Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Net curtains
Diffused sodium light

Open windows
Rumble by road-noise

Four shadowed walls
Unlocked doors

Knocked on 
By night-time security

The eleven-fifteen
To Kings Cross

Rattles its accompaniment
To bright eyes

With uninterruptible
Index fingers 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Chapel Poem

Two chairs, side by side
By the fire extinguisher
Shadows of calm foreboding

Footsteps all outside
Breath of breath my only music
Percolates the present’s presence

He stands in the doorway
With cigarette and mobile phone
She is further away
He remonstrates
It is a one way conversation

We don't do that confession stuff
Otherwise I would happily
Share a chair with you
Sit and talk, you know
Side by side

Welcome my brother
Please share my stillness
This is one cool place
On one warm day

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Other Lights

Trees of bronze, fields of gold
Skies of blue, but turning cold
In my heart and in my voice
Seeking out the other choice

For my love and I we are caught
Life of work with families fraught
All the pains past teenage angst
Lets cut our losses & sail to France

Buy the gite and start to dance

Yet in truth we know we're tied
Fanciful times of love we cried
So smell the coffee & tie the lace
It’s off to work, we're on the case

Friday, 26 September 2014


Trouble says to turn away
Trouble turns another day
Half a life lived in your head
Halfway there and almost dead
Seems your troubles here to stay

All you know you know it well
Know it all but naught to tell
Count to ten and pause your lip
Take the time, kiss fingertips
Find the path where freedom fell

Listen, to the words you don’t
Want to hear; hear, the painful
Words and hear them clear
Formed by love, powered with care
Your life alone they dare to share

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Ticking Clock

It is six years gone by
Since I determined to do
Something with my writing

Last night Kate said  
If you want your poetry
To be so personal
If you want to make it
So difficult to understand
Why do you continue
To put it out there

My swift retort
Was that Hilary Mantel
Said not to underestimate
The ability of your readers

The true response
Of course would
Have caused much self-hurt
Led to more hours than years
Of pitiful, introspective
Selfish investigation

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


He was in the woods
I searched for solace
His words did good
I found a palace

I sort of understood
Perhaps I settled
In his mood, his light
I slowed the peddles

The easel set up
Vermillion threatened
A zillion words later
I always mention you

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Such is the sun
That falls on Stirling Castle
You took too much time to run
You crazy loving rascal

There is no touch
No air abreast to gather
The love that crushed
As love no longer mattered

Portcullis in your reach
With palette of pastel
You overstretched the breach
Love creature of Stirling Castle

Monday, 22 September 2014


In the back place
A slightly quieter place
Respite from the chapel

With leaves strewn 
Where bodies swooned
For the love of Kingdom

To royal tomb
By paupers womb
Love is the good thing done

Sunday, 21 September 2014


With an impersonators skill

Complete with arm movements
& pointed finger
We are given another chapter
In the latest saga
Of the destructive monologues

Through fizzling gritted teeth
& pursed lips
We hear the detritus
Of dad’s worldly thoughts
& guidance for youths to follow

Saturday, 20 September 2014


Island waters: seas, lochs
Streams, waterfalls
The poet’s father’s daughter
Plays the pipes and all

All to have a calling from
The birth date to the wake
Words that stall, fall short
Of deep within rhythms

Of the oceans & of
Those seven deadly sins
Sunlight on the ferry
As for the boys in France

Back to making merry
Lead the nearly men a dance
Tall ships and seaborne warriors
Divers for the crab and the clam

Hear the anthems of the Highlands
Fire the fear and then be damned
Dream of wide open moorland
Sleep on thoughts of mountain tan

Lay down old preoccupations
As you would in far away Japan
With the author and the hari-kari
Turn the pages on the love that ran

Friday, 19 September 2014

Thursday, 18 September 2014


He paints from memory
He walks across the machair
Out to the still or raging seas
On to the living sands
Back in his studio he lets
The canvas carry his load
He works from memory
The depths of his distant
Unconscious are ravaged
Whilst his present mood
Reflects in the surface
Tension of the painting

These will be original
Works from memory
For as Jac says ‘he is
A professional artist
He is a painter
Not a printmaker’

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Young Man

Restless soul
Rips at his cigarette
His thin artist legs
Carried quick in red plimsolls

As he skips
Across the decking
On to the seaweed-strewn rocks
By the loch side

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Reclamation Yards

Past the broken down tractors
Past the randomly discarded farm implements
Over the heather moor and the peat bog
Past the rebuilt black houses
Past the new self-build houses
With abandoned caravans

The islanders you would think
Are not fond on aesthetic beauty. 
Perhaps this is what a hard life brings
Years of cutting peat or catching fish
Years of toil before this current time
Of holiday housing the leisured classes

Perhaps these years of hardship
Coupled with the regular visits
Of mist and rain combine
To build an island consciousness
Where survival and shelter comes first
A, bloody well, long way first

This is not a place for you seekers
Of the peak
Of the self realisation pyramid

Monday, 15 September 2014


There is a song at the waters edge
There are pebbles on vacant sands
There are swirls
Where the water heads towards the sea
There are people, why wouldn't there be

The beauty of this beach idyll
Is then all but beaten out of me
By Kate's insistence
That we carry on walking in the rain
Towards a small dwelling
With four windows and a door.

I go along with the daftness for a while
But finally insist on returning to the hotel
Kate takes shelter
She walks to my left side away from the slanting rain
My right side becomes soddened.

At the cross roads we turn right
Now we walk directly into the wind, and rain
Kate takes shelter
She walks just short of a rainfalls depth behind me
My front becomes entirely soddened

A calm emerges, clear light ahead
There are songs in my heart
There are stones for my feet to kick
There are puddles for children to skip and splash in
There are people, why wouldn't there be

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Willie’s Campaign

A warmer wind
Nine seagulls on sentry duty
On top of the ferryboat docking posts

Out in the sound
Past the buoys and the markers
Beyond the Shiants and the planned fish-farms

A warmer water
More suited to dolphins and whales
Soaked in the dreams of human pastimes

Framed for the canvas
Stilled by the paintbrush, or camera
Settled by the slower words, with irregular verse

Eighteen months later Willie emailed me to say the campaign had been successful and that planning permission for the fish farm had been refused

Saturday, 13 September 2014


Endless shimmer
Wave after wave of nostalgia
Patterns thought never to be repeated

Still to bring their own sense of before
Here & now for all the while
Onto afterwards, ever so slowly

Photographers flip out
Their flip-up cameras
Form into rows and rows

To capture the ferry's berth
We are number two
In the orderly queue

Later we will look back
With a self satisfied smile
On our fellow travellers

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Solitude No More

You think I want to be here alone
I want to tell you that plainly isn't true
The reason that I'm here at all
Is because I want to be here with you

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Queen of the Clearance

She owned a million acres
I did not own a single one
She owned a million acres
Yet it is her lands beauty
That my eyes ache upon

She was a lady of the lowlands
With edicts oft emerging from
She was a lady of the lowlands
Though it is her natures beauty
That has me rising strong

The mourn of loch and lay line
Helps us to carry on
The scorn of loss and lost time
Gives the faith to carry it strong
Shares the faith, let us live it long

Live it long by stones and steeples
Live it long by folk and lore
Live it long in every moment
Live it long through the length
Of every last-time rousing song

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Seedlings in Flight

The water and the wind
The water and the wind
The water, and the wind
The water, the wind &
The grasses blown home to you

The grasses blown 
Blown on
To thoughts of home
On the water and the wind
Thoughts blown home to you

Here among your
Highland grounds
Here among your
Standing stones
Here among your land

Of endless lochs
Here among
The water and the wind
Here among the thoughts
I blow on home to you

Monday, 8 September 2014

Rain & Sun & Rain & Sun & Rain &...

Blue sky to the heavens
Grey mist to the sea
Black, white-crested waves

Rothko through and through
With some imaginary spirit
Sat unseen, set behind it all

Today we have the rain
Yet hardly a hint of breeze
And a silver grey
Seemingly cloudless sky

But it is true
We do have the rain
Free falling to splash on tin & tile
Calling us to stay indoors

Snuggle with a book
Listen to our favourite music
Watch the seals play

Make best of having a telescope
Feel the cool air on bare bodies
In preparation for a warm shower

He seeks out light
The light, that we only see
On the painter’s canvas
Or in the  photographer’s print

I seek out the sound
That we all might hear
Of raindrops on tin cans
And aeroplanes taking to the sky

In this way sight and sound are given back
The trickle of streams
The breaks in clouds
Our earthly atmospherics reflected

Grain of sand
Lap of wave
Pop of bladderwrack
Under the soles of feet

Watch the brackish water
Taint the sea with it's purples and browns
Pause, on a hill, under the cover of a fit tree
A half-covered shelter, from the diagonal rain

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Overpowering Energy of Lost Love

Back into the warmth
Or did the warmth come from the book
Early on, an easy understanding
Of the many levels of consciousness
Given to me through Jung's interpretation
Of his early 1930's dream

My arm is warm
The thin pullover clings ever so lightly
These are the paths my mind now wanders along
The slightest of touches, the merest of movements
Invoking memories of such a gentle love
A love even more gently imagined

A memory so easily painted
With soft lights and warm colours
A time past, that lives fleetingly as a time present
An energy that reminds me
That the warmth did not come from the book
The warmth came from within, within me

A within that has loved and lost, and loved again
A warmth that reminds me that the loss of love
Is not love lost, but a love that floats
A love that waits to be rediscovered
Whenever the warmth calls by

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Scarlet Draughts

On this forearm 
Merino wool is teased
Up and over the golden hair
Strands of hair that feel the breeze
Feel to be here, as easy as feel to be
Anywhere else I would wish to be

Ribbed sleeve ends
Bring a structure to proceedings
A firmer bond to the softer pull-over 
Here now pull yourself together
What sort of a friend
Would a lover make anyway

Friday, 5 September 2014

Views & Desires

I am impatient
I have no time for this poetry dressed up as art
Yet I know for sure it is just a time thing
That with a clearer head I would absorb it fully
I would even turn to talk of love
Though I have never yet been able to talk of love
As finely as that fair old Mr Robin Robertson

I am impatient
I have no time for sitting and waiting
Yet I know for sure that once on board
The ferry time will pass even more slowly
That only then will I be able to look back
On that idyllic cottage by the stream
Somewhere on the way to Ullapool

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Findhorn Forest

In the shade of the pine
With pebbles and sand at my feet 
I sit on the log barrier to have my photograph taken

Kate somehow manages, just after noon
To bring the flash into action
It was clever she says later

To the accompaniment of beating drums

The pine brush carries it's own random patterns
Rings of the sawn log gives its age, the time of life
Before it became a new human support venture

Times, and places run their course
Where once there was unfettered imagination
Coupled with a freedom of will there is now ageing

Rituals with repetition which in turn lead to decay
We are all  in need of the search for a new beginning
A new motivation; but it is no longer sufficient, only

To paint the words of grace and patience
Onto machine made porcelain mugs

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


The dust of previous occupancy
Smothers any possibility
Of individual reckoning

Like a swathe of blankets
Thick in felt and embroidery
The weight of others is overbearing

Yet this place
Names itself
The centre for community

I wonder
Why do I feel so estranged
I determine to retreat to the pebble beach

Take solace with the solitary fisherman
Cast my cares to the clouds
Throw my woes on the rolling sea

The talk turns
To Finnish-lodges
In the heart of the forest

A place to sauna
& swim
Au natural

That sounds
More like
An engagement with life to me

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Truly Lost

He was in a city outskirts shop doorway
Head in his hands he sat befuddled
The drink had hold of him
He clutched his navy blue carrier bag

No amount of explanation
Could he take in, on this night
This night
That was only yet in late afternoon

I won't ever see him again
Neither wonder at his whereabouts
Except through these few sparse words
Adios amigo

Monday, 1 September 2014

Van Mildert’s Portrait

At first I thought of it as a week of my life
Without a single memory 
I sat in the cathedral and pondered

Did I not go on to the rooftop
Was it not possible to look down on the prison
Are these simply, a nowadays, imagination

I am more certain
Of a formidable figure hung high
In the university dining halls

He was overlooking
Indeed overpowering the diners
As they sat in the refectory

As they stumbled through their lunch
As they remained, strangers one and all
Who left my life, without a single memory