Friday, 22 August 2008


no fear

empty shell

empty mind
contains all

empty your shelves

still full

over mountains

over mountains
down ravines
flat world
tidal waves
dry world
ice forms
deserts burn
temperate world
flow is
let it

holocaust waves

Holocaust waves
weans cry
old, too weak
lie down, die
Assisi priest
soothes sick
nurtures, heals
waves, ebbs
do no harm
do good
accept flow

all flux

all flux
wild shifts
in mood
in looks

mad &
come & go

let come
let go
pay no heed

inner chaos
outer confusion
nothing special
precious moment

feed the monster

feed the monster
monster devours you

starve the monster
monster claws you

no solution
devoured or clawed

accept the cycle

no cycle
no devouring
no clawing
no monster
no you

do - don't engage

don't engage

say nothing

hear silence

welcome the void

mad mind
acknowledge & withdraw

take no steps
and thus move forward

heaven's shores
are at hand

indulgence creates repulsion
ennui follows desire

tossed in the ocean's fury
be still in the melee

and all makes sense

don't engage
and accomplish

accomplish much
little of value

accomplish little
precious treasures

rainy walk in Hamilton

This poem is based on a poem, Spring Walk to the Pavilion of Good Crops and Peace, by Ou Yang Hsiu (1007 - 1072), translation by Kenneth Rexroth

The trees on Bothwell Road are brilliant with red leaves
and the Campsies are brown.
The sun, hidden, is about to set.
Over the whole of Hamilton
a multi-grey carpet of cloud
rains to infinity.
I, the lone passer-by, don't care
That this is supposed to be summer sunshine.
Carefree, I walk towards the Mausoleum
dripping in my home town
rooted and nurtured by these familiar streets.

From my study window

This poem is loosely based on "Overlooking the desert" by Tu Fu, the great Chinese poet who lived in the 8th century AD, as translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Drenched summer. I look out onto
dark green spaces. The rooftops
blurred in bands of rain. Far off
Quarter's farms flood the washed sky.
My Hamilton is streaked with water.
The downpour forces living leaves to droop.
The hills invisible, the sun blocked grey.
A lone magpie flies for shelter.
The near-dusk trees are silent of birdsong.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

without knowing it

without knowing it
you picked up an axe
and smashed it into me
blow upon blow
till i was strewn into hundreds of shards
blood awash on the floor, on the bits of guts and bones
that were once me

without knowing it
your berserk assault
left me dead
in pieces

without knowing it
you created the catalyst
for rebirth
some part of me, still conscious of existence
a mind amongst the carnage
started to piece together all the fragments of my body
till i was whole again

without knowing it
naked, bloodless, bereft of thoughts and feeling
this body mind
started to produce blood
generate electrical impulses
feel senses, first touch then smell then taste then hearing
finally sight

without knowing it
i stood up, staggered but stayed upright
felt the blood and electricity course through my heart and brain
and i felt a rush of pure clear light fill my consciousness

and i smiled and forgave you

song for peace

for Aung San Suu Kyi

Peace is not a Holy Grail
peace is just a step together
in the right direction

peace is not the absence of war
but the presence of love

peace lives inside us
it only asks for quiet
a stillness clear and open
to cause the blind to see

to win in war is to lose
to win peace
we must offer ourselves to all

peace needs faith in our species
peace needs nurtured like a newborn baby
peace needs acceptance of pain

may peace prevail over hate

Sunday, 17 August 2008

day dawns

day dawns
i am crying inside with joy
at the wonder of life

day dawns
i am laughing inside with happiness
at the majesty of existence

Thursday, 14 August 2008

the faithful flock

they get up and go
to the teachers talk
the faithful flock
happy to accept the path he gives

i sit on a wall
watch a ladybird
climb a blade of grass
wondering what it feels

they queue to hear the guru
to receive wisdom and blessings
the sun shines
a chaffinch sings
and the grass is soft

the queue disappears
and im with
the sun, the bird's song, and the grass

we long for peace

we long for peace
but fail
because longing is not peaceful
in the mist of darkness
is perfect light

no reception

theres no reception
my phone gives up
i hope shes well
but wont know
until this darkness fades


tunnel time
to dark to talk
too late anyway

the clyde at rutherglen

the clyde at rutherglen
broad brown
speckle green leaved
trees at both banks

the urban river
flows steel and sweat
into an I.T. future
at the IBM firth

girl on the train

the girls on the train
strawberry blonde
a freckled life ahead

in place of love

in place of love
grow bluebells
soft and pretty
to celebrate spring

no way forward

no way forward
no way back
only here

mind is a jail

mind is a jail
hatred a lock
forgiveness a key

in jail

in jail
only the dead
the wise are free


seeking nothing
i found it

seeking solace
i found it

seeking immortality
i found it
in death

seeking wisdom
i found it
in idiots

seeking peace
i found it
in hate

seeking healing
i found it
in wounds

seeking love
i found it
in silence

seeking life
i found it
in renunication

seeeking everything
i found it

seeking hope
i found it
in no hope

seeking words
i found them
in the void

seeking strength
it found it
in despair

seeking god
i found her
non existent

seeking purpose
i found
there is no need

seeking goals
i found them
in stillness

seeking ends
i found them
in means

seeking means
i found them
in not doing

seeking death
i found it
in everything
in each moment

ballad of a quite thin man

something is happening
but you don't know what it is
do you mr stepek?

a guy smoking hookah
mohican hair
marley i shot the sheriff

smell of spices
not ill at ease
just bemused


a demon lives here
in its dark cave it plots
constant raids on my home

demon devil
lurking in the black recesses

cancerous monster
lurches at me
when i am off guard

one day i'll be waiting
hiding, with a sword
and when it comes
i'll cut its head off

plastic lives in plastic coats

plastic lives in plastic coats
waiting for the rain to stop
noah meanwhile builds his ark
drowning is harsh

when henriette the mariner

when henriette the mariner
called me an old salt
i cried all the way
to davy jones locker

sink or swim

sink or swim
no thank you


peas in a pod
no god in heaven
a job well done

pig in a poke

pig in a poke
fly pig fly!
theyre looking for bacon

she smokes a cigarette

she smokes a cigarette
she goes up in smoke

she isnt here

she isnt here
neither am i
where are we?

she is late

she is late
who is early?
what is 'late'?


a chance
to be patient

they kill what is vibrant

they kill what is vibrant
dull what shines
their job? to bring to life

spiritual marvels

spiritual marvels
mindless oafs
wasted lives

satellite dishes

satellite dishes
on grey walls
fiction in fiction
all one soap opera


everything is visible
that isnt really there

tired of fighting

tired of fighting
the fight must go on
use its strength to overthrow it

the enemy

the enemy always resurfaces
unwanted unannounced
i am your friend it says
instantly i feel sick


it doesnt matter
moments only

silver birches

silver birches
no leaves
concrete blocks for railway guards
ugliness covets beauty

the sun shines on the campsies

the sun shines on the campsies
snow streaked
harsh and bare

Monday, 11 August 2008

you are but don't have to be sterile

you are but don't have to be sterile
you smile but with a frown in your heart
you are full of caution and conformity
you are stifled but you could be free fresh renewed

is this true?
is it you or me i'm complaining about?
is it me or Scotland i'm criticising here?
is it Scotland or the world that's so frustrating?
is it the world or just life that's making me feel this way?

we project onto others the strains we feel in ourselves
we externalise a sick internal world
and seek evidence to confirm our delusion


patience explaining what a kiss is
to a woman with mental health problems
with a weary smile
patience the man walking home from work
the ticket woman on the train
in the face of fatigue

quiet she sat on the threshold

quiet she sat on the threshold
gone like a river which flows east
from the earth.
water fell and the sky sang

the beauty of the week

the beauty of the week
those gnashing their teeth
the sad cries of wild geese

pull the rug

pull the rug
believe in nothing
don't create crutches
everything's a crutch
and nothing's a crutch
just be awake

what am i doing here

what am i doing here
waiting in a bar
to discuss raising funds for the Greens?
is this any way to treat precious time?
is this the best way to enlightenment?
no other way :-)
nothing else to do
empty meeting full of meaning
the music is bland and the lights dim
but i write by the daylight coming in from
the big windows

do what's to be done

do what's to be done
do nothing else
don't do.

do what the heart says
don't do anything foolish
ignore that stupid heart

lie down
get some rest
make sure you achieve nothing important

In The Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh

In the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh
early for a meeting three doors along
i picked up Everyman's Zen Poems and started to read
there's nothing in it
poems with no words, no titles
and there was no cover.

i sat at no table on no chair
even the building wasn't there
let alone the shelves of no books

there was no i there either
and no meeting at no place
three doors down.

i got up after a while
and went to the meeting place.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

guernica april 26 1937

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Guernica awakes to a world of black and white
a lamp offering hopeless light in the bleakness
someone is drowning in fire
while newspapers devour the town in inky bloodstains

everyone grieves for the horse
feels the bull's pain
their shadowy, broken legs
distorting the clarity, the sepia daylight

legs and hands stretch in every direction
pulled apart as they yearn for shelter
broken sword, hilt in dismebodied hand
begging the ultimate question
was it worth it?

the child cradled in its mother's
wretched arms
madonna bereft
her eyes asking the same question
of the numbed bull
almost kissing it in imploration
a dead child, one more

the artist gropes blindly far beyond himself
not knowing what the brush holds for him
he paints reality in monochrome anguish
and brings our abject horrors to full colour
and immortal remorse

Saturday, 2 August 2008

the silent type

the silent type
compelled to speak
the hermit
dragged into the spotlight

passing hamilton

chopped stems
flaked painted railings
red brick bridge
and my parents' home in the distance

the train, the lawyer, the pin stripe

the train, the lawyer, the pin stripe
black and white the pin stripe
black and white the lawyer
purple and grey the carriage

yellow the rape seed
green the grass
and grey the heavy sky

where sea meets sky

where sea meets sky
in a grey white haze
my wounds open to harsh healing
found in the foggy distance
found while lost at sea
where no horizon draws a line

statues at the shore

statues at the shore
stacks of broken boulders
fossilised men and women who drowned
in a salty indifferent sea

the fields rise

the fields rise in soft curves
like spiritual sensuality
barely perceived undulations

a field

a field
human impact
straight lines in a rounded world

trees have been chopped down

trees have been chopped down
lest they get in the way of the train track
shouldn't that be the other way round?

a wire fence

a wire fence
separates me
from the fleeting river

she does the crossword

she does the crossword
prefers not to be alive
for a while

to write is to be misunderstood

to write is to be misunderstood
to have your intuitive wisdom misconstrued
to have your life probed by others

to write is to miscommunicate truths

to write is to miscommunicate truths
to lie is a presentation of deep truth
truth has no depth

she reaches in her hand bag

she reaches in her hand bag
takes out two mobile phones
how many persons is she?