Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Robert Burns

Laid off about this before. Down with the sentimentalisation and trivialisation of one of our greatest radical writers. Down with the once a year Scotsmen who snigger about his drinking and womanising,who

"explode like this once a year.
The rest of the time
these man are sober

rotarians. Unionists. And that apart,
wouldn’t know a poem
if it bit them on the arse."

Hurrah for the bravery of the man himself,risking transportation or death to put forward his views of liberty and equality.

I Murder Hate

I murder hate by flood or field,
Tho' glory's name may screen us;
In wars at home I'll spend my blood-
Life-giving wars of Venus.
The deities that I adore
Are social Peace and Plenty;
I'm better pleas'd to make one more,
Than be the death of twenty.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Ma

The picture doesn't do her justice, don't think, but today would have been my Ma's
91st birthday. The day before Burns'.

My Mother’s Dictionary

The pages curl back from arcane
all the way to chabazite
and a paper black with anagrams,
epsils, sepisle, sleep is, sleep is.
Some words are marked.
Otherness in bold red pen, tutelage.
Near Spring, there’s a parchment of a leaf.
In the margin by violin,
the name O’ Brien,
mysteriously underlined.
Fanning the pages is to breathe her in,
to the point you can imagine her, witchcraft,
by that roaring fire again, smoke curling,
words circling her legs like cats.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


The new year finds me in reflective mood, as the screams of sleepover weans recede into the distance and a long term of wage slavery beckons with the mornings as dark still as the evenings and the wind rattling the windowpanes all down the Glen.

I hope we all have a good year, folks, all the best to you. Here are some christmas downloads and a newish poem.


Every Saturday morning
we meet, my daughter and I,
to study form. She has a plain scone,
sometimes an empire biscuit.
I have coffee. I used to have an egg roll
but she didn’t like the way it ran
yellow onto the napkin.
After a moment or two she’ll
put on her latest pair of glasses
give a slight frown and get to it.
Stars are good, Elektra Star, Mystery Star,
but cats are best, Kenya Cat, Lightning Cat,
Son of Cat. How the pair of us rejoiced
when Starcat was on the card at Ascot,
an alchemy just for us it seemed,
a totemic and irresistible blend
of the cosmic and the cute.
Stars are usually eighth, cats more spry
but still well down the field.
Starcat lost, its life in fact.
I say it has retired and today is eating grass
in the verdant field of our imagining,
a place where people of differing ages come,
to watch horses take wing,
and two bob make a thousand pounds.