Saturday, October 18, 2014


Blooms on la Mur de la Memòria
colour running onto stucco and stone
like sun or bursting veins. 
Last time I saw the catalan flag
was in George Square
the night our hot Scottish summer
died. We don't want blood,
just our hearts desire,
says a drunk, or was it me?
"El desig del cor, 
guerra no, persones si,
es la via catalania, la via escocia."

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Commission over

80,000 words completed folks and handed in. Thank God. Next step another full collection of poems and a novel about Michael Scott, wizard. Watch this space.


I take off my specs
and the sea breaks to pieces
of brilliant glass,
each an electric pulse,
each a prism for the sun.
Cracking open a can of Estrella,
I take up my pen like Byron in Sintra,
or Ovid in Constanta, 
happy with the heat, the fish oil,
and the homage of innumerable fans
back home in the sleet.

Why do I think of the Solway then,
that miserable excuse for a sea,
with its rocks nudging out of the silt
like knees in a bath?
Stone upon stone I ignite a light
of a different sort, in memory,
pale on the gorse, hot in the heart.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Shannon the Sheep Shearer

On the way to Australia, I only have to go a few hundred miles at 35,000 feet to meet part of the Galloway diaspora, Shannon from Springholm on her way to train and work as a sheep shearer in New Zealand. She tells me with pride she was part of the ten "sheep shearing sheilas" who raised £14,000 pounds in a charity shearing event held in Newton Stewart in 2013, money that went to the local community hospital and the Royal Educational Trust. "800 sheep" she said, "and there were another 400 in reserve. It was gey tough, but we did it. It's something I could be guid at." 

Shannon worked in her fathers business installing stoves. "I had work, aye, I was lucky, but I'm looking for something else." "Adventure?" I ask. She nods. "Something different, onyways." 

Shannon can't contain her glee at flying off into the blue. She has somewhere to stay and work arranged after a few months of travelling but everything's up for grabs. "I'm going to make it up as I go along" she says, finally. It's a up for grabs", and she gives a deep long chuckle.