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Poems

Welcome to my poetry page: some are in English, some in Scots. This is a small sample of my work.

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Bread

 

Your food unites you with the earth beneath you.

 

Life’s first-formed – tiny, invisible creatures -

gather from rock, and water, and air,

what the rest of life is built on.

These creatures pass the golden letters

to the roots of plants: a conversation.

 

Both are ears and tongues, at once – taking,

giving, the necessities of life,

and sugar made from sunlight,

so that tiny life, and plants, can live.

 

The goodness of the rock is useless

if we do not have the sun.

The brightness of the sun builds nothing

if we do not have the soil,

that dark box of talk.

Soil is where light and darkness meet

and create life.

 

This is where words have their beginning:

the golden letters of the earth,

the sun’s breath to speak them.

They are in the wheat, that waves,

in summer sunlight, under skies

of rain and wind.

 

The whole of the world

is in this grain of wheat,

to be ground, mixed with water,

livened by the heat of human hands,

that touches air’s yeast to life.

 

Your knuckles, palms – all they have known -

are pressing the dough.

The lines on your hands:

threads to join the air and ground.

 

Here is your food. Bread

made by the words in your blood,

baked to be eaten with others

at a table out of doors,

in a warm evening, with a plain white cloth

on which shadows intertwine.

Sophie Cooke 

- Part of SEDA's Land Conversations, 2021 (online)

Hermony / Seein Distance

The distance atween

twa frequencies o soond

is whit perfects thaim,

heard thegither

Yer stanes cam awa

fae their cauf-grund tae shape

an airt whance ye micht

leuk back on it.

Nae city's sic a city as it thinks,

no sae faur fae the land lain aneath it.

Glesgae lilts, shairp twaloors, tae its redd -

stanes tae their rocks, glass tae its sandy bed -

I cam miles awa fae ye, juist tae fare

the seein distance whilk isnae there.

Published in Look Up Glasgow, Freight Books (2013).

Poetry Readings and Commissions

I am available for poetry readings at festivals and other locations, including online events. All of my longer poems touch on issues relating to ecology, climate change, finance, social history, and our relationship with the natural world. I also write about other current social issues, and other areas of science such as genetics. Other poems are concerned with myths, and use elements from Scottish folklore. I am also happy to take commissions for work in an area that interests me. Please get in touch via the contact form.

Commissions:

Anthologies of poetry (I am commissioned by the editor);

Collaborative pieces involving film-makers and musicians (I am commissioned by the producer or composer);

Events: commissioned to write a poem for a specific live event (I am commissioned by the event organiser);

Public bodies with archives: here, I work with their archives to produce a new poem;

Organisations: writing a poem on the specific theme of a conference (SEDA 2021).

Tandem Poetry Translation:

In Ukraine, I took part in a residency which involved tandem translation. I partnered with Ukrainian poet Halyna Kruk. We used bridge translations, and together spent time translating one another's work into our own language.

Film Screenings:

'Byland': screened at various locations as part of the Year of Natural Scotland

'Salt': screened in Glasgow

Magazines:

Some of my poems have been published in:

Gutter; Product; The Istanbul Review, and Poetry Scotland

 

Awards:

The Genomics Forum Poetry Competition (winner)

The Montreal International Poetry Prize (long-listed)

Previous Readings include:

Edinburgh - International Book Festival, Fruitmarket Gallery, Scottish Poetry Library; Prague - The Alchemy Readings; Sharjah - International Book Fair; Lviv - International Book Forum; Bishkek - Open Central Asia Book Forum & Literature Festival; Belgrade - International Book Fair; Suzhou - Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University; various schools and local book groups, supported by Scottish Book Trust Live Literature scheme.

Online - SEDA Land Conversations; Young Property Lawyers Forum.

Please get in touch if you think you might like to commission something, or would like to hire me for a reading.