PEOPLE – PLACES – POSSIBILITES
I’ve enjoyed and learned from over 40 years of working in and with communities, community groups, organisations and individuals. Together we developed local ideas into sustainable partnerships that delivered important contributions to community life. We see and experience things along the way.
POETRY and BUNDLES
“Exploring poetry is…….
“I enjoy writing when it moves me, to fill in time. I should, for sure, study the science bit of it a bit more but as confidence grows, I become aware that I can write for myself as a counter to dips in outlook and personal daily life.
Good stuff. I’ve had feedback at all levels from “Aye right” along the scale to “Spot on, thats how it was for me.”
In brief this prompted a wee idea that I would compile a collection. Who for? Well, anyone who wants to read it, but why not for the grandkids? Time of writing blesses me with four bonnie weans, as many if not more, savings accounts. Additional respect for my own children and how they are learning to be parents themselves gives me an abstract sense of support from out there somewhere.
So this bundle of words and pieces of poetry is a building collection for my grandchildren. They are, with the exception of a noble rogue teenager, toddlers 3 fold.
I will build it up across months and though the poems are not children’s poems about children, in the main, they will be the children’s poems. Whatever the future brings I will always be their grandad, they will always be my grand children.
So thats it, poems for the kids.
If you have time to dip in, I hope there is a line or two that touches base!
PERMISSION A dictator collected all people And speaking to them ''Listen to me, I know The one who laugh, Laugh to my chair! The one who cry, Cry for my position! So that I decide; Both of laughing and crying Are prohibited without our permission'' (from Kurdish)...read more
The shoulders we stand on
I love both of my children, one hundred percent,
How does that work?
You are my happiest and my saddest day,
You are my tears and my laughter,
My once upon a time and my, um, happy ever after,
Hmm, that’s a bit twee,
Sank to the bottom, roared to the rafters,
All with you both,
How come we laughed, we cried,
How come we saw birth, then died,
Needed truths and lies,
Adventures, time goes, flies,
The Spare Chair*
All hail, a noble rescue,
Ah, Bless you, bless you, bless you.
The seat of so many celebrated,
Rumps of human kind, leave their mark,
A mark on the spare chair.
Van Gogh captured one,
When he would stare, stare, stare,
To see beyond the chair, chair, chair
But no ochre yellow or tobacco pipe so grand,
Matches the framed nylon, brown, tugged and bland,
That supported generations of those who must not stand,
And those who couldn’t.
Glass coach and horses danced from Gran’s cabinet,
Aye patient, fed and watered yet,
And minded moments are cried aroond the room,
Past humiliations, desperations, glint in our eyes,
Shortie ‘n bun pressed to hand,
Another yellow glassed, golden,
Soon to vanish, but oh!
One song, one singer, no need o’ a band,
In this safe place to sit, to nod, to bandstand.
All ages blessed in rooms across our land.
Then Shoo the horses, store the carriage,
Brush the crumbs, God, bless this home and marriage,
The chair journeys home, to the place of rest,
The weans room, by the ‘robe, near the chest,
Waiting for the call that demands supporting role once more,
What? Just a chair dustin’ in the corner by the door?
No, a throne that’s rescued generations across the land,
‘Bring the spare chair doon!’, will be the cry!!
For here, in this home, nae need tae stand.
We Are All In It Together*
‘Yes old chap it’s difficult’,
Said a millionaire,
And we are all going to feel the pinch,
Said a millionaire,
Sooner or later,
Said a millionaire,
We will have to give up something
For the greater good.
One less home, he said,
One homeless, I said.
Food for thought, he said,
Thoughts of food, I said.
‘We’re all in it together,’
HIs bucket has a fur lined inner,
I have a hole in mine, dear,
Lies are… what you tell me.
And an Old Lady died listening to,
Dead cold, cold, Dead.
‘We are all in it together.’
When you come in from the cold and wet, And shake oﬀ the rain ‘n glaur, And stumble doon the dipper brae, Ach jings! Ah did that yince afore, And when you look around the room, There’s a’ the laughin’ faces, A whole load a freends, ma freend, In a’ the usual places.
There’s a spare stool in the bar, ma’ freend, There’s a spare stool in the bar, So please shine it with yon end, E’er you come fae near or far.
Now loads o’ faces ﬁll the room,
The craik, the gripes, the moans,
The cooncil, ﬁtba’, rugby, common ground, Five star content in their groans,
Rat pack songs are sung all wrong, As with all the Irish hits,
The only thing that clicks in here, Is backs, ‘n knees ‘n hips. Whiles time gans by, yon days in past, Crowds fechtin for their places, Nods and handshakes, pats on backs, Just gid folks, nae need for airs and graces, But what we count as Gold medal fare, Standin’wi’ yer beer glass full,
Is when you sit yer brains ﬂat doon,
On the one spare bar stool.
The spare bar stool has supported all,
Generations across the years,
But many faces are long gone, For whom we shed a tear,
When fower score ‘n thrie gan’ up the hill, And doon came eighty twa’
We stop and look, wi’ gie few words, Respect, the spare stool in the bar.
Bill Fish, Ivor, Fargo, Jock,
All shared the shinin’o’ the wid, A’ thae years o’ hot air,, Often no’ so very gid,
But these folks represent oor past, Many focht for us in the war,
Their friends gave up their tomorrows, So we’d have oor day in the bar!
Some things change, some stay the same, In the room where times stand still, The only thing that challenges change, Are the prices on the till,
But your most welcome to join oor noise, So come on in, frae near and far, But please respect those wha’ went afore ye, Tak yer place oan their Spare stool in the bar.
Nae Mair Blair ‘The Musical’*
“Oh, oh, oh!!” What?* “A lovely war!!”
Nae Mair Blair ‘The Musical’There he is, for it is usually him,
Carrying his Scotland honours three,
Of arrogance, ego and insecurity.
Beyond his pale, in a step too far,
Who is a self appointed pompous noble,
Absent of regal thought, never supped at the humility bar.
Cliched, always, “we are where we are”.
The response to every idea, answer to nothing at all,
“Let’s leave it that, thank you all”,
Leaving a hole wider than he found it,
Faces left ﬂoundering, wide eyed, still grounded,
Knowing they are the solution to the chaos surrounding,
The place they are left in, where we are,
The army of a naked emperor, a ginned general,
Over the top, all hearts pounding,
Ours at least.
Is, (I will underestimate, always,)
Doing her own things, quietly,
I see it, I get it,
I love you,
Can You See Me.....?*
Can you see me?
I mean, really…
Past the shouting,
Your voice crashes, smothers through,
I feel, smell the breath
Hot and cold
Through my hair,
Past my cheek,
Turn right, oﬀer left.
Under the stair.
Can you see me?
What to say?
Translate a Makars language
Breagha is beautiful
A language that sings,
Mostly of beautiful things.
The eagle soars, eyes gorging on this fine place,
Where crashing waters, like veins, carry life to tempting pools,
Pools of such depths, mysteries, beauty, my Breagha,
Lead to the sea washing round volcanoes pushing back to the sky.
The world begins here? Your world,
World of Alba, Sandy beaches, machair Flora, land of the Stuarts,
Breathtaking, the eagle soars,
Breagha, beautiful company,
The eagle shakes the dew from her head, focus on one sparkling gem,
One sparkling gem, beyond agates, cairngorm, smoky quartz, beryl, lazuli,
My Breagha, where the eagle eye lands,
She blinks her eye, agrees to protect and flies, flies flies,
Tuf Shoes, Compass, in the heel,
Timpson shooting stars, boots on the field,
Essentials of English, 10 times repeat, repeat,
Corner shop, MB bars, other sweets,
Flying saucers, Soor plooms, Sweet tatties, Kola Kubes,
Sports mix, pineapple drops, penny chews, sherbert tubes.
Heidie McDonald, ginger white hair,
Gruff, ready Lewisman, he cared,
Mrs Mathieson, teacher, United us, she cared.
Kind ladies in the kitchen, they cared
In the class, Scotland 1 Italy 0,
Mr Wragg – it was big thing to do, he cared,
Now I get it, I get it still, huge moments,
Get it out there, respect, we can care.
Open to adventures,
Dalry pool, bus, noise, wee adventures,
Woolies broken biscuits, threepence a bag,
Edinburgh schools football select, wide eyes,
The choir, the theatre club, art and stories!
SS Canberra, fjords of Norway,
Cruise dad couldn’t afford, yet….
He went all the way. I get it now, he cared.
Background Beatles singing, black and white,
For sure, those times, Astoria,
A shelter for the the flickering Hard Days Night.
Carole Summers and her long blonde hair,
And eyes of blue…..? I wanna hold your hand!
Eleanor Hogg….a smile , a smile too….far
For the Qualy dance. Girls? No, not a clue.
Friends? Really? Where do they go?
Punches, names, kicks, slaps,
What people do and why, the big lesson begins,
Off to the big school,
Moon walk, decimal coins, outdoor success, mountain disaster,
Growing, growing, learning lessons, some never asked for,
For, now I know, it was the end of the prologue, start of the story,
The introduction to that lifelong condition, imperfect glory!
The Most Amazing People.
Feck, it’s no’ yer Einsteins, Van Gogh’s , Burns,
Shakespeare, Brunel, or Ma Theresa,
It’s certainly no’ tha erseholes Johnson, Trump, Cameron, Gove,
Patel, May, spineless, greedy, bullies.
No’ the overpaid fitba’ players, ego drowning rugger buggers,
Strutting the streets like they owned others,
OK, all have their place, achievements, we breathe the same air,
Phit a’ aboot invisible heroes,
Ghosting through the streets of our lives,
Barely a nod offered by masses, albeit from innocence,
Innocent unawareness of monumental achievements,
Everests climbed, channels swam, lives saved.
Really? Everest? Na, naw’, no’ really, but just as huge, shoojer even,
Lunch clubbing grannies for decades, home visits to homebound,
Wassim, shop keeper who opened in spite of the vilest names,
Ruth, the bigots fired her home, her passion was greater,
Her support line saved lives, man, saved lives.
Still invisible tae maist, if no all.
Wood sculptor, saved a woodland, opened to thousands,
Passed before it rooted, seeded 300 more wood’s, that’s what trees dae.
George, a human public appeal, wore heart and suit, Cathy came too,
Jees, he furthered science, a local farmer. OK, rugby player in lieu.
In fairness you widnae miss him, less floating spirit, mare he’s loupin’.
Same streets, where Jesse fought the twenty year council war, a champion for public housin’..
Jean, knitted, baked, sang, danced, walked, speechified, sponsored,
The community centre grew, Jean didnae make the opening, rested, passed.
Nae plaque or statue.
Bill, who felt every blow his trainees got at home, fed and watered, them,
Bill sheltered, policed, advocated possibilities, sherriff’s listened t’him,
Tae a real hero, no’a parachutist leased car poseur clocker in.
Celebrations on occasion, all invited, but the ruggers and personalities,
Wer’na there, double booked with colonial approval,
Bending to knees, better than others, it seems Garter, OB and MBE’s,
Nodding through the rails at Buckingham Palace, pass the real ghosts of heroes,
Pass the Jean’s, Cathy’s, Doddie’s, Tim’s, Ruth’s, Wassim’s, Jesse’s and friends!
Spirits of heroes, celebrating ends, we’re not at the end, we’re at the start again.
Times, someone will walk up to them and say ‘thanks, you saved my life’.
The Last House In The Street
The Last Doorstep in the Street
The black’nin, the top step bowed in the middle,
Yin big memory stane o’ years o’ in and oot!
Whole clans and orphans leaping on and over,
Hungry workers and starvin’ weans racin’ yin anither.
Neighbours laughs and tears, fa’in a’ aboot.
Wars and famine, rent raids and scally men,
Beady eyed loan sharks, widows, bleary, teary eyed,
Mother clutching telegram, fu’ o’ someone else’s regret,
The whole street knew it was Erchie, like,
The whole street knew the postman’s bike.
Staggering redundo parties, men emptying envelopes,
Starting the screamin’, bleedin’, mendin’.
Bruising stramash, searching the pubs for florins unspent,
A shericking, the only victory for her, for now, back to bruises, jeesoh,
Cross the step, the next chapter, door slams shut, neebors eyes drop.
Moonlandings, Fab Four break, hearts are planted, presidents are lost,
Merry Xmas launched …forever, it’s true, same wi’ ABBA and Waterloo,
The step, held fast, and Mrs. kept it clean, loving the first foot footprint,
Sign of escapism for a while, folks wishing for better days,
No’ asking why a new year wid be different, anyway, who says?
Every year, dusty footsteps thinned, the shiny step still beckoned in,
Life cracked on, people passed, ‘How ye doin?’, no one asked,
Stooped and hopeful, deaf to realities, oiled the step, practicalities,
Last step in the street, where are the folks she used to meet?
Shadows in mind, faces long gone, her eyes narrowed, a teary greet.
Faces flashed by, last glisten in the eye, She fell forward,
Barely moved as she knelt, last breath on the step,
Found sheltering her black bun and shortie from the rain of the day,
We didn’t know her name, the last step in our street, no one could say.
Weird, there was six sets of footsteps in dust as they took her away.
A Seat In The Museum*
Today, 2 seats along, sat a man,
Of long wispy white hair,
Max Wall sides,
Berghaus jacket, 15 litre sac, sensible shoes,
On his own, alone, with himself,
Clicking with the computer in the museum,
Affirming anything, everything,
Building his glass case.
Now I see there are only two seats to go.
Grannie’s Should Run The World.*
Cooree in, bairn, cooree in,
Cooree in tae ma’ breest,
It’s the maist ah c’n dae darlin’,
An’ it’s the least.
Salut , Maslow! In Kirkton Muir*
Bubble ‘n squeak,
With the spirit, lamp, to give us light
Under a tin roof that kept out the night.
Unstated love that hugged us tight,
Beech’n birch shooshing the air
Blowing in on tomorrows moments,
Pump water to the 6 by 4
Blue gas, a florin, rests on the floor
Drink, eat, warm and safe,
In a fresh new world,
And a blessed, simple grace.
When Apples Fall Up*
When apples fall up,
From the tree,
When it rains frogs,
Scotrail apologies seem sincere,
We hear meeyowing dogs.
Men tell ye what time they came home,
Women agree your bum looks big in it.
One armed man claps a thunder,
Fill the hole before digging it.
Politicians tell the truth, eye to eye,
There’s only meat in Gus’s pie,
Wave your arms, off you fly,
No more bombs on Allepo. Aye?
There is a heaven when you die?
Cut Fruit dining with Klueless Klux Klan,
After you, really, said driver of the white van.
Rich confess their returns were fiction, we’re due tax.
Prime minister ‘outraged’ from his council house in Halifax.
Food banks close, needed homes stay open,
The games legacy is not just for sportsmen.
The sky shines green, the grass dulls blue,
Burnmill flows uphill, one and one ain’t two.
Doesn’t rain in Scotia, Mrs. Cullucoidus don’t bite,
Oor government cares for locals, aye, right!
Theres nae sense in’t, joy in’t.
A tree in oor forest fell today,
Downed, scythe man had the say.
Wrong season, too early, wi’ time left to play,
But fields are bled, he mowed his hay.
Friends asking why?
What do I say?
Nae sense, nae guilt, nae cause, nae blame.
Any truth in the world?
Aye, salt in tears, taste the same.
Cruelly, brother, yet wonderfully, we can say,
Tomorrow, is another growing day.
A new moment….all mine.
Him I touched, third generation brushed,
Blessed I am,
One of the first touches he has.
For sure, s’fine.
For days will come, when he touches breast, milk and warmth,
He will grow on it.
Touches blanket he will warm in it.
Touches toy, he will play with it.
Touches hot, he will cry with it…
Touches cold, he will question it.
Touches sharp, he’ll bleed with it, yet sing free with it
Touches friendship, he will love, commit to it.
Touches hearts, embrace, cherish it.
Touches my hand, walk safely with it,
Touches danger, deal with it.
Touches base, glad of it, remember it.
Touches bridge, cross it.
Touches love, will love it.
Touches new life, he will ask “ Too much?”
Touches wisdom, he’ll use it.
Touches you, he will respect it.
Touches life path, he will run it,
Touches small hand, he will protect and walk with it.
Touches you, when you need it.
Touches tomorrow he will bless it.
Touches his finishing line, he’ll celebrate it.
And when he touches a place beyond……
Be excited, for he’ll smile for you,
And for all the touches ahead of you.
My War? Give Me A Minute*
Hold your horses chaps, hold your tongue, 59,
Hear the whistle, your big moment has come, 57,
He’s done this before, naw he’s no’, he’s too young, 55,
Whispered Ercildoune next door, Kings Own, missin’ his mum, 53,
Ah ken, ah says, wains dressed up as men, 51,
Onyway, na’body done it yince wid dae it again, 49,
Are ye ok son, wipe your eyes, ye’ll see the steps, 47,
There, next to him thats face down, oan yer left, 45,
Good God, he canna be fifteen, aye, an’ he’s no’ seein’ sixteen, 43,
Look, his granny’s knitted socks showin’dods o’ bright green, 41,
In the glaur, noo sepia broon’, mud oozin’, 39,
Mon, mon, this is crazy, bloody crazy, 37,
How, whit are ye thinkin’, says Earlston, whit’s in yer heid? 35,
Leader banks, m’man, fae Lauder to yer door, then t’Tweed, 33,
Smells o’ growin’ grasses, neeps awa’ tae seed, 31,
The tumblin’ water hitting’ boulders and weed, 29,
Ducks duckin’, dippers dippin’ an’ herons loupin’, 27,
An these birkies takin’ it from us, as we fa’ like cut grass, 25,
Lyin’ like sheaves, untied, stomped on, flexin’ oor last, 23,
Aye, says, Earlston, ah s’pose,‘nah wonder what m’young sisters daein’, 21,
The muckle mou’ we’d cry her, but sic a smile, lass, 19,
Sic a smile, wi’ a’ cousins and freends at the Earlston Haugh, 17,
Ah cannae wait ‘till we a dance again, ah canna wait at’a’, 15,
Well lad ah hope ye get to spring a reel, like oor Cornets dae, 13,
Woa, now, whits that yellow smoke, that stuff near the coughin’ bloke? 11,
They’re falling, hell, it’s headin’ this way, 9,
Whit dae we dae, wheres the man wi’ the whistle , whit wid he say? 7,
Lauder, ahm feart, ahm feart, aye Earlston, aye, me tae, 5,
Pheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, pheeeep pheeeep,
C’mon chaps, said the whistle man, up we go, over the top 3,
I’m right behind you, way over here. 1,
In our reach
Time and place
It's Been A While*
Ah’ve been here for ower 70 Years, an’ Ah can mind the day we left
The day Jimmy Shaw rode doon the street
Safe in, wavin’ tae his folks above the shop
Proud as any young man ye’d meet
But aye it’s been a while
But aye it’s been a while
We’ve come a long way, an Ah’ve no been hame
But have thocht o’ you often a’ the same
Some who Ah know are off tae meet their maker
And some who who are hingin’ oan an’ enjoyin’ a wee dram
An some who Ah’ve never set ma eyes oan
You are the fresh corn o’ the dale
But Ah was weel travelled as Ah ken some o’ you hae been
Fechtin wars in foreign parts
African sands o’ gold and in French fields o’ green
But Ah mind yin time in Normandy, where it a’ came back tae me
The bodies lyin’ a’ around, the flooers o’ your forest a’ wee’d
The sense in it Ah couldnae see
But then up went the shout clear and loud
‘Jeddart’s here’ he shouted proud
‘Bonnie Lauderdale’ Ah shouted up Ah full stood
‘Aye, Gala’s here an’ aw’, the pipes and drums they did us proud
Aye but no afore the shout o’ ‘guid auld Hawick’ split the sky
Then Kelsae, Langholm, Duns, Coldstream and Selkirk were shouted high
We as Borderers stood side by side and we thought of home and of you
Sure all Australians but that day Borderers true
An’ Ah closed my eyes for a second and Ah could see the mother and child
On that Royal and Ancient banner of blue
And true on that day some of our brothers died
The band didn’t play Waltzing Matilda
But as Ah write Ah want to know that you, you all here tonight
Arrived frae a’ toons, friendship true
To all ma friends in Lauderdale a special g’day to you,
Ah guess Ah don’t’ know you, but Ah think Ah really do
You’ll forgive an auld exile a tear as he pens this tale
Aye Ah’m awa’, but Ah’m no’
Aye it’s been a while.
Yours sincerely Bonnie Lauderdale
Hush, Nae Band*
Hear whats no’ there,
Nae boom boom boom,
Nae stane oan thir land,
No yet dugs barkin, weans larkin, freends parkin’, bacon sparkin’,
Tyin’ ties, rollin’ colours, peened hats, kissin’ mothers,
A’done, th’shinin’ boots, leather, flasks and silvers,
Kerchiefs, breakfast beer taken, prood badges, peened wi’ blethers,
Picters dusted, memories ca’ed, excited friends a’ gather .
Noo , ca’ the Band……..
Base, boom, boom, boom!!
Till time is ca’ed,
Oh Sic’ a day!
Sic’ a day mon!
Noo, hush again, listen, hear it,
Till we ca’ again.
Enlightenment and War*
Plus Ca Change…
Far north, I sit in, on, a field,
Where once a battle in war took place,
When in Edinburgh, at the same damned time,
Enlightened men, talking of high things,
In the School of Common Sense, they claimed,
Supped wine and ale through hot air and curiosities,
And now the wind whistles through the stubble of this field,
As I lie inhaling the scented remains,
Of the day where, inches below me,
They fertilise this land at what cost?
There is a whiff, today, of something the same,
In the Capital, polished, bleached seats of reason,
In the, supposedly, peoples home of enlightened thoughts,
While outside, in our war zone,
A battle rages, a war,
People are lost,
And the remains smell of the familiar.
Supping wine and ale through hot air with toothless curiosity.
I prefer Caithness in the winter, dawn comes at a more convenient time.”
A time when grand things can and will occur,
Fine people will collide and good and decent things will be done,
Done for us without looking back at the why, who and wherefore,
For such grace is blessed upon us by friends who don’t need us to know they are there.
There are few of us, scattered like centuries old clan chiefs.
Chief amongst us is you, for I keep an eye on you especially,
Especially because you are heartbeat to me, to my Caithness, beautiful to me,
To me every day and when dusk falls, curiously at a convenient time,
A time I am already looking forward to because I can walk the croft, when dawn arrives again.
Again at a more convenient time.
FOR GREENLAW WI.
Honestly, I tend just to drive on through,
Tae Castrum, Dunce, Orange Lane, Paxton and Berwick upon Tweed,
Places to aim for, but me, nah, seldom resting in Grinlay.
So far nae need.
No till this day, traffic stopped ‘hint a cooncil truck,
Takin’ ages, or so it seemed, just oor luck
Oan Duns road, headin’ up the hill,
As ah say, oan this occasion, m’motor stopped, standin’ totally still.
Ah looked to ma right, and there it was, solid standin’,
Ah’d seen it often, mind, paid nae attention,
Today though it’s demandin’.
That ah gie it thought and consideration,
What had gone on here across the generations?
This muckle toon ha, surely the grandest aroon,
A mark o’ life past in this auld 16th Century first Coonty toon,
When it was Coonty Ha’, then it wisnae, then it was, then 20th Century it wisnae since mair,,
Duns stole it back, title n’aw, people kent high up people, the way it’s aye been. No’ fair.
But this Hall, a piece of auld Greek, sae grand and surely full of grand tales,
A place to gaither, dance, laugh, love and later hold furnit’yer sales,
After haein’ a dook in the underfloor pool, whit? Believe it?
This piece of auld Greece, important? Aye, just a bit.
Along wi twa pubs, a gable kirk, a handfae o’ shops, farmin’ and horseriding,
Tales o Polish sodjers workin’, playin’ fitba, fallin’ in love and, well, some bidin’.
The memorial stone prood at the front, in it’s right place, markit wi’ names,
Those who gave up thi’r day so we could have oor’s, time and time again
Keeping the symmetry o’ this hall, this grand place, the building and folks faces,
It’s everyones responsibility to do whit we can with all good graces,
To savour the voices of days gone by, this centre o’ community,
Treasure this place, it’s stories, heartbeat, give it life with impunity.
As the Castle Kings still echo in the auld hotel,
‘Times drooned oot by the London bus, cups ‘o tea n’all
The organ in the theatre rattles up the close to the Fairbairn hall,
The Blackadder bubbles awa’ tae the Tweed, mother nature turnin’ oan the rise and fall,
Ah hope the new bairns and folks o’ Grinlay know what they’ve got,
This toon ha’!
A huge symbol, best in the Berwickshire pot.
Oh, here we go, the Cooncil lorry has had it’s lunch, finished their break, including a half ‘oor v.a.t and wi’ good measure,
I look at the cars in the queue, wonder if others had noticed this undervalued beast o’ a treasure,
I pull away, mental note tae m’sel, that all places hae journeys, history and a’ o’ lifes fragilities,
Ho! Think aboot it Grinlay!
Yer People, yer Place, yer Possibilities.
Oh, and yer Toon Ha!
What is it?
What is it,
What is it,
So, what is it?
Well, its the past
Its the present,
Its here and its now
Its the Leader flowing,
Past the trees that bow,
The fields o’ a’ colours,
Gods garden ,y’might say,
Green shoots o’ recovery,
Every year, every day,
What is it,
This grand green place,
Its in every tear,….
Its the glens,
The roads that turns,
Like veins where true blood will flow,
To yer hame, to yer loved,
That’s what matters,
Woodheads ‘n bits ‘a around.
Aye its the places, the toon ha’, church steeple,
But a place is a wilderness……. without us,
Wains and ma’s,
Grandma and pa,
Cousins and a’….
Friends o’ a ages,
New and aye bin,
Bakers, postman, polis and servers ‘o sin!!
And happy times minglin’ wi’ tears,
O times remembered, ower yer years,
But wi’ laughter in charge,
We continue tae toil,
Aye spreading oor seed,
Everyday, tendin the soil,
That runs through oor fingers,
Wi banes, blood and soul,
Aye the soul,
O,those who laughed and wept afore us,
So we could live ‘n love,
Hear the mornin’ chorus,
And yince a year escape frae realities,
And salute the young symbol,
O the future,
Oor place ,
Gaither at the toon ha’
And ride a’ around,
Tendin the cairn,
Rightin’ the boonds.
And at the memorial stane,
A’ hushed…. riders, horses, hoonds.
The meenister says,
Raise yer eyes, just a crack,
At the riderless horses,
Boots facing back,
To gie us this day,
For those born, those lived and those past,
Wis it worth it,
Wis it worth it,
But ye must aye ask.
An’ raise oor eyes again,
Lift the serious mask.
An breathe in Lauderdale,
An march doon the road for the day,
An think, just for a second, ask yersel ‘n say,
So what is it?
What is it?
What is it?
Wi humility ‘n good grace
Its the people,
The possibilities in this,
Its the glens ,
the roads that turn
In the soil,
its the hert,
The stories gan by,
The shroud o mystery.
That feeds the sun,
And the scenery
So we stop and ask oursels,
Wi a passin’ kiss
It just is,
It just is,
It just is.
Is there Another place,
Like this? …….
How They Danced
Embraced by this Greek Parosian rock,
I share a space in the smallest of village squares,
Where the heart of this isle beats.
Collectively, chatteringly, powerfully,
Families break bread, sharing all,
Before the big match, the tradition,
Hosts and distant Ottoman cousins travel,
The two year cycle turns, they begin.
A face off.
Intensely, precisely, passionately, carefully,
Skillfully, colourfully, emotionally, respectfully,
Completely challengingly, presenting each other,
The island emigrants reel, weaving small careful steps,
Fingers entwined in ribboned sea waves, our home, Ottoman home
The jig and marching line of the visiting refugee clans,
Crossing, claiming mountains, rivers, driven on to Ottoman enclave.
Eyes meet, music booms and cheers rise to the church spires,
We strangers, alert to unspoken histories, tied in watching flattering steps,
Celebrations loom in shared company of jig’s and reels,
Painting our journeys, for sure, here, take this hand.
Such life, such heart, such beauty.
For sure Mr Bogart, like you,
I’ll always have Paros.
Sh, shoosh, shoosh, the tumbling stones,
Heaven here, walking alone,
Sand, seaweed, old fish bones,
This is the way to be,
Secret world, sky to sea,
My people, these places, our possibilities,
Big animal, swaying, watching over me,
This is the way to be.
Letting go, not being lost
Oneness, Reason, Compassion,
Sincerity, Truth, Honesty,
Step up, choose your ride,
Fairness, Authenticity, Loyalty,
Courage, Justice… stay on the near side,
Become who you are, who you can be,
The Art of Existence, never adequacy,
If the word is ethics, and its meaning is justice,
And grand deeds found amongst us, in our people,
Help us to miss madness, sadness,
Find contentment, gladness.
Stop tilting at windmills, atop an ass,
Time devouring all around us,
Carousel turns, dipping and rising,
I don’t lose all of my races,
As I ride my mounts to my ticker line.
The flag falls.
If Seneca. A*
If I knew then what I know now,
I’d have kissed you,
Longer, softer, slower and deeper.
These things I know now,
I now know,
Don’t last forever.
Rich Or Poor*
Never had the choice to be rich or poor,
But when I popped out, there were, skulking in the background,
Beyond the close up, temporary, smiling faces,
Grey faced, grey suited guys,
Opening but mostly closing, shutting doors.
In my face.
Whiles, they checked out the weight of my spoon.
They directed me down the road more travelled,
Following the herd, reminding me that this is what will be, meant to be,
While, with a sparkled eye, lopsided smirk,
Whispering to a few that,
‘Maybe, just maybe, for you,
There can be a different road, if you behave.’ He frowned.
The man in the suit said he would let me know,
He was optimistic, he said, as he departed.
Further down the road, I heard from someone else,
In an identical suit,
That I’d missed my chance,
So I stopped and asked why?
‘Because, just because, don’t ask questions,
Now, run along, back on the drove road’.
Patting my head, shouting ‘In bye’.
Damn, I stood my ground,
Damn your eyes,
Damn your cowardice,
Damn your suits,
Damn your lies.
Damn your two tailed coin.
Tumbled down the other road as they ran to stop me,
In their grey shapeless suits.
Turning, towards them, looking in their pale eyes,
‘Don’t think about going there, back away,
I’ll pull your suits to the ground,
And trample them into this road.
Ah! What comes after, well, follows
Twenty eight what?
You, muse, reﬂect, wonder, contemplate,
Twenty eight diamond starry nights?
Twenty eight switched on Christmas lights,
Twenty eight, oh! deep breath! near, near misses,
Twenty eight holding hands, with Twenty eight cool, cool kisses?
Twenty eight stolen glances,
Twenty eight taken chances,
Twenty eight, I wish, Paris France’s,
Twenty eight slow, slow inSeine dances?
Twenty eight stolen hours,
Twenty eight ‘I love you’, long stemmed ﬂowers?
Twenty eight your babies’ faces,
Twenty eight Thanks and Graces,
Twenty eight sighs, we’re, unco happy! Even with Twenty eight ﬁrsts, ﬁlls o’nappy?
Twenty eight ‘glad ye’r all here’
Twenty eight hugs, unwrapped, uncorked, Christmas cheer,
Twenty eight lines, Auld Lang Syne,
Twenty eight glances, ‘I’m glad you’re mine’?
Twenty eight It’s just you and me,
Twenty eight sunrises o’er a sea,
Twenty eight deep sea dives, Twenty eight rockin’ disco jives?
Twenty eight ﬁrst times ever, Twenty eight Choos, all red leather.
Twenty eight groovy smoochy love songs, Twenty eight lines c’est notre chanson.
Twenty eight? So what does follow on?
It all does,
The adventures are in your hands, Happy birthday!!
Go, sing your own song!
Here We Go Again*
The day records began,
Was a busy day.
Beginning records for everything is a grand task,
And since we began the records task,
“ Is this the highest, longest, wettest that’s ever been,
Since records began?”
Is all we continue to ask.
Neilly Passed This Way*
My friends are dying, To remind me,
I have, in the grand swing of things,
Moments to live,
And they remind me that
One day I’ll be a friend
Who passed, reminding you,
Of your moments,
Left to live…..
I Saw My Dads Ankles Today*
I saw your grandad’s ankles today,
Hanging, ﬁve wrinkles each,
At the end o’ my legs,
I swear he was older than this, when he had them, Or so my memory, albeit fading, says.
(I took down all of the mirrors in the house,
Some years since, truth be said,
Couldn’t ﬁt in them any longer – or wider – ,
I got a fright every night as I stumbled on to bed.)
So as a dad, maybe it’s time to hold a stocktake,
From these heirloom ankles up to my hair.
Freckled legs, wobbly knees, thighs just sitting,
A rounded, extended middle, hiding something down there, Swamped by two great hurdies, mind,
Just as well, I can’t see them, they follow me behind. A stomach you could eat pies oﬀ,
Reﬂecting, that might have been the initial ‘it’s all downhill’ sin’, All overshadowed by D cup, pencil holding mamories, Topped oﬀ by three, maybe four rolling versions, Of what is increasingly loosely, called a chin.
Remember though that I love you.
The lines, as a ventriloquist doll, fall down,
From a mou’, with sparkle free molars, just hanging around,
The self made mouser under the oﬀ centre nose,
Lead up to birds feet, Buzzards, turkeys, eagles, crows,
That focus the e’en, often disguised by lenses in frames,
Under caterpillar eyebrows, legging in several directions,
The eleven wrinkled forehead frown marks doing exactly the same.
Under a still haired but muckle heid, hats are seldom seen,
Silver for the most part, some say grey,
(Personally, I go for ‘distinguey’.)
Surrounding a thinning ﬁfty pence piece of loss,
Where once lay a crown ﬁt for a king.
The hands bear marks of life, of graft and emotion,
Wrinkled, knuckled appendages, conduits of lifes seven oceans,
Caught you when you fell, let go when you set sail,
Hands, yep, tell the deep story, the quest for the living grail.
So that’s it son, for the most part, all true,
Though you’re cycling, running, swimming and climbing just now, All of this is en route to you.
I know you’ll be excited, so theres little more to say.
Except, it no longer stands for ’D’ye Need Anything?
Yep, it’s all yours, no, don’t say a word, no need to thank me, you are welcome, really,
It’s just DNA.
200 year old poem writ this afternoon, 2.00
We vote, I hope you will, on the 18th September, to see whether what we have is what we want, what we need, or what we might have is what we deserve or to see whether things will ever be the same again.
What about our Royal And Ancient Burgh of Lauder and Lauderdale? After the 18th September. Will it be the same again, either way?
Efter the 18th September…….
Whichever way we go,
Will Lauder be more Laudery,
Will the Leader be more Leadery,
Will the Burnmill be more…..burny,
Will the kids who play there be more playful.
The A68 be faster, speedier, safer
Will the Edinburgh bus be more.. on time, faster, cheerier.
Oor toon hall be more toonhally, times beerier.
Oor school be more schooly, pupily and inspiring
The kirk be more kirkier, the minister be more ministerial…and a permanent hiring!
The church singing be more on key, More Hallelujah – ey
Will the carol singing be more …fabulous, more caroley.
Will oor Sunday school be more warm and welcoming.
Will taking oor folks up the hill be any more sad, solemn,
Will we still come doon, one less than we went up.
Could oor shelterted housing give more shelter, more safety, more warmth, be more friendly.
Will oor public hall wi’ extended toilets be more open,
Will the new hooses sooth o the toon have more trees, mare speed bumps,
And four by fours wi’ nae mud oan.
Will the soft play in the leisure centre have one for adults?
Will oor common ground be mare common, stay common, still be oor common?
Will the sheep graze more grazier, lazier,
Will the yellow oan the hill be mare yellow oan the broom
Will the peoples voice be more respected,
In the democratic room?
Will common sense be mare….. common
Will the drama club be more dramatic
The fitba’ club be even more than 100 players,
The Golf club have more putters n’ daft clothes and silly arguments over how the grass is cut.
Will the boolin club stop kidding us oan that it’s about bowls not beer?
The History Society be mare hysterically historical
Will the Limpers limp oan,
The cyclists puff ‘n groan,
Will the Mother Tweed be Tweedier,
The smell o’ Jasmine and Rose be sweeter,
Will Hawick be more……passionate,
Will Jeddart still shout JEDDARTS HERE?
Can Galas braw lasses possibly be any mare brawer,
Selkirks banners be waved any mare higher and wavier.
Will Melrose house prices still be second to Gattonside in their ridiculousness?
Kelsaes Laddie be mare Laddier, C’astream be mare streamier,
Duns, Linton and Langholm shout mare shoutier, mare prouder,
Will Yetholms Bari Gadge, Bari Manushi be the only ones who can see into this future?
Will we ever have toilets at Tweedbank Station?
Will Scottish Borders Council get a backbone, shout back at thae Edinburghers
Oor national politicians, for once, put their head above the parapet,
Will we do mare of the cooncils work,
Make Lauder mare Bloomier, brighter, warmer.
Will we have pavements that are free of shi…..shiny litter,
Will the boom, boom, boom of the drum on Common Ridin’ Morn be less boomier?
Will oor Cornet be mare….special?!!
Will oor flag fly less….flagier, less proudly,
Will the right and left be less or more supportive?
The waterin stane still hae water, be mare stanier,
And the memorial be more, or less of a memory, mare hazier.
Will the minute silence be more silent, more respectful, more…amazing!
Will the dance of optimism doon the street be any less happier and optimistic n’ ballistic?
Will the flag still be returned unsullied, untarnished,
And a proud Burgh still be …prouder.
Will Bonnie Lauderdale be sang mare than before….we’ll see!
Will anyone know the real story aboot Jeannies black e’ee.
Will Scotland Yet ring true for Lauder yet?
Will we be oot safer, and even safer in?
Will the Chairman of the Common Riding be even more …..full of it.
So on 18th September………
Aye or nay,
Ying or yang,
This or that,
Same or different,
More or less,
Curse or bless,
To live life or….? Shrug?
Remember or forget,
Blame or forgive,
Will you…. Win or not
Will Lauder be?
Will Lauder be….?
Will Lauder be?
Aye, so what aboot oor place, oor people, oor possibilities?
Oor dignity, pride, happiness and civilities,
Maybe time to take some responsibility.
Some say you get what you deserve,
One hundred years ago we lost family who died to serve,
So raise oor eyes up,
We might, we must, we will, we can.
Will Lauder be…..?
Which ever way we go,,
It’s in oor hands.
Hello, hello, it’s me, yer Grandad.
Welcome to this, it still is, wonderful world.
This world, this Alba, this place. Come on in.
I’ve been watching the leaves, my leaves, grounded, rustling,
Leaves blowing in driven shaped circles, once budded, green,
Now fallen, tad dry, yet holding still, some shape.
Leaves, veins, fade from green to brown, ‘times stuck in splashing puddles.
Your buds, new, strong, fresh, explosive,
Sticky red with life promise.
Let the adventures commence, the huge moments,
Loaded on memories of fine, simple times passed.
Mum’s of mum’s, dad’s of dad’s and brothers of sisters.
Fine times, fresh buds, time to blossom.
And, y’know, you have a mum and dad who are good people
While I can, I’ll watch over.
All I ask is simply, beautifully,
A kiss on the cheek on Christmas morn’.
All that goes with it.
Whisper it, lets have Christmas every day,
I’ll give you treats when Mum ’n Dad say no,
And when you have a day off school….it’s a grandad day…
You have my permission.
I’ll take you to m’breast when the wild winds blow,
I will love you deeply, no one else need know,
But they will, all is clear,
We’ll aye speak and smile on Birthdays, with a guinea.
We’ll have a place that’s our favourite place to be,
Somewhere near a green hill, a bubbling river,
Or a sandy spot by the boiling seas.
And Sandy, yer boy, brother, my hand long in one of his, will aye look after you,
As you will be there for him, he’ll offer his free hand,
His touch, honest and forever, to the finishing line.
Never stop dancing on your own, but no need to aye follow the steps,
The footprints, fashion your own, let go of the river bank,
Wow! Persevere in the true currents of…..well, who knows?
As you flow to the sea, singing to your own notes.
All of this time, Maw ’n Paw watching over.
When people deceive on you, for in our world some may,
Be true to yourself, let them own their shame.
Discover that the good folks are, just, ahead of these rogues,
As they have been I think, with, for me.
So, lets go, and aye ‘mind,
Yer Grandads, aye here, where ever that may be,
For when we’re together,
We can forget the rest!
Are you kissing her or kissing me?
She sat at the end of the street, he didn’t come but she sat there….
Dont sit , it feels like the end, its the open road, a new beginnng!
Years after I heard my mums story of, in Clydebank, of bombs, tears and minor glories.
Anna Grace Macleod
Ah welcome, m’bonnie lass, Anna Grace, perfection,
Gran’wean four, mind, I’m shaking, I hide,
I shelter, from adult clumsiness, to touch,
My ‘not worthy’ status of human kind,
So I shake with everything and nothing but love,
For you, Anna Grace,
The perfect, perfect image that shakes me,
A tear splashes on the photo that flew through my phone,
You are perfect, m’girl, just perfect,
Have I said that?
Rod and Maija will be there,
Cavalry on call, we’ll all be there,
Just, in case of….well,
Strength of circle, love and warmth….and stuff!
Anna, there will be beauty, eye goggling wonders,
People with exploding hearts, hope filled imaginations,
You will be of them, exhausted with ‘we can, we will’.
Very wonderful things do happen!
I will see those blue eyes, diamond sparkle,
Matching running waters leading to rivers,
Where the flow takes you, deep pools, unknown depths,
Grandad says, ‘follow your dreams’, nae shaking shivers.
Mind, the rogues and rascals will jig their dances,
Bluntly, lying and bullying, pushing their advances,
Oppressing your people with lying glance,
Face them down, Anna, no fear, no second chance.
Stand together, Anna, full on and sure of stance,
No knee on your neck, choking out air and truth,
Lying politicians will attempt to exploit it’s use,
Good folks are there, find them, persevere,
You’ll never be lost, new beginnings, right here.
Thanks For Coming!*
Thanks for comin’.
From airts ’n places,
Hello again…why the long faces….?
After the times we’ve had,
The adventures found, the journeys,
To the best, the greatest of places.
No need to hang down dog, horsey face, stare at the floor,
Counting the screws in the name plates once more,
Horsey faces? For different places,
We all failed yet rallied and won,
And together chased good graces,
Laughed and cried, laughed again,
When another crashed from The TEN.
We carried each others pieces, put them back together,
When everything and nothing mattered, weathered the weather,
You, just you….and me.
No home, no car, no toys, no TV,
No celebrity, no power, no Julia Roberts voices,
You, me and what we have – our joined up choices,
To love or not to love – that’s what the question should be,
You know the answer,
It’s in the heart,
It’s in the place that won’t die away,
Sun, cold, storm says all we’ll say,
That I am yours and you’re mine,
Will be ‘till the end of our time,
Time doesn’t end, proof here today,
All fragments, my love, affection
Hey, we did it our way…
Threads of moments, broken apart,
Shattered, broken, ruined?
Not our heart!
And if any of you have the grace to nod my way today,
From your heart, I want you to say,
That if he did one thing, wi’ no hassle, no fuss,
He knew he had the great fortune to be one, be part of us.
And though pierced by arrows and broken, in two,
Shattered yet mended – we are the glue,
When the house is gone,
Let it be felt, hear our heart in song,
It’s today, tomorrow, forever more,
The laughs, celebrations, life’s swinging doors,
Our heart, our heart, our heart,
Is in all of these places.
So again, my friends,
I ask, with ultimate respect,
Why the long faces?
Majestic, screamed silent, by,
Me, holding breath, wide eyed,
It’s gone, in a Royal flash,
Exhale to the Fisher King bird,
Whiles ’times, it just works,
The whole o’it,
The line ’n it,
The word o’t,
The question o’t?,
The wow!’n it.
The tear in’t,
The cheer in’t.
The leavin’ in’t,
The arriving’ in’t.
Now ye’ve read it,
Tho’, you’ll never ‘a full stop it..’
Yer secrets in’t.
Where E’r You Are*
Be happy this Christmas,
Where e’r you are,
Happy, peaceful Christmas.
I often wonder how it would be,
To live in a cottage,
On a cliff by the sea,
With a white pailing fence
And a wood swing gate
To a crunchly path,
That crunchles when your late.
And a fisherman gnome,
By a pond, near to the door
Of this place, now I need search no more,
With his friend, Ms. Luverley gnome,
We’d call this home!!