Mary Smith - Author, Poet and Journalist


My poetry has appeared in a range of publications including Markings, Poetry Scotland, Nomad and Lallans and in anthologies, Outside of a Dog (Chroma, 2006), My Mother Threw Knives (Second Light Publications, 2006) and Hidden City (Dancing Rabbit Productions, 2006). 
Although I also write ‘home grown’ material based on life in Scotland, much of my poetry is informed by experiences in Afghanistan and, with these ‘snapshots’ of landscapes, places and people, I try to provide a window through which the reader can share those experiences.



Rearing, wheeling, plunging,
urged by leather-booted heels –
a rugby scrum of horses.
Whips and hooves, knife sharp,
slice frozen winter air as rising dust
meets sweat and steaming breath.
Laws of gravity ignored, a horseman leans,
crazy-angled, reins between clenched teeth,
and grabs the goat.

Men and animals scream defiance,
the maelstrom melts, dissolves –
a tidal wave of horses.
Thundering hooves become
thudding heartbeats, spectators roar approval,
ancestral memories stirred
by sounds and scents of victory.
No longer taxi drivers, labourers, shopkeepers,
they are Genghis Khan’s army streaming –
invincible – across Asia’s plains.

Tomorrow, the sound and the fury gone,
they’ll be shopkeepers again.

1 Buzkashi – literally, ‘goat-grabbing’ – is an equestrian sport played with the carcass of a headless goat in Afghanistan and throughout Central Asia. It is said that in the original version prisoners of war were used.



Mary Smith