Finding poems for the Poems in the Waiting Room cards is no problem, but tracking down the poets over the years has honed my sleuthing skills! I traced Meg to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye but I couldn’t find her email address so I wrote to the administrator and asked her to forward my request to Meg. I received a lovely reply from the administrator in Gaelic, with an English translation, and shortly after Meg made contact with me. So it was Happiness all around.
Llew Summers has chosen Meg’s poem Happiness as his inspiration for our Bellamys at Five Exhibition.
Toileachas/Happiness was a commissioned poem for National Poetry Day 2002. My partner, a native of the Isle of Skye, and I have long rambling ‘pillow talks’ on Sunday mornings. One morning we were discussing wordless communication, and how satisfying it is. We know it with animals and sometimes even with other people. He described a scene he remembers from his boyhood, still seen to this day, when crofters, who have grown up together and know each other so well they have little more to say to each other, nevertheless derive great pleasure from meeting, maybe at the sales or out on the common grazing. It isn’t witticisms or information or ideas that they are communicating but something deeper, something to do with their identity, and with the world as they see it – place, livelihood and community all bound up together. They are not remotely embarrassed by silence – indeed they might be embarrassed by too much chatter. It would be a needless distraction.
It was about this time that I had been given the title ‘Happiness’ by Radio Scotland for a poem for National Poetry Day 2002. I suddenly realised I had a subject, and wrote the poem more or less as Neil had described the scene. Again I acknowledge his contribution and his perception. It’s a little ironic that I need words to praise wordlessness. Poetry has an interesting relationship with silence.
This account of how Meg came to write Happiness was taken from the Scottish Poetry website.