Sword Dance - Veronica Gailey

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A woman’s childhood life in Scotland and a new life in Canada are explored by her daughter in this memoir-style poem that profoundly embodies the classic North American immigrant tale. The story opens with Tom, Dick, and Harry, three ancestors who emigrated to New York. It cycles back to the author’s father, a young soldier who catches the eye of his wife-to-be at the glove counter in Woolworth’s. In between we encounter the real, rare characters of everyday Glasgow life, including cousin John Lennon in a scheme to raise pigs, and a bicycle-riding Richard Nixon who arrives just after a factory blow-up. Framed by a prologue and epilogue, the story is told in a working-class vernacular—the characters all real, the voice gritty, witty, and distinct as it unfurls a beautiful tapestry by way of the music and language of Glaswegian storytelling.