Monday, January 08, 2007

The Poet McTeagle

(Camera pans away revealing a rocky Highland landscape. We hear inspiring Scottish music)

Voice Over: From these glens and scars the sound of the coot and the moorhen is seldom absent. Nature sits in stern mastery over these rocks and crags. The rush of the mountain stream, the bleat of the sheep, and the broad, clear Highland skies reflected in burn and loch form a breathtaking backdrop against which Ewan McTeagle writes such poems as 'Lend us a quid till the end of the week'.

(Cut to crofter's cottage. McTeagle sits at the window writing)

McTeagle: (voice over) If you could see your way to lending me sixpence I could at least buy a newspaper. That's not much to ask anyone.

Voice Over: One woman who remembers McTeagle as a young friend - Lassie O'Shen.

Lassie: Mr McTeagle wrote me two poems, between the months of January and April 1969...

Interviewer: Could you read us one?

Lassie: Och, I dinna like to... they were kinda personal... but I will ... 'To Ma Own Beloved Lassie. A poem on her I7th Birthday. Lend us a couple of bob till Thursday. I'm absolutely skint. But I'm expecting a postal order and I can pay you back as soon as it comes. Love Ewan.'

(Cut to abstract trendy arts poetry programme set. Poetry critic St John Limbo sits on an enormous inflatable see-through pouffe)

Limbo: (intensely) Since then McTeagle has developed and widened his literary scope. Three years ago he concerned himself with quite small sums - quick bits of ready cash: sixpences, shillings, but more recently he has turned his extraordinary literary perception to much larger sums - fifteen shillings, £4.12.6d ... even nine guineas ... But there is still nothing to match the huge sweep ... the majestic power of what is surely his greatest work: 'Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed?'.

Monty Python