Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Mr and Mrs Scotland go to the Coup

Mr and Mrs Scotland Are Dead by Kathleen Jamie – Poetry Archive.

Like the rest of Scotland, I loaded the car up yesterday and sent it off to the tip, to get rid of the excess debris of Christmas -and as a dry run of the planned clearing out of January, that may or may not happen.

Going to the tip always reminds me of Kathleen Jamie’s poem “Mr and Mrs Scotland are Dead”. It begins with the setting of the:

“civic amenity landfill site,
the coup, the dump beyond the cemetery”

which always drums around in my head when recycling/chucking things out.

The poem describes personal belongings that have been thrown out, that are out-dated – that were perhaps significant for a time for the owner, but after the owner has gone, they are meaningless to the onlooker – although the voice of the poem wonders whether these things should be kept and valued rather than sent to landfill.

The instinct to hoard is questioned – do we collect these memories that belonged to someone else and store them up? If we did, one day they would be part of our junk, ready to be sent to landfill with ours.

“… And then
Forget them, til that person enters
our silent house, begins to open,
to the light our kitchen drawers,
and performs for us this perfunctory rite,
the sweeping up, the turning out.”

The voice of the poem seems to want to hang onto the things of the past, but realises that the past is just that. And in turn, the current generation will become the past, littering the present with its quaint irrelevances.

Maybe my one resolution this year should be to get my house in order: get things tidied up, recycled, given away. Oh for a system!

The “kitchen drawer” was described once by Michael McIntyre as “The Man Drawer” where you keep everything you might need but never do: old mobile phones; batteries of unlikely but unknown charge; take-out menus when you already know what you always order. I have so many drawers like these, or bags, boxes… rooms, even: piles of junk subconsciously labelled “miscellaneous”, “to-be-gone-through”, “pending”, “in-tray”,”likely to be recycled”,”doesn’t actually belong to me, must return soon”…

Right. That’s it.

Project for 2012: empty house into car. Go to tip. Again. Cue Kathleen Jamie…


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4 thoughts on “Mr and Mrs Scotland go to the Coup

  1. This post is quite powerful, when my mother-in-law passed away last September, I had to go in her drawers and she was a hoarders not only of her things but those of her mother, father and stepmother. I was left with a strong sense that since you can’t take it with you, do you really want to burden the next generation with clearing out all the old things.

  2. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I love the new look, a new look for a new year.

  3. Yes – it’s a bizarre instinct, to hoard. I cleaned out after a relative died and she had about fifty pairs of gloves. You wonder how many you think you would ever need. But no matter how minimalist I want to be, clutter seems to be drawn to me.
    My grandfather had it right. All he left behind was half a bottle of juice, pretty much.

  4. Pingback: Abhorring Vacuums « Wee Scoops

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