Andrew Sclater’s genes are traceable to Orkney, Galloway and Norway. He is a former editor of Charles Darwin’s correspondence, and co-founded the poetry magazine, Butcher’s Dog. When not writing, he builds drystane dykes, rides a motorbike and works as an occasional actor.
The poems in his debut pamphlet simultaneously celebrate and lament his noble and ignoble ancestry. No amount of blurby description can sum up what he does on the printed page. There is nothing else for it but ... to read him.
The Search for My Late Father in Mid-Ocean
Under a trapdoor in the rough mid-Atlantic
you’re outwitting Nemo
on your waterlogged pillow.
Your life in our ozone was, oh, worse than frantic;
now over your body
the sailing ships go.
So down through these cavernous submarine halls
I circle to find you, great spring-boarding father,
splashing your propagules into my eyes
like an oversexed sea lion—on second thoughts, rather
more of a sperm whale
with a skull full of balls.
Long ago dead, your remains retain light,
but bright sometimes, magic,
twinkling like trash in the foul sea of night
where I plumb for your body
capturing rays where you last luminesced—
then think that I glimpse you, though partially blinded,
where you waver with weeds, piscatorially minded,
mistrustful of morse and womanly life-vest,
still swinging your horn-pipe but doing your damnedest
to stick to your guns
and sink both your sons.