Washing Plates with Edwin Morgan

“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 – playappropriationsubtext 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.