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Sandie Craigie, Just ae bit ae majik

12th March 2013

Sandie Craigie, Scots poet (1963-2005) is rightly of the current generation but she died in 2005 in tragic circumstances in the centre of Edinburgh, where she spent most of her life.

 She was a powerful poet, exclusively in the Scots language. She regarded herself as a performance poet and gave many readings of her poems, some of which, happily, were recorded at the time.

Several of the smaller Edinburgh presses wanted to publish a book or booklet of her work, but she was never interested. Her death shocked the Edinburgh and Glasgow street poetry communities but further moves to publish a book have not yet borne fruit, although Red Squirrel has been discussing this again recently. Her language was trenchant and (in her own words) "a wee bit sweary" but that does nothing to detract from its effect.

Kevin Cadwallender and Colin Donati commissioned an essay on her work from me for the first issue of Red Squirrel's poetry magazine Drey, edited by Kevin Cadwallender. This resulted in more people asking about her work. She left a great deal of material and some if it is not easy to access, but she also published a number of poems in very small booklets and magazines.

Here are two poems by Sandie. She gave me the first, a quiet but typically punchy piece, for an early issue of Poetry Scotland magazine. The shorter final one is typical of her fiercely political work.


Oan the beach
you telt me you were nothing
an you wereny scared
pickin up sand
littin the wind fuck oaff wi it 
you wiped your hands clean
I saw death in your smile
an kissed it
but you were naewhere
Later, we drunk coffee
an talked
an smoked
blowin a perfect smoke ring
watched it brek
A gave you a star that day
a'd found amung the broken shells
you laughed
an pit it in a drawer
beside paperclips an plastacine
A expect it's dead by now
leavin in its wake
an emptinesss
an a sparklin trail
ae sand



switchin yer television oan
is like invitin a bomb
inti yer livin room
but it's no the same is it?
cos in this war
we're the cunts