Sea Change

Have you ever tried
at a beach, to stand
at the last of the land,
where the dried-out sand

no longer touched
by the waters edge-
it’s slow retreat
to the horizons ledge,

away from the sea
and looked inland
what’s gone
for what is planned,

from the sunset
until it’s gone
and waited
through night
for your coming dawn.

The Nourisher

Weak (like water), but not weak.
Clear (like water), but not clear.

Pure (like water).
Soft (like mizzled rain).

Necessary (like water).
Life-giving (like water).

Natural (like raindrops on) skin.

you, around you.

Water reflecting water.

Belief (dream)


in the shadowzone.

Always there.

This wee green thing,

in the corner,
in the dark of me.

I project loneliness onto it.

It hums contentedly.
Not patient. Not waiting. But ever there.

And as I approach, I become it, taking over its’ song.

The world lightens.

How Wrong for Grass

How wrong for grass
to grow here,
how un-useful and ridiculous
as if mocking us
in our syllogisms of dust, dirt and mud.

In Victorian backyards
playing our kids’ games- arguments
in preparation for decay.
Our grubby little hands happily alive
clawing through rubble, hurling half-bricks.

Scabby-kneed, black-eyed.
Our outdoor world of muck and middens.
Crumbling dikes.
An uncared for land.
How wrong for hope.

I think mine came from comics.

Just a Blue Dress Dream

Three guys. In a room, at a window.
Me constantly tapping on the back of another
with what feels like a big white plastic hook.
He’s an ex-work colleague I don’t particularly like.
I keep tapping rapidly.
He eventually says he wishes I would stop.
I say – all you had to do was tell me.

A woman comes into the room.
A blue dress. 1960s look to her. Impersonal motherliness.
As I look at her, at one side of the room, I am aware of her likeness
simultaneously appearing in the corner of my eye on the other side,
Walking, indistinct.
How does she do that?
Then a hazy version of her appears beside her.
More versions proliferate in the background. I remember she is dead.

I pick up one of the other two guys, carrying him over my shoulder
towards a picture on the far wall. As I near, I point into it
looking for the funeral parlour I’m supposed to take him to, but the picture,
although getting clearer, is never clear enough.

OK. I think the first bit is quite straightforward. I’m hoping to take early retirement from psychiatric nursing soon, and with me continually pick pick picking away at the working me, who I’m not happy with, he says he wishes I wold stop (working?) the voice of wisdom tells me all I had to do was ask…it’s within my control. At the moment I’m presuming the lady in the blue dress is my creative side…we’ll see where that goes.


As I read
I saw successive cups

make a mandorla,

and feeling blessed
by synchronicity,

I dove in

in song;

old tunes

by an earth-angel.

And later I lay
sloughing acquired fancies
in the dark,
with new ideas, pinking
and baby-like,
in a thin skin-coat
into the oldest of my souls.

A match to light the way.

A Journey to the Ayr Coast

On the No. 4 bus tae Ayr, escapin’ Glasgow
wi’  blue-haired  pensioners,  the landscape peepin’ past oor weary  gazes.
We enter the toon the planners razed -
let’s bomb sad Kilmarnock.

Let’s text the Taliban
tae decimate the Matalan, scorch
tumbledoon stores wi’ knockdoon prices
where the high street ails wi’ failed retailers.
Buildings, mair listing than listed.
An architectonic Pick-n-mix:
but nae kwik-fix .
The dirty doors o’ Woolworths, ghosts o’ business past
Like a line of broken biscuits, piled-up letters through the glass.
Sixties and seventies architecture
crumblin’ fast, the manky texture o’
closed up shops an’ broken windaes-
a multi-story car-park,                         empty maist days.
Savin’ the viaduct, the auld palace theatre and
the conservative club (an anachronism here).
Even the pubs ur failin’ tae thrive,
the whole toon centre’s a post-war dive.
Ur ye startin’ tae sense or mibbe intuit?
Ah get physically sick jist passin’ through it.

Whit the fuck wur they thinkin’ o’?
Let’s bomb sad Kilmarnock.


I knew grass and mud and brick and a thick hand,
but not trees or the sea and sand
until the age of three, one summer
decamping with my mum to a hut
where she, with her ant-like waist
and an aunt in tow, would frolic menless,
in snazzy frocks, and dance to the wireless, tunes
I could still hear down by the sea, clambering rocks.

And just so much air. Everywhere.

I cartwheeled forever on new-cut grass.
Instinctively, breezing temporarily.
Airily whizzing in a sunlit now, legs lashed
in cooling dew, I could freely drift
along the sea-shore, sun-splashed
And as the wind rushed by on
eyes squinted star-bright
I would run and run and run, the only curfew night.