Judith Taylor

Judith Taylor comes from Perthshire and is based in Aberdeen. She studied at St Andrews, Oxford and Sheffield universities and now works in IT. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines, and she is the author of two pamphlet collections – Earthlight (Koo Press, 2006) and Local Colour (Calder Wood Press, 2010). Her poem ‘The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman’, which first appeared in Northwords Now, was chosen as one of the Scottish Poetry Library's Best Scottish Poems of 2014. Her first full-length collection, Not in Nightingale Country, was published in 2017 by Red Squirrel Press.


Photo: (c) Anny Thompson


Red Squirrel Press Showcase »

Reading: Colin Will, Judith Taylor, Elizabeth Rimmer

Fri 9 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Council Chamber



You can play that cello all you like
to the cool, thickening dark
– nothing will answer.
The woods at the end of your garden
are low and leaning, shaped by gales
and gripping stone for a footing.
They are never heady with wild flowers.
You're not in nightingale country.

Take in your elaborate music-stand
– the dew will rust it –
close the patio doors, and light the light.
Don’t be disheartened. You’ve been out
asking the wrong questions:
everyone does, at first. But listen later
when your neighbour makes
another midnight effort to get finished

whatever ramshackle thing
he’s building now.
A tawny owl will come to a near tree
and hoot the noise of his hammer back
in the same rhythm precisely, blow for blow.
Though whether in love or mockery
or to warn him off ancestral ground
I doubt we’ll ever know.

Judith Taylor

From Not in Nightingale Country (Red Squirrel Press, 2017); previously published in Gutter '05