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Troubadour Poems: Eleanor Livingstone


Eleanor Livingstone is artistic director of the StAnza poetry festival. Her chapbook, The Last King of Fife, from which “The Monimail Spider” is taken, was published by HappenStance in 2005. More recently, she edited Migraasje, migration o words, a pamphlet of Scots and Shetlandic versions of Frisian poems, published to accompany the reading by Frisian poets at this year’s StAnza.

The Monimail spider

Not some economic migrant
who’d deliberately stowed away
under a leaf; nor refugee, surely
from that gentle organic space;

rather a victim of a natural disaster
swept up with his plant
then whirled across the county
friends, dependants, web
left far behind.

A dose of water flushed him out
and he escaped over the edge
eight legged it from the pot
to spin his way through fences,
concrete posts and traffic noise

hoping for a gleam of emerald –
or ruby slippers, four pairs
spider size.

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