Friday, 31 October 2008

Before Katie was born July or August 1994

These are the last thoughts
normally lost thoughts
after a rough day
when we waited for news
bad or good
but at least the waiting would be over

no news came
except that we'd have to wait
another week
to find if our unborn baby

and I'm sure it's as beautiful as life

is fine or fatally flawed
by extra chromosomes

how cruel can biology be?

but i think fine and sparkling
and hope my beautiful wife
does not destroy herself with the pain
which i cannot prevent
and which draws the very goodness of life
from her, and me, and all the lovely day

i hope our baby's well. Good night.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

the buds on the rowan

(for and after Larry Butler and Gael Turner)

the buds on the rowan waken
ask for sunlight
receive it, even in Scotland
winter-dormant branches stretch upwards
in a long stiff yawn
feeling, searching for rebirth
birds, returning
land on familiar perches
the rain reminds them of reality
still the buds long to open

Sunday, 26 October 2008

rick danko

"and the dawn don't rescue me no more"
a voice that split the sunlight
and broke hearts

"and the sun don't shine any more"
when i hear the plaintive yearning
i just want to cry

it makes a difference
it makes a difference

may the sun shine, the dawn rescue you
thank you for your brutally gentle
aching offering

the last leaf falls

the last leaf falls
and gives way to winter
death precedes birth

the first bud appears
kisses the dawn of spring
birth welcomes death

Saturday, 25 October 2008


there is continuity
there is only continuity
there is continuity after death
there is continuity before birth

there is consciousness
use it well
it does not last
the time comes when
there is no consciousness
to be part of the continuity

consciousness is temporary awareness
of some of continuity

Thursday, 23 October 2008

long day

a long day lasts as long
as a short day
and no more

a long life
- may you have one -
lasts as long as a short life
and no more

a long day is a long life
a long life, just a long day

a short day is a long life
a long day is a short life

today was a long day

Thursday, 16 October 2008

the tv is on in the background

the tv is on in the background
star trek, the next generation
picard is considerate but firm

the air is warm for autumn
sunshine has poured through my window today

the research suggests
we can manipulate our minds
my diary shows a busy week next week

but i have plenty of time right now
to salvage the universe
and heal humankind
for the moment


stable and still

rooted in rootlessness
surefooted footlooseness

stable in an unstable world
still in the noise of the crowd

rooted in stillness
surefooted stability

no roots, no feet
no stability
no stillness

rock solid
and free

Monday, 13 October 2008

train to Hamilton 15 August 2008

Pre-recorded announcement
i've heard a thousand times before
i wait for the train

Eastbound is Hamilton Carluke Lanark
Edinburgh Moscow Tokyo
myriad galaxies, even multiverses

shining yellow panels
gleaming red benches
it's a metallic world

because of this journey
because of this grating noise
i lost sight of my feelings

the metal screeches
assault in waves
the world's order

neon tickertape sign
"the next stop is Rutherglen"
on & on it goes

pink flowers so defiant
rebel against
the rusty rail tracks

an egg carton
two small blocks of wood
casually tossed onto the rail track

no peaks, no troughs
only illusions of peaks and troughs

i slay dragons
imaginary creatures

orange rowan berries
surrounded by a wire fence
perfectly free

nature encircles the housing estate
even as humanity encircles
the living Earth

the sky
a majestic layer
of abstract beauty

on the train to Glasgow 15th August 2008

ipod music
the man is plugged in
and the noise leaks out

the woman reads a horror story
looking glum
she turns the page

the man stares aimlessly
as we approach Rutherglen
arms folded defensively

an ugly staircase
dirty windows
tarmac platform

tinny guitar solos
followed by silence
the music irritates my mind

the back of Tesco Entra
dead flowers as we cross the Clyde
the clouds darken

five out of six in this carriage
are wearing glasses
we are a short-sighted species

Dalmarnock Station is red brick
on both sides
like prison walls

in the dim lit station
there's always the danger
of being cut off

The Metro features Sir Alex Ferguson
and a £40,000 prize game
i get up - this is my station

lonely and sad

she's lonely & sad
tries to cover it up
talks about friends, sex, trips
to exotic locations
where adventures occur
and names are dropped
opinions shared
critiques delivered

articulate attractive smiling
sad lonely woman
growing old
covering it up
with a desolate coating
of activity and pizazz

egotists in control of our country

the ego rules his roost
his name in giant letters
on the factory wall

suits rule this fertile land
a deafening conservatism
a diseased lack of depth

surface sheen, shining shoes
the free market's gift to Earth

drinking at the river

we got to the river to drink
we cup our hands and quench
the dirty brown water down
our shrunken throats

the water may be disease ridden
we may die tomorrow
but today we are thirsty

Friday, 10 October 2008

a perfect day

the sun pours its morning light
onto the West Lothian fields
Yesterday's rainfall left a giant pool
by the railway track
and ducks, seizing the opportunity
swim and bask in autumn beauty
as i head for an economics forum

Sunday, 5 October 2008

being Polish

for the Kresy Siberian Virtual Museum team

being Polish is like having the wind
rush past your face
on a busy road
taken by surprise
always unsure whether it was a one-off
or perhaps it might strike again
blow you off guard
still you like the wind
it keeps your cheeks alive
and it's always better to be outdoors
in nature, with nature
even in the noisy city
with its drink dens and bustling students
we can wait, there's always time to wait
things will settle eventually
we have always waited
even when the wind behaves like a dervish
at a party
causing all the paper serviettes to fly
like pesky angels
all through the room
and the glasses get blown over
and the people begin to panic
it's not what it seems
it's just a little wind
and we can face the wind
and eventually we know the wind
and we can get on with our conversation again
in nature
with our nature
for our own Polish nature

perfect sunshine october

on this day of blue serenity
i emerge from broken sleep
to sunlit curtains in my slumbering home

lifted by sunraylight
i let a soft sadness float from my mind.
everywhere i tingle with unexpected smiles
and somewhere a mother's grateful throat
hoarsely spills "much love, thank you...thank you"

bleak october

after a meal of tepid pizza
i go out to regain fresh cool air
along the curve of Meikle Crescent

ill at ease as the day dies
i feel an unexpected sharp wind slap my face
everywhere winter is preparing its battering march
with its solid shades of grey
its long black night

the minister in black

the minister in black
he said

i am as constant as the christ on his cross
i am the way, the truth and the light

i know how to save these communities
bow down before me
worship at my successful, politically cleansed feet

in the darker shadows
warped angels writhed
they knew his power
his sting, his sardonic tone

the minister of god
in his prime
lording over the minions

braying to the media
of his own sanctimonious wonder

Saturday, 4 October 2008

walkin in the public park

walkin in the public park
watchin the kids play on the swings
feelin the damp grass
try to soak through my cheap trainers

we biked here forty years ago
from my mum and dad's house
walked along the wall edgin the paddlin pool
it had water in it in those days

i never used to stop at the war memorial
now i look beyond the victorian bandstand
to where are remembered young friends
and the places they were cut down


the war dead of Hamilton
not quite forgotten in the quiet corner of the park
young men, some still boys
the kids shouts of joy
from the see-saw and the mums and dads
loud gentle voices chippin in
simple lovin time together

in some corner of a public park
that is forever young
beside the busy, graceful
Bothwell Road
with its sweep of trees and history
i lay a wreath with my imagination
a gift to the memory of all
whose lives are honoured in this sandstone art