My Pain

By Roddy Lumsden b. 1966 Roddy Lumsden begins, ungratefully, to long for the contrasting tone of some honest, unironic misery, confident that when it arrives Roddy Lumsden will have the technical resources to handle it.
Neil Powell, TLS

I’m trying to string together three words
which I hate more than I hate myself:
gobsmacked, hubby and...when I realise
that words no longer count for much at all.

And that’s me back down, head on the floor.
It’s like Cathal Coughlan goes in his song:
till I’ve seen how low I can go.

It’s like what my ancestor told me in a dream:
You’ll be a sponge for the pain of others.
It’s like what I told the lassie from the local paper:
I do not suffer for my art, I just suffer.

And face it, while we’re at it, it’s like
what curly Shona said that night at Graffiti
when all the gang were gathered for the show:
how she reckoned I would be the first to die,

or the time I slipped back from the bogs in Bo’s
to hear my best friend tell a stranger girl
who’d been sweet in my company, mind how you go
with Roddy, he’s damaged goods, you know.

Roddy Lumsden,“My Pain” from Mischief Night: New and Selected Poems, 2004.  Reprinted with the permission of Bloodaxe Books Ltd.,

Source: Mischief Night (Bloodaxe Books, 2004)

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Poet Roddy Lumsden b. 1966


Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Roddy  Lumsden


Roddy Lumsden was born in St. Andrews, Scotland; he describes his upbringing as small-town and working-class. His earliest exposure to literature came from his mother and older brother, who would read aloud to him when he was a child. Later, when he attended school, his writing was influenced by the works of W.S. Graham, Philip Larkin, Thom Gunn, T.S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, and by song lyrics.

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SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Arts & Sciences


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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