bi nameless fowk
the words prize
oot o peat bog an rock faw
the firths size
in twistin burns tirnin
the coorse lies
letters lie waitin
an the picter cries


 I was very sad to hear the news today of the sudden death of my old friend, Scots poet Harvey Holton.

This is a great loss not only to his wife Anne, family and friends, but to the literary community of Scotland.

I had the pleasure of working  on several poetry and art collaborations with Harvey, spending many happy times walking, talking and sharing the beauty of the landscape around Corbiehill, his home in North Fife.  Collaborating with him not only enriched my art work, but also gave me an understanding of my landscape, and my sense of place .

I have included below ‘Herrin Daith’, one of the collaboration pieces we produced for the River Spirits exhibition which toured around Scotland in the late 90’s.


He will be sadly missed.


Click on this video link to hear Harvey reading from his book ‘Finn’.


Herrin Daith

Hert an tide, oot rush an in rush,
the sauch an the swow o the shoal,
the ae harnpan the current rinnin,
reek in still air gently floatin,
thoosans o bodies soomin an tirnin,
free frae rig shans in derk sea hush,
wie whale crack auld an licht as coal.
Afore the ring net afore the trawls bindin,
the harpoon the grenades bluidy spootin,
siller the darlins wild athoot mindin.
Dauncein amin the wild waves crush,
takan the sichtin frae the north pole,
ooers oan deck yer guts fair churnin,
wife an bairns waitin yer returnin.
Are we fish frae the ocean freein?



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