“Let the storm wash the plates”
— Edwin Morgan, ‘Strawberries’ (1968)
let the stems winch the petals
let the finch pinch the pitcher
let one cloud raise an eyebrow
let the lot love what’s left
let the red letter shopfronts
let the black flag an issue
let the blue note the effort
let the green light the pilot
let the slug soil the laundry
let the iron clap its hands
let the hands clap the irons
let the bets cook the bookie
let the child have a cookie
let the lit sleeper lie
let the dogs have their daycare
let the ghouls ride our horses
let our screws skew the bullseye
let our boots print the cosmos
let our ships breach the veil
let our throats weep their data
let the waves skim the profits
let the wind scratch its eyelid
let our mates do a runner
let the crabs do us justice
by Adam Crothers
From Say It Again: A Book of Misquotations
‘Washing Plates with Edwin Morgan’ is copyright © Adam Crothers, 2022, and is reprinted here from Say It Again: A Book of Misquotations (Sidekick Books, 2023) by permission of Sidekick Books. You can read more about the book on the Sidekick Books website.
From Say It Again: A Book of Misquotations edited by Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone
Why a book of misquotations? Because what’s captured in Say It Again is the jittery, jumbled essence of truth: that wisdom and edict alike are constantly customised, iterated, adjusted. Nothing stays the same. Here are gathered the sage words of philosophers, statesmen, artists and authors alongside proverbs, sayings and scripture – all distorted with varying degrees of deliberation.
The Hipflask Series is an improvised dance of unusual forms and genres, played out across four collaborative, pocket-sized collections. Each book comprises a selection of written works that skirt close to (or cross the border into) poetic composition, revealing the dynamic relationship between poetry and other written forms.
The major theme of each is extrapolated from one or other of these key aspects of modern poetry – play, appropriation, subtext and conflict – but the result is a series that occupies its own strange niche: mutant miscellanies, oddball assortments. Good for a nip or a shot or a long, deep swig.
Quotations are used to motivate, intimidate, compel, amuse and persuade. But perhaps the quotations themselves need a little manipulation. This curious, critical, playful volume whips away carefully arranged context and sees what happens when well-known words become a little less familiar. We’re saying all the right things, but not necessarily in the right order.
Adam Crothers was born in Belfast in 1984, and works in a library in Cambridge. His books are Several Deer (Carcanet, 2016), which won the Shine/Strong Poetry Award and the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize in 2017, and The Culture of My Stuff (Carcanet, 2020).
Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.