The Scotsman

Dock Leaves

- Byroshniga­llagher

The Scottish Poetry Library is piloting a guest curatorshi­p programme to help extend its national reach: four curators or “champions” will each commission five new pieces for its digital collection. These commission­s will explore ideas of “vision,” which is the theme of National Poetry Day this year. One of the poems chosen is Roshni Gallagher’s “Dock Leaves.” She says: ‘The poem is about finding the space and freedom to exist fully in nature away from the othering gaze… Not just ‘belonging’ but being fundamenta­lly and intrinsica­lly connected to the Scottish countrysid­e.”

Often, I want to flick shut Strangers’ eyelids.

I’m sick of anticipati­ng my own othering. Thank god for places where people aren’t –

The green of the trees has always been a door To walk through and become whole.

The green sinks into me and the woods beat With spires of dock leaves,

Deep red, like a hundred bold hearts.

Who dared trick me Into thinking I was a guest?

Up ahead, the wild silver lake exists

For a brown girl

To crouch beside it and try to catch the frogs.

You can find the SPL’S “Champions” poems on the website of the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh, which reopens on 17 August with a click and collect service. For enquiries, e-mail, www.scottishpo­etrylibrar­

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