Naebdy bides der noo


haunted house Shetland crop


Na, nae noo

nae fiddly Aladdin lamps
tae magic awa da darkness;

Nae driftwiddy fire 
tae shoot oot o ilka lum
up intae da velvet-black, spairk-spangled sky
inna flickery, aurora shoor
da cauld
an da damp

an nae bible-black, knapdarlicht kye
tae wrap lang pink tongues
roon skooshy clumps
o sappy green gerss
tae pu an munch an pu an munch
an munch
an pu.

Nae bonny, bouncey bairns noo
tae skip barefitted,
slaphappy as der day wis lang

ower endless barricap-dotted fields
doon tae and intae
da fish-flashin, selkie-skulkin, boat-bobbin sea.

Na, nae noo,
nae noo.



                    16 APRIL, 1746                                                          

yes a rainy day a bit like today
april was it yes april or was it may
anyhow i did yes
i did once give a hitchhiker a lift all the way up to inverness
poor guy i can still see him raindrops dripping off the end of his nose
a kilt no hat no raincoat the wrong sort of clothes
hair plastered flat the poor sod  was sodden

i managed to get out of him hed been up to Culloden

a sad sad place i told him the name itself means ‘field of the dead

how did you find it  and through clenched teeth he said  

– and oh the misery in his voice i can hear it yet –

cccold, ccccold, he said, cccold and wet wet wet.

CULLODEN MOOR where 2000 Highlanders were killed or wounded in 1746 on this the last battle to be fought on British soil.


”  …………………………… then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.”

I had been to Iona

for my last birthday –

not to celebrate it

but to forget  it –

and felt quite uplifted  there

(nothing so grand or poetic

as in  Keats’   lines quoted above

but something of that looking-out-to-sea thing)

yes, felt quite at ease 

walking the beaches  Cadell used to paint,

white sand,

pink rock,

turquoise sea.

This year,

more adventurous,

to escape the birthday thing

I  flew for four hours

to far-off Lanzarote

and found there

some things you can’t escape 

memos of mortality.

Lonely Things

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

May we be granted the power

to understand

the nature of  loneliness

and the empathy

to admire the bravery

of  those who suffer in silence

and alone

abandoned: a wagon in the Czech republic

 discarded: a plastic bag similar to the one in ‘American Beauty’

derelict: a beggar on a rainy day  in Glasgow

excluded: a penguin at Discovery Point in Dundee

imprisoned: a man at a window in Italy

isolated: a boy on the Est Sands, St. Andrews

neglected: two dugs outside Weston Links, Edinburgh

rejected: a mother and son on a beach in Tunisia

Pleasant Voices

The poems of Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas

Richard Burton


all had rich brown voices that gave their clearly enunciated words  a mellow music that bypassed your ears and  slid straight into your soul.
Especially James Mason – he purred like a contented cat. Such rich, pinguid notes.
Dylan Thomas had the confident, booming voice of a Welsh minister “……and deaeaeath shall have nooooo domminnnion….” that commanded and demanded your attentive hearing
And handsomest of them all, Richard Burton could send those rounded polished streamlined words spinning effortlessly gracefully through space ….

I can still see them, still hear them, still shut my eyes and listen to their voices like remembered music……

Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.