Official Website of Author, Poet & Translator

John J. Coutts

BOOKS

LINES OF A LIFETIME

COLLECTED POEMS

A SACKFUL OF POEMS FOR CHRISTMAS

WAS THAT ME?

EVERYCHILD AND OTHER POEMS

A GARLAND FOR THE PASSION

WORDS BEYOND WORDS

BIO

Welcome to my website! I am a poet, performer, author and translator. I've written extensively for BBC radio and published books and articles in the fields of literature and religion. I have recently retired as Poet-in-Residence at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum here in Stirling, Scotland. 'The Smith' has already published 'Oswald the Cat's Book of Poems for Fun and Finding out',intended for children and grownups as well. To mark my retirement, 'The Smith' has also published [July 2021] 'Enchanted Ground', a new collection my poems about exhibitions and items in the Museum 

 

As a poet, I believe that obscurity is not profundity, and that obscenity is not originality. I write in 'traditional' metres - and many of my poems are intended for public performance as well as private reading.

My qualifications include a first class degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University and PhD in New Testament Studies from Edinburgh University. I am also a linguist - a number of my translations from Russian have appeared in The Complete Works of Alexander Pushkin in English" - Published by Milner & Co. A new bilingual edition of Pushkin's Lyrics is now appearing, published by the Alma Press. My latest publication is 'Rap around the Gospel'- stories from the life of Jesus with rap commentary. It's available as a paper copy or a PDF and rappers are welcome to copy and adapt the scripts to suit their own talent. Email me to find out more.

 
 
 

 

 

POEM OF THE MONTH

 

November 2021

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey.

You mother knew you.

She felt you in the womb.

She washed and she dressed you

 She kissed you and caressed you

Undreaming of your tomb.

Your mother knew you.

 

Your playmates knew you,

When summer seemed unending 

And  hide-and-seek was fun:  

Bang-banging with a  gun;

‘You’re dead!’ -  but just pretending.

Your playmates knew you 

 

Your teachers knew you.

A scamp?  A lonely child?

A struggler with a stammer?

A ‘good enough for Grammar

School’? A truant running wild?

Your teachers knew you.

 

Your comrades knew you,

Close-quartered  in the trench;

Sharing the mud, the shelling

The laughter and the yelling

The bully beef, the stench.

Your comrades knew you.

 

But now - who knows?

In strange and silent fame

You plead for countless others:

Lost parents, sisters, brothers

Dear friend, without a name.

Who knows?

                      God knows.

 

October 2021


J

 

CONTACT

For any inquiries, please contact John Coutts:

Tel: UK(+44) 01786 470930 | johnjcoutts@gmail.com

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