Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


This is more a song lyric than a poem.

Songs of you come easy
The words and music make me cry
Songs of you come easy
It’s been so long I wonder why

The years still cast a haunting shadow
Showing you in silhouettes
Still without you where would I
Have found he time to have regrets
For every moment looking back
Two lie wasted on the floor
And though I see your face at times
I can’t pin my hopes on closing doors

Songs of you come easy 
the words and music make me cry
Songs of you come easy 
it’s been so long I wonder why

It all comes down to loving arms
That hold the past and won’t let go
There’s not a lover in the world
Who doesn’t know the way it goes
I’ll hold the pen and let it write
‘Til I run out of things to say
Then I’ll close the book and try
To put all my thoughts of you away


Dancing salty dog
skipping a light fandango
wearing a homburg

Hire the detectives,
man in specs is watching you,
his aim may be true

Boy in a bubble,
rhymin', hearts, bones, Graceland, saints
and water trouble

The guy can't help it,
Lucille, Molly shake his room
with a wop bam boom

Nightswimmers in tune,
sleeping sidewinders tonight
dream of man on moon

Sex thing, little miss,
she could have been a lady,
started with a kiss

Pigtails and freckles,
Carrie-Anne at bus stop with 
Jennifer Eccles

It don't come easy,
beaucoups of blues, boogaloo,
Thomas goes woo-woo

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


He seemed so happy, content,
a "together guy" his friends would say,
life and soul, he'd light up a room,
laugh and joke, give you the time of day.

Nice wife, nice kids, nice home,
great job going well, no sign
that something was troubling him,
something that made him cross a line.

Sometimes we can have it all,
physical, emotional and material stuff,
but sometimes something's missing
and having it all is not enough.

Monday, 28 November 2011


This is another poem attributed to my creation Hamish Sheaney, possibly spoofing the rural notions of a poet with a similiar name.......

Between his purple lips, a piece of straw,
chewed and sucked, a mulch of tasty-tangs,
in his molars, remnants of a cabbage dinner,
green specks against his yellowed-enamel fangs.

His scrumpy-filmed tongue laps saliva,
ready for the next gob-spit on the dirt,
he aims for a dragonfly sunbathing
and zaps it with a hiss of deadly spurt.

His lunch is cheese and scallions in a bap,
strong pickles and a string of sausage links,
two jugs of rocket-fuel, four-star hooch
and an afternoon collapsed in forty-winks.

He rouses from his nap and yawns with gusto,
belching out a cloud of rancid breath,
all animals overpowered by halitosis
stagger round on the brink-edge-ledge of death.

Between his purple lips, a piece of straw
wilts from the rank aftershock of every breath he’ll draw.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Shapes and shadows slide
across my eyes in the darkness,
and I yearn for an unhidden moon
to light the path ahead.

I look for clarity in the distortion,
clench my fists for confidence
and shout a warning to the evils
not to mess with sense.

Friday, 25 November 2011


Seamus Heaney wrote a poem called "The Haw Lantern". My creation Hamish Sheaney wrote this poem called "The Hee-Haw Lantern".

In the gloom of the grey, stone cottage
he observes the naked candle flame
burning away, prone to the faintest breeze,
liable to a quick wick snuff-out sneeze.

He needed cover to protect the light,
to avoid the getting-up and relighting chore,
He sat awhile and pondered hard
then headed out the kitchen door.

He looked at his donkey and had a thought,
his old, knackered ass on its backside,
he looked at the head, what an image it made,
a blueprint skull for a lantern shade.

How the donkey died is another tale,
but its spirit lives on in a different guise
now the cottage lighting is a bit more stable
with his hee-haw lantern on the bedside table.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


My younger brother was playing with a penknife,
an old rusty blade he found on a building site,
when the bastard thing snapped shut, slicing his finger deep,
prompting a panic-scream, tears and a look of sheer fright.

From the site, across the school playground, over the Glen Road,
even a bad detective could have followed his trail of red,
through the bus shelter, down steps, under the pylon,
up the path that led to our back door and Mummy's first-aid.

The finger end was bloody red-raw and dangling,
oddly pointing both straight ahead and downwards, his white
wet face shaking from frequent involuntary sob-sucks
while mother calmed him saying it would be alright.

Today the finger is years older, well-healed but slightly bent,
a  souvenir from a time we played, tumbled and gallivanted.
He does not refer to it. No one seems to notice or care about
the finger's funny shape - like childhood perhaps, taken for granted.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


spike hidden by lowish mist 
- a softer skyline

artists exhibit
in the buzz of Union Square
- still life, unstill life

people gazing down
from Macy's cheesecake cafe
like eighth floor snipers

at John's Grill chophouse
we share Dashiel Hammett's
and Sam Spades dinner

City Lights bookstore
quieter now than the howling
of the sixties beat

beggar's cardboard sign -
"I will be honest today,
I just need a beer"

Latino band plays
on a cold city morning
- warm tunes and hot licks

"Alcatraz never
did nothin' for nobody"
- con reminisces

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Old Meg she was a cleaner
washing walls and floors
like her mop she was old and ragged
from a million scrubbing chores.

Her arsenal was a bucket,
a chamois, a duster, a broom
her aroma was disinfectant,
her B.O. could clear a room.

She sang as she washed the tiles
with a frog lodged in her throat
She whistled a piercing tune
with no danger of hitting a note.

Her breakfast was a fag and coffee
her lunch was a coffee and fag
She was skinny as an HB pencil
with her flesh heading south in a sag.

But the work years took their toll
there was no way she could duck it,
old Meg slipped on a skiddy floor
and finally kicked the bucket.

Monday, 21 November 2011


We would go to the old man,
children in awe, to ask him questions
and off he'd go with a story,
true or false, we didn't care.

He had his way with words,
inflections and drama,
whispers and facial expressions,
measured blinks, scary stare.

The bottom step was our place,
where five or six kids sat,
he perched on the top step,
smelly pipe and floppy hat.

Stories of childhood, of school, of war,
told by the man we knew as Ned,
but reality hit us hard one summer,
when we heard our storyteller was dead.

We would go to the steps, children in grief,
and picture the man alert but frail,
he left us suddenly but he left us a gift
a love of language, a love of a tale.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


The gauze of dawn
mists my eyes to semi-blindness,
the fine rain drizzle
dims my fading vision,
the window’s condensation
obscures nature’s outlines,
the rough-edged world out there
is blurred and hazy.
I rub my face to no avail
for all before me is vague,
distant, dreek and dim,
hopeless,  desperate and grim.

I should have gone to Specsavers.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


It was 
in the wind,
on the wind,
of the wind,
a tune playing,
inhaled by the coastline
from somewhere out there,
from the land or from the sea,
a piper playing slow music
inside the ocean’s angry noise,
melody fading in and out
like foreign radio in the sixties,
in the wind,
on the wind, 
of the wind.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Dark humour is not everyone's cup of tea, but I'll give this a whirl......

He can see the blue flame,
the smell is burnt,

winter mugs the autumn

and dead sheep lie scattered.

Out in the snow are doomed lambs,
orphaned, starving to death,

the sound of their
weak cries carried off

by the bluster of winds.

Cold misery enters the room,
slow as a rested fox

to erase home comforts

and strain farmers’ faces.

Sat by the blue flame lamp,
irritated by fumes,

he observes the shotgun,

another winter choice
to pull the trigger

or have another crack at James Joyce

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


There was meaning in the crunch and slosh of snow underfoot,
a particular remembrance of a deep white winter
when this ten-year-old boy witnessed a wow of excitement,
unable to see paths, gardens, roads where they were before
overnight layers of flakes buried the whole neighbourhood,
adults complaining things were bad, kids seeing only good.

Cold hands, frozen toes, risks of chilblains, all part of the game
in this brilliant-white landscape, a brand new playground to explore - 
snowball fights, falling over, stamping footprint patterns, enjoying
a pure sense of fun as if there would never be anymore.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


In a world 
of too many words and too many people,
of too many opinions and too many arguments,
of too much suspicion and too much hatred,
of too much lying and too much betrayal,
of too many deaths in too many wars,
I wait for the last breath in the last moment of the last day,
knowing I've met all the people I need to meet,
loved all the people I need to love
and said all I need to say.

Monday, 14 November 2011


God went off on holiday
to a secret holy land
leaving His instructions
for me to take command.

No sooner had he disappeared
when all the trouble primed
and erupted all together
in chaotic pantomime.

I dried the sea
I blackened white
I flattened hills
I lit the night.

I dropped the moon
I stopped all fun
I fused the stars
I froze the sun.

On His return from holiday
from His secret holy land
God said: "Who can I turn to
to help me understand?"

Saturday, 12 November 2011


This is more a song lyric than a poem.  I have a long-held ambition to hear Willie Nelson singing it, hence the country music use of the word "don't" rather than "doesn't" in the chorus.

It started out as summer love,
warm days and loving nights,
picnic fun and country walks,
feather kisses and dizzy heights.

Riding horses across the fields,
wind blowing our cares away,
stetson hats to shade the sun,
on every one of our summer days.

But now it’s over, we’ve drawn the line,
summer’s gone and the sun don’t shine,
what are the reasons who and how,
we’ve closed down for winter now.

Once this room was light and air,
sunbeam rays played on the chair,
we would talk all afternoon,
'til we witnessed the evening moon.

Now the room is dark and cold,
young love is now feeling old,
windows locked and shutters down,
and I look like the saddest clown.

But now it’s over, we’ve drawn the line,
summer’s gone and the sun don’t shine,
what are the reasons who and how,
we’ve closed down for winter now.

Friday, 11 November 2011


Waiter, waiter
said the alligator
there's no humans in my stew
I'm sorry 'gator
said the waiter, waiter,
but we only had a few

Waiter, waiter
said the alligator
this really will not do
I reserved one only yesterday
a male 'bout six foot two

Waiter, waiter
said the alligator
please do as you are told
get undressed and braise yourself
I'd like you casseroled


The eleventh hour of
the eleventh day of
the eleventh year of
the twenty-first century,
much to regret,
lest we forget.


We live and learn?
No, we don't.

The devil looks after his own?
Yes, he does.

All's fair in love and war?
No, it isn't.

History repeats itself?
Yes, it does.

Attack is the best form of defence?
No, it isn't.

Forgive and forget?

what is it good for?

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Soldier A advanced ahead,
his rifle cocked and straight.
Soldier B approached him on
the day of someone's fate.

Face to face, unblinking eyes,
looked cold and hard and deep,
knowing one was close to death,
to everlasting sleep.

Their instinct training shoot to kill
failed to lock and load
for who would shoot the other first,
on this God-forsaken road.

But call it panic, fear or guts,
a deafening shot was heard, 
a soldier fell on a rubble street
while another stood and stared.

Soldier A and Soldier B
both barely seventeen
sent to war and a devil's choice
in a miserable battle scene.

Soldier A was dead and gone,
soon home in a long black hearse.
Soldier B survived to fight,
both a blessing and a curse.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


"I've never bought dog food in my life,"
said the old car park attendant. "No need.
All the ingredients are there on the road,
so she's never been denied a bloody good feed."

He told me of his three-mile journey to work and back,
stopping whenever he saw a dead pheasant or fox,
swiftly out of the car with a shovel, a fine art,
a quick scoop of the corpse into a plastic box.

Back to his kitchen to boil or roast,
freezer packed with home-cooked ready meals,
a dog that had no reliance on a tin-opening owner,
feasting on animals killed by vehicle wheels.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


I enjoy some of Spike Milligan's potty poetry and I reckon he influenced my own writing of silly, fun verse. Here are four light poems to brighten a grey, drizzly morning:

I like lemonade I suppose
sucked through the end of a hose
but I have my troubles
with dozens of bubbles
tickling the end of my nose

There once was a tired moose
who relaxed in his comfy hoose
he kicked off his shoose
sipped pineapple joose
and watched the nine o'clock noose

It's alright for you
said the fat sardine
you enjoy the sea and sand
but when I swim
I run the risk
of being caught and canned

I know I put it somewhere
said God to his friend called Jim
I cannot find the morning
then it suddenly dawned on him

Monday, 7 November 2011


Even as they are telling me, I half-listen,
choosing to believe one word, ignoring another,
shutting out the bad news, eyes open to anything
that will give me a sign that none of it is true,
but they keep talking, talking about you.

I had watched the news without a second thought,
no reason to connect you to the carnage,
it was just news and scenes of a near-empty road,
zoom-shots on blue lights, yellow coats, cars crashed,
somewhere prayers answered or hopes dashed.

This morning, a hug, a goodbye kiss,
now a life to realise the person I'll miss.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


This was a morning that refused to be taken for granted,
a morning of pleasant chill, blinding sunshine, birdsong
and colours in the trees to widen the eyes with wonder,
every head turn a new picture, slight movements, soft rays,
one of those peaceful mornings, a rare day of days
in a world of worry, of anguish, of guilt and wrath,
a morning not taken for granted on a woodland path.

Saturday, 5 November 2011


I sat down to breakfast,
bacon, egg and toast,
pot of tea and orange juice
and the morning Daily Post.

But all at once I jumped ten feet
frightened for my life
when the egg let out a scream of "Oi,
watch where you put that knife!"

Then the bacon laughed and laughed and laughed
and began to dance a jig,
singing "I wish I was at home again
on the backside of a pig."

The teapot lid was banging,
the crusty toast began to cuss
but the orange juice let out a pip
to quieten all the fuss.

I came down from the ceiling
chaste and unaccusing
vowing to give up fatty foods
for something more ameusling.

Friday, 4 November 2011


spontaneous smiles,
border signpost welcomes us
to new scenery
near Ecclefechan
our boys collapse in giggles,
tickled by the name
empty sky except
cloud wisps, birds, aeroplane tails,
we pass Lockerbie
approaching Glasgow
we drift into the accent,
blind to our insults
M8 grey rain-spray
denies us countryside views
near Edinburgh
old town vantage point
looking down on Prince’s Street,
we feel history
posing at Mons Meg,
camera points, a split second,
tourist free background
leaving for home now,
looking through the back window,
our vanishing joy

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Noah's neighbours had had enough
of noise and smells and animal stuff.

They canvassed hard for lists of names
to put a stop to his beastly games.

The local council slapped a ban
to scupper the ark and this animal man.

The neighbours rejoiced at this common sense
and the neighbourhood became less tense.

But courage remained in Noah's blood,
he had work to finish before the ....drip...drip...plip...plop...