Soutar's Life

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Soutar in the garden

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Illness, poetry and death

Three years later, in 1927, his parents adopted five year old Evelyn, a distant relation, whose welcome presence in the house provided a focus for Willie's poetry. He produced a number of bairn-rhymes, or verses for children, which were eventually published in 1933 under the title Seeds in the Wind and dedicated to Evelyn.

Willie's condition, confirmed as ankylosing spondylitis, worsened steadily and in November 1930 he was permanently confined to bed.

His father extended his bedroom and created a large window overlooking the garden and beyond to Craigie Hill. From his bed, propped up on pillows and dressed in bow tie and jacket, Willie looked out on the world and held court amongst his many visitors and fellow writers, some intellectually stimulating, others less so.

From now on, Willie's travelling was a journey of the mind, his route mapped out in the diaries, dream journals and the published works he left behind.

He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in July 1943 and died in October of that year, aged 45.

Detail from the window Soutar House.