Walk Of Life

(Dedication, devotion – Dire Straits) My grandson LucasLoves to make his markPen on paperScribbles on a pageThe artist in us livesFor paint on canvasCreating beautyFit for any age Repair ShopShows meCrafters at their workbenchBending over elements so fineTiny movementsTotal concentrationRestoring lovelinessWhen aged by time SculptorChips awayWith mallet, chiselCreating shapesHis eye already seesMasons ever workingOn cathedralsStoneContinue reading “Walk Of Life”

Johnny Come Lately

Johnny Come Lately The incomerIs the hated oneThe native here by rightThat’s how we feelThat’s how we say it isThe native now aggressorFeeling himself aggressedTakes up the cudgelsThis land is his The native poor of GlasgowFound themselves awashAs famine IrishLanded in their townBad enough the povertyBad enough the timeA foreign JohnnyTrying to settle down NoContinue reading “Johnny Come Lately”

Live Your Life

Slow the daySlow these hours of livingI want to live foreverDon’t you see?I wasn’t ever thusI had misgivingI’d lost the will to liveA large degree In recent daysI felt myselfA ‘saddo’I told my storyTo myself in greyOr black sometimesWhen life felt just a no-goWhat’s the point?What reason now to stay? But I’ve come throughI can’tContinue reading “Live Your Life”

Margaret And Margaret

Tied to StakesThey stand and face the seaWigtown MartyrsKnown to you and meMargaret McLachlan63 years oldMargaret Wilson18 so I’m told Condemned to dieBecause they would not swearAllegiance to the kingIn holy rulesBrave they were and boldTo even dareStand up againstThe idiocy of fools What madness we employTo rule the worldDividing peopleInto right and wrongWe doContinue reading “Margaret And Margaret”


I’m toldMy dad was difficult for a whileHealth breakdownUnemployed and lostMoody he becameNot his styleWar and workNow to count the cost FootballersWhen they stopWhat will I do?Unless they’ve planned aheadThey go to seedSaturday glory and the ballyhooAll gone nowWhat’s the next good deed? I lost touchWith who I was insideStopped my writingMediation tooWent downhillReal tobogganContinue reading “Crisis”

Oh Mandy

Summer of ‘63The world was buzzingTales of scandalAnd adulterySecret spiesMansion houseAnd partiesSwimming in the nudeEverything Upper classesPants around their anklesSought a scapegoatStephen Ward would doAccused of improprietyIt ranklesMandy RiceChristine Keeler too Strong defendingStrong denial tacticEven House of Commons told a lieKeep the lid onTurn the fire on othersWhatever happensJust deny, deny Solemnity of courtBewigged counselInterrogationContinue reading “Oh Mandy”

Do What You Do Do Well

Classics teacher EtonIn retirementTranslated Harry PotterInto LatinUsing skillsHe used his whole life longWay to goKeeps the person young Margaret in her illnessWorked at cross stitchOccupied her handsAnd mind the whileKept her in the swim of thingsThough groundedI see her work beside meAnd I smile Daddy in old ageStudied the horsesRacing page in handHe knew theContinue reading “Do What You Do Do Well”

The House On Muckloon Hill

Moore Hall by Lough CarraEmpty shellBurnt by rebel forcesWhat the hell!Beautiful proportionsGeorgian styleRear walled gardenFine country pile Not too big not too grandA homeLovely roomsA library full of tomesSet on fireThe country all in flameThe front resistedProud of its own name George HenryDecent landlordFamine timeWon money when his horseAt Chester wonHe bought grain to feedContinue reading “The House On Muckloon Hill”

When You Say Nothing At All

‘In multiloquioNon deerit pecccatum’Old Testament adviceHeed it well‘If you talk a lotYou’ll say something you shouldn’t’That’s my translationDid Latin – can’t you tell! Alphonsus liked to quoteTo his companionsThis adageTo keep their tongues in checkHe wrote enough himselfMind you, but talkingHe was careful thenNot to over step One time a fewDisgruntled folkWrote complainingTelling higher upsContinue reading “When You Say Nothing At All”

Uncle Tommy

My uncle TommyWas not known for exertionA lovely gentle manWith kindly eyesThe image of my grandmotherI thought himEldest of the familyNo disguise He worked down the pitAll his lifeMaybe missed a MondayNow and thenHis wife was Aunty LilyShe a good’unWarm as sunshineComfort in the rain Now Tommy wasn’tBy any meansA gardenerContent to seeGrass grow justContinue reading “Uncle Tommy”

Where Galway Kisses Mayo

Did you know that WittgensteinLived in Connemara?At Rosroe, next to KillaryFor quietHis name enoughTo put me off pursuingA study of the manOr what he thought Did you knowThat Killary is a fjord?That Mayo GalwayMeet here at Leenane?The water hereIts depth of 45 metres‘The Shallow Seabed’The meaning of the name It’s a stunning place to seeThisContinue reading “Where Galway Kisses Mayo”