Angela McSeveney

Angela McSeveney is one of the poets we chose to feature for National Poetry Day 2009.

Cover of 'Slaughtering beetroot'

Angela McSeveney was brought up in Ross-shire, Livingston and the Borders. She studied at Edinburgh University.

Angela has received two writer's bursaries from the Scottish Arts Council and an Eric Gregory Award. Her other poetry collections include 'Coming out with it' (1992) and 'Imprint' (2002). She works as a care assistant and lives in Edinburgh.

These two poems are taken from 'Slaughtering beetroot', published by Mariscat Press.


Pickled Onions

They are jampacked and sealed tight
as medical specimens, engorged gallstones,
eyeballs kept constantly peeled,

a bag of wet albino marbles,
frogspawn trawled from a muddy ditch,
something bang up to date at the Tate.

Skewered onto toothpicks
with cubes of cheddar and pineapple chunks
they make for a bit of retro kitchen kitsch.

Silver skinned and polished in brine
they have the lustre of big bitter pearls,
a sour gobstopper in the mouth.



Grey Hairs

As I sleep my scalp labours on
weaving glittering strands
from the dead fibres of my hair.

Never so noticeable when I was a brunette,
now they drift everywhere
like frost-rimed leaves.

Pinned to my cardigans by static
they are wrought metal jewellery,
a filigree of fancy embroidery.

They cling to the bristles of brooms,
the insides of vacuum cleaners,
clog the shower stinking of marsh gas.

I have heard of birds' nests being found
lined by hanks of it; our council guidelines suggest
mulching it down on the compost.

Then there's the pounds of skin flakes
sinking annually into my mattress
to keep the dust mites going.

It's not at the very end that we return
to the earth we came from.
It takes us back in installments.


National Poetry Day 2009


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