Landscaper by Lynn Valentine
His work, the slow heaping
of soil into a grave.
He digs the shape of a life,
stands well back while mourners
seed the ground with tears.
Afterwards, a nod to his mate,
the push of earth against wood and air,
the filling in, the flattening.
In summer he tends the flower beds,
talks to roses, watches
each pale petal fall.
Alone in Iona Catherdral by Lynn Valentine
I thought I felt His breath there,
in my palms, while tourists knelt outside
Was it just a dance of wind
through a worn door,
a chance of sunlight and shadow as I
Since then I’m watchful, quote
Sunday school blessings, prime
myself for signs:
dark skies smoking blood in a place
the sea salting claims on what’s mine.
Lynn lives on the beautiful Black Isle where she’s lived since 2013, sharing a house and a view of the mountains with her husband and Labradors.
Lynn mainly writes poetry and started writing for herself after taking voluntary redundancy from the BBC in Glasgow, the last job she had there was writing for the BBC Local feature websites.
Her work has been widely published and features in publications such as The Blue Nib, Northwords Now, Atrium and Ink, Sweat & Tears.
Lynn has her debut collection, Life's Stink and Honey, published by Cinnamon Press in 2022. One of her Scots poems was chosen by the Scottish Poetry Library in their best Scottish Poems 2021.
Lynn will be mentored by the poet Niall Campbell throughout 2022 after winning a place on the Roddy Lumsden Memorial Mentoring Scheme.
She won first prize for poetry in HighlandLIT's 2021 competition She won the Cinnamon Press Literature Award in 2020. Her debut Scots language pamphlet was published by Hedgehog Poetry in summer of 2021 after she won their dialect competition. Lynn was runner-up in the Wigtown Poetry Prize (Scots category) 2021.
In 2020 she was mentored by Cinnamon Press after winning a place on their Pencil Mentoring Competition with a view to organising her first poetry collection. In the same year, Lynn was third placed for the Scots category of the Federation of Writers’ Scotland competition.
She is a past winner of the Glasgow Womens' Library ‘Dragon’s Pen’ competition as well as being placed in the Neil Gunn competition 2017.
Lynn read at StAnza in 2021 as part of the Wigtown winners showcase.She also read at StAnza in in 2018 after being chosen as one of the open call winners in the My Time project organised by the Scottish Poetry Library and Voluntary Arts Scotland.
In 2019 Lynn read at the Ness Book Fest Local Poet’s showcase alongside fellow poets Stephen Keeler and Kirsteen Bell. The previous year she read at the festival ahead of one of her favourite poets, John Glenday, as part of the three-minute showcases.
She is slightly addicted to courses and workshops and loves a wee retreat at Moniack Mhor. In 2019 she was picked as one of the poets lucky enough to attend the poetry retreat at Moniack featuring Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Woods and Imtiaz Dharker.
Lynn’s work is influenced by the nature and people around her as well as more personal topics such as childlessness and family
Lynn is on Twitter @dizzylynn