In a Time of Distance: and Other Poems
In a beautiful and transporting volume of poems, the beloved author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series takes us on a captivating journey from Africa to Greece, London to North America to Mumbai, and back home to Scotland, celebrating people, places, animals, and books.

What matters most in life? For Alexander McCall Smith, it is friendship, love, and travel—the themes found throughout his work that have made him a cherished writer the world over. This first collection of McCall Smith’s poems reflects on these topics with all his characteristic wit and charm.

There are moments of sweeping insight and soaring feeling, and moments that will have you laughing along as they subtly shift your worldview. This inimitable writer shares his distinctively astute and good-natured observations on life, love, and beauty, reminding us of the deep satisfaction that can be found when we open ourselves up to the world with our whole heart, and watch as it takes on a kinder and gentler shape.
"1139840695"
In a Time of Distance: and Other Poems
In a beautiful and transporting volume of poems, the beloved author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series takes us on a captivating journey from Africa to Greece, London to North America to Mumbai, and back home to Scotland, celebrating people, places, animals, and books.

What matters most in life? For Alexander McCall Smith, it is friendship, love, and travel—the themes found throughout his work that have made him a cherished writer the world over. This first collection of McCall Smith’s poems reflects on these topics with all his characteristic wit and charm.

There are moments of sweeping insight and soaring feeling, and moments that will have you laughing along as they subtly shift your worldview. This inimitable writer shares his distinctively astute and good-natured observations on life, love, and beauty, reminding us of the deep satisfaction that can be found when we open ourselves up to the world with our whole heart, and watch as it takes on a kinder and gentler shape.
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In a Time of Distance: and Other Poems

In a Time of Distance: and Other Poems

In a Time of Distance: and Other Poems

In a Time of Distance: and Other Poems

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Overview

In a beautiful and transporting volume of poems, the beloved author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series takes us on a captivating journey from Africa to Greece, London to North America to Mumbai, and back home to Scotland, celebrating people, places, animals, and books.

What matters most in life? For Alexander McCall Smith, it is friendship, love, and travel—the themes found throughout his work that have made him a cherished writer the world over. This first collection of McCall Smith’s poems reflects on these topics with all his characteristic wit and charm.

There are moments of sweeping insight and soaring feeling, and moments that will have you laughing along as they subtly shift your worldview. This inimitable writer shares his distinctively astute and good-natured observations on life, love, and beauty, reminding us of the deep satisfaction that can be found when we open ourselves up to the world with our whole heart, and watch as it takes on a kinder and gentler shape.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593315989
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/12/2022
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 490,526
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH is the author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels and of a number of other series and stand-alone books. His works have been translated into more than forty languages and have been best sellers throughout the world. He lives in Scotland.

Hometown:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Date of Birth:

August 24, 1948

Place of Birth:

Zimbabwe

Read an Excerpt

From In a Time of Distance and Other Poems

By Alexander McCall Smith

Some years ago I visited a friend who has a cottage in Eastern Ontario. One evening, my friend demonstrated to me an unexpected talent.
 
WOLVES
 
I read Farley Mowat and thought

I knew something about wolves,

About how they run down

Their prey in lengthy pursuit,

About the long brotherhoods

Of wolves and their lonely deaths;

I thought I knew about all that

Until I heard a wolf howl in the night,

And was unprepared

For what I heard, for the keening

Of it, the utter desolation.

We stood outside, my friend and I,

With the world white about us

As he cupped his hands

And howled into the darkness;

From somewhere far away

Came a response, a howl so sad

Th at no words could describe

Th e regret of it, the loneliness:

Yes, I am here, it must have said;

Yes, I am here, and that is all.

Table of Contents

In a Time of Distance

A Washing Line Outside a Croft House 3

Taste and Memory 4

In a Time of Distance 7

Journeys

Our Journeys 10

The Train Arriving at Platform Two 13

Adelstrop Revisited 15

The Language of Pilots 17

College of Hypnotherapy, Next Right 20

Quality Provisions for Ever 24

Not Rus in Urbe but Suburbia in Rure 27

A Typology of Angels 29

Household Gods 32

Holy River 34

Mustard Field, Rajasthan 37

Feel Glorious 39

Do Not Lean Again 41

Ne Pas 43

A Scottish Four Seasons

Spring 46

Summer 48

Autumn 50

Winter 51

Interlude: Seven Sonnets

I Sixty Talks to Eighteen 54

II Eighteen Replies to Sixty 55

III Forty Intervenes, Remembers Horace 56

IV Adventure and Uncertainty 57

V It Takes a Village to Raise a Child 58

VI King James VI of Scotland Reflects on the Loss of His Only Friend When Young 59

VII Love Unforgotten 60

Of the Animals

Primate Cousins 62

The Gentleness of Whales 63

Elephants 65

Kangaroos 66

The Dung Beetle 67

Tortoise 68

Cheetah 69

Polar Bear 70

Crocodile 71

Lion 72

Small, Insignificant Antelope 73

Giraffe, Zebra 74

Our World, Their World 75

Of Love & Longing

Love over Scotland 78

On Clouds over Mull: A Love Song 79

Nocturnal Blessing 80

Love Lost 81

On Looking at a Child 83

Of Books & Reading

The Goodness of Books

I The Book Becomes 88

II Moveable Type 89

III What the Book Is 90

IV On the Bedside Table 91

Remembering Muriel Spark 93

Graham Greene 97

A Maker of Beautiful Books 100

Library of Congress 102

Places

Greece

The Oracle at Delphi 106

Goodbye to the Ionian 108

Scotland

St. Kilda 111

Dear One 117

Scotland's Claim 119

Edinburgh 121

A Fragile Beauty 123

The Seven Hills of Edinburgh

The Castle Rock 125

Craiglockhart Hill, a Century Ago 127

Arthur's Seat and Geology 129

Imagined Conversation on Blackford Hill 131

Corstorphine Hill 132

On Calton Hill 134

Braid Hills 136

Unrelated Poems

Northland 138

Wolves 139

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg 140

From a Mumbai Hotel 141

Fish, and the Thoughts of Fish 144

Saving an Oak Tree 146

Friendship 148

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