About Me

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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Sunday, 28 November 2010

An Experiment

I haven't written poetry since I was about 16 (so self-conscious and derivative, it hurt) but a year or so back, I wrote a version of this poem about my mum and me for a Mother's Day readers' letters special in The Guardian Family section.
It wasn't selected.
I was clearing out my files tonight and I re-read it - and started cutting and cutting, til it was a different poem altogether.
My mum died in July this year

You hold my hand in Marks & Spencer
Heading for the winter coats
You buy me the long blue one
I hate it because it’s scratchy
‘The hems’s coming down,’ you say, when we get home
So you write to Sir Marcus Sieff
It’s what you do when things are not right

I hold your hand in Marks & Spencer
I steer you past the mens’ boxers
We’re heading for the cafe. Cappuccino for you. Americano for me
You point to an egg and cress sandwich
‘Wipe your mouth mum,’ I say later and
You look at me
It’s what you do when things are not right


  1. This brought a tear to my eye...a beautiful poem, thanks for sharing.

  2. Lovely. I remember the Marks & Sparks traipse well. We lived abroad so sometimes it was Oxford St in transit to Scotland or else Sauchiehall....


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