The Saints are Coming is a thoroughly entertaining gazetteer of the lesser-known Saints. Jackson takes us on a wild, compelling tour of saints many of us wouldn’t believe could possibly exist – St. Isidore, of Computer Programmers; St Clotilde, of Disappointing Children and even poor St Fiacre, Patron Saint of Haemorrhoid Sufferers. The poems are by turns comedic, entertaining and illuminating but, crucially, they are also consistently moving. Indeed what raises this book to another level is the formal precision and meticulous skill with which Jackson has built the individual poems. This collection is serious poetry, at times seriously funny, to be seriously enjoyed – an unmissable addition to the poetic canon. (John Glenday)
There's a certain joy to finding out that computer programmers and comedians even have a patron saint, let alone imagining how they would express themselves. St Edmund's apposite pantoum against pandemics ("what goes around comes around"), the conclave of the twelve patrons of shepherding, arguing over details until someone recalls their actual purpose ("the sheep the sheep which of us was watching the sheep"), the train drivers left to find their way, unaided by any saint, to unlikely destinations – "West Moribund" really ought to exist on a map. The variety of form and tone in this assembly skilfully reflects the variety of occupations and concerns among the saints. (Sheenagh Pugh)
The Saints Are Coming by Andy Jackson (ISBN 978-1-9164051-3-4)
Andy Jackson lives and works in Dundee. His first two collections, The Assassination Museum (2010) and A Beginner’s Guide to Cheating (2015) were published by Red Squirrel Press. He has also coedited several anthologies, Split Screen, Double Bill and Scotia Extremis, which document encounters between poetry, politics and popular culture.
The Chant of St Edmund the Martyr
Patron saint against pandemics
What goes around, comes around –
not all devils live in Hell.
What if I’m the breeding ground?
My soul is brittle as a shell.
Not all devils live in Hell,
some hide in every fresh mutation.
My soul is brittle as a shell
from birth to death, an incubation.
Some hide in every fresh mutation –
this prayer may even be a host –
from birth to death, an incubation
for Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
This prayer may even be a host,
a germ in sacramental guise
so Father, Son and Holy Ghost
can breed the faith among the lies.
A germ in sacramental guise
to spread the doctrine to the herd
can breed the faith among the lies,
a vector for the virus of the word.
To spread the doctrine to the herd –
what if I’m the breeding ground,
a vector for the virus of the word?
What goes around, comes around.