Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Poems from the Backroom 66: Skye Allan

Having just been turned down for funding to pay #plaguepoets for a rickety zoom reading or two I am remaining calm and not making cheap jibes about the availability of funds from important Scottish organisations to support in other places, poets who already have plenty of exposure and funding. After all, it has always been thus. As my mother used to say, sweeping the summonses up each morning in a small green tray, “to those who have, more shall be given.” The plague rolls on, though, a democratic platform and thanks must go as ever, to the poets and readers who support it. And in that vein let us turn to Skye Allan.

The school I attended, and Skye attends when it's open, was also the alma mater, as I have mentioned before, of JM Barrie, and the house of his mates, Stuart and Hal Gordon, next door to the school, where Barrie allegedly came up with the idea of Peter Pan while running wild in the gardens, has been reshaped at fabulous expense as Moat Brae Centre of Children’s Literature with state of the art Peter Pannery to be seen everywhere, and Joanna Lumley as the voice in the lift.

Such things aside, Dumfries Academy continues to produce young people in thrall to the passion of reading and writing. Anyone who has darkened the door of a modern Scottish secondary school knows that they are complex places with complex demands and pressures and it is sometimes difficult to stand out from the crowd and express yourself. Lockdown is an added pressure, for folk of any age.

Skye Allan is thirteen years old and lives in Dumfries. Earlier in the year she was runner up in the ‘Burns Reimagined’ competition run by the Stove Collective and last October was one of the driving forces behind ‘DabFest’ (Dumfries Academy Book Festival ) which, supported by the Wigtown Book Festival and the Holywood Trust, brought writers to the school in a day long festival. Skye helps run a writing group at her school which, supported by staff, used to meet regularly off-timetable in pre-covid days and was in the midst of producing their first book ‘A World of Words’ which includes poems and stories from ten talented young writers, including a large swatch by herself. Skye mostly writes stories but is a determined rhyming poet, and I think it works.

Here Skye is reading her topical but hopeful poem 'Cold in my Bones':

My Life

My life is a strand of spider silk,
Each breath, it sways in balance,
Yet it holds me up, my story,
Each knot a secret talent.

My soul is a ball of rainbow clay,
It moulds and shapes each year,
Wraps up every emotion,
Every smile and tear.

My heart's a paper lotus,
Beautiful, fragile, light,
Each time I stop and daydream
it drifts away, in night.

1 comment:

  1. Full of promise- and I love her confident straightforward voice.