Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart
The man who threaded words together, like
silk yarns in a Paisley shawl, showed respect
for his woven jacket and removed it,
carefully, with his silver watch, before
quietly lying down in a culvert,
no longer walking iambically.
A lass singing his lyrics ambled by;
muffled clacks from cottage shuttles faded.
The lava tide which slumbered in his soul
erupted and he saw Mount Olympus
and heard himself ask the gods for a bard
in Caledonia. They said, Not one,
but two are granted: Burns and your good self.
In fact, your verses, like sharp dragon’s teeth,
when sown in the ploughed minds of your peers,
will multiply the poets of your land.
Where the peesweeps and the shy skylarks soar
your resting place will be; no unmarked grave
will contain you: this tunnel’s mouth no stop
for such as your unlimping lines. And now
Paisley Buddy, you are transformed into
the waft of wild mountain thyme on the braes;
the arabesque of a bent cedar tree;
the elongated curve of a boteh,
such as you might have patterned on your loom,
or incorporated into a phrase
now echoing in the winds of Woodside,
or whispering through fogs in Ferguslie.
Tannahill, you wove the cloths of heaven
into Scotland’s literary fabric.
Photo by stephencdickson – Wikipedia
one blurred image of a man
with his baseball cap
pulled down low – incognito.
A large camera
(his personal albatross)
drags his round shoulders.
With his hidden catapult,
he’s just shot three holes, right through
the stained glass windows
of our ancient Listed church.
Three? The Triune God?
With another two blasts he’d
have matched the Five Wounds of Christ.
Forcing men to drink
is not a good idea.
They lower themselves
and sometimes become maudlin.
Buddha warned people
who encourage drunkenness
would end up re-born
five hundred times, with no hands.
But at Moon Viewing, or when
there’s been a snowfall,
unexpected friends drop in;
there’s cherry blossom,
it is pleasant to partake,
but only moderately.
It doesn’t matter
if everything is perfect.
A flower’s bud is lovely,
as well as its bloom.
When you see the blossom fall,
it can seem quite sad,
but the yearning to recall
it in its beauty
can be achingly poignant.
Few people have taste.
One should view things as a whole.
Those who are in love
often realise it when
there is an enforced absence.
will tell you that two arrows
in your hand merely
make you careless when you draw
the first one. Each shot
should be as if it’s your last.
Students often find
They tell themselves they’ll study
later in the day.
Then they end up wasting time,
when what they should do
is knuckle down right away
and pay their best attention.
My friend suggested that I write a poem addressing the
subject of the women in El Salvador who have been imprisoned
after being accused of self-terminations- sometimes when they
allegedly have just had stillbirths. I was unaware of this until I
researched the topic and discovered material on the group Las 17.
The prison terms are in the region of decades.
In El Salvador, there’s an assumption,
in many cases, that a miscarriage
is the consequence of an abortion.
Girls who have been raped can lose their freedom.
A premature, or unviable birth
can result in a forty year sentence.
How can a country of that name sentence
women when it reveres the Assumption
of a Virgin? Supernatural birth
protected Mary from a miscarriage
when she experienced threats to her freedom:
state infanticide, worse than abortion?
Las 17, accused of abortion –
each subjected to a lengthy sentence,
in a land whose motto includes ‘Freedom.’
Youngsters, trafficked, can face an assumption
which might lead to judicial miscarriage,
as ‘Mata Ninos.’ They’re victims from birth.
After civil war there should be re-birth,
with an enlightened view of abortion
and understanding that a miscarriage
is, for women, a kind of life sentence.
And why should the state make an assumption
that stillbirth expresses woman’s freedom?
Accused of homicide, denied freedom,
because of complications to a birth –
to disregard is to make assumption
and logic itself suffers abortion.
The powerful deliver the sentence
and fear itself can induce miscarriage.
There’s no calculation in miscarriage.
It’s spontaneous – there is no freedom
expressed. Those women uttered no sentence:
‘I now intend to sabotage this birth,‘
nor ‘Drinking this will promote abortion.’
Blame’s an ignorant assumption.
Restricting freedom; pronouncing sentence
on those who endure miscarriage, stillbirth:
abortion of innocence assumption.
Easy to miss things
when you’ve been looking forward
experiences for a
long time – like the priest
who had never travelled to
He went as a lone pilgrim;
prayed at Paradise Temple.
Others climbed a hill.
He was uninterested.
He worshipped the gods
at the Kora shrines, thinking
he’d seen everything there was.
The great men of old
invariably were poor –
well, at least not rich.
A Chinese man called Kyo Yu
did not own a cup.
Then someone gave him a gourd.
He didn’t want it,
so hung it up on a branch.
The wind then blew it about:
he threw it away.
It was just an encumbrance.
How few are our needs!