The poet, William Soutar, author of “The Diaries of a Dying Man”, was born in Perth on this day in 1898.
After changing from studying medicine to literature, Soutar’s first volume of poetry, “Gleanings of an Undergraduate”, was published in 1923, within a year of his graduation from Edinburgh University.
Soutar suffered from a gradual immobilising illness, ankylosing spondilitis, and from November 1930 he was permanently confined to bed. He spent his bed-bound days composing poetry, escaping through his imagination, and holding court to his many visitors and fellow writers, dressed in jacket and bow tie.
Soutar died from tuberculosis in October 1943, at the age of 45. The house where he lived and composed his poetry, the ‘Soutar Hoose’ in Perth, is now home to a writer in residence. ScotClans
Whan Gowdan Are The Carse-Lands
Braw are the Grampian Mountains
Whan simmer licht is still;
And gowdan are the Carse-lands
Ablow the Corsie Hill.
Yonder the gowdan steeple
Spires up frae the auld toun,
And the brig wides through the water
Owre far awa for soun’.
And its easy in this quiet,
Sae gowdan and sae still,
To lippen that a’ the world
And your ain hert will hale
The Writer in Residence post hasn’t been filled since 2010, because of lack of funding. Ajay Close was the last one.