It loomed before me

a wall I’d only glimpsed before

built with bricks

I’d stepped over

in the past

It blocked all passage

barrier to where I wished to be

an obstacle that reached

as wide as high

and had done all along

It would not move

I could not shift it

mortar bound, its rigid face

growled down

and all around


And so I climbed


I found the footholds

the nooks and crannies

I stood abreast its height

and saw for miles

And there were others

at either side of

finding ways to scale

to reach that place

beyond the wall

And high upon division’s altar

hand in hand, we made a chain

we linked and found that 

on the other side of walls

we were the same

The Falls Of Retribution

Oh, the Falls of Retribution gush, they thunder,

Torrential rush, eroding cliffs around,

Flushing false, mean coatings of distemper,

But tempered mercy is their roaring sound.

Surging waterfall, a bless of teardrops,

Fashioned from the weeping, those in pain,

Justice cries, rejecting meagre milk sop,

Those who suffer most have most to gain.

Kindred knowledge tenders where it touches,

Beneficial bathes, aches no more,

Union of the pained, of those inflicted, purges

Vengeance while it evens score.

Hands of watered loving, this baptising

Soothes as much as takes, for this we hope,

Falls of Retribution, count our blessings,

Count our faults, counted thus, we cope.

Oh, the Falls of Retribution flood with knowledge,

Hidden coves beneath that flash with gems,

Nuggets of the knowing long secreted,

Never to be unknown e’er again.


So, I was never a punk, back in the day. Although I did do my fair share of pogoing when occasion warranted.

I never did the pins and needles thing. Although the black eyeliner made more than one showing with the blood-red lippy and the back-combed hair.

I never felt the need to conform to a particular style set nor adhere to only one musical form. For me, back then, it was a bit like Hallowe’en. I occasionally dressed up the exterior while the truth was somewhat different.

You know, like politics. I knew who I was inside but it didn’t stop me from celebrating variety.

Radical wasn’t in my nature. I was much more conservative (never with a capital ‘C’!) in my younger days.

I look back now and wonder at myself and what I didn’t say and do because of notions of correctness – not politically – rather, an inherent or instilled sense of the right thing to do. To be what my elders and betters expected. To follow on from where I had been led by those who wanted the best for me and lived lives that demonstrated the way to do that.

Not to say I didn’t have my own rebellions. That I didn’t have my share of questions and wonderment at the world. And voice them loudly. All kids do. I’m dealing with them with my own kids day and daily and have to remind myself that that is the nature of youth. Mini-rebellions and a few of the grander ones thrown in to keep parents on their toes and to remind them of their own path through adolescent angsts.

In fact, I like to think that my rebellions were a journey of discovery graduating to the ‘who I am’ and ‘the whats’ I have come to believe in all spheres of life. That imbibing culture in all its myriad forms and selecting/deselecting was a sign of the growth that we all go through. I like to think that I’ve always been fairly rational in my life choices even while embracing everything with a sort of manic heartfeltness.

I like to think.

Funny thing is that I think I might be in time reversal mode here.

Reason still rules in my head and feeling still rules in my heart. But, the sense of how they should be made manifest is altering in a way I did not expect.

Last night, I went to a gig in King Tut’s in Glasgow to hear The Men They Couldn’t Hang.

I adorned myself with black eyeliner (not too much!), the now perfectly normal red lippy, slipped into my black skinny jeans, topped off with a long black sweater cinched with four inches of belt and buckle and added three inches to my 5’ 6” with a pair of black ankle stiletto boots. One fitted multi-zipped donkey jacket later and a homemade hooded scarf for the rain and I was good to go. Well, it is near enough Hallowe’en! Except that’s kind of my normal now. (One person mentions mutton and lamb or mid-life crisis in the same sentence there’s a Glesca kiss in it for them!) 😉

Past and present have caught up with each other in a new unity.

Which is just as well.

The flavour and feeling of the whole performance from the get-go was one of unity and rebellion. Gathered in a large room – you could never really call it a hall – were around 300 people varying in ages from mid-twenties to older than me! (I’m 35 btw, having decided last year to reverse my age and stick with that one. I’m good with it!)

The twenty-somethings were in pogo mode and danced as one to almost every song played as if they had discovered punk for the first time and found it liberating and energising.

When I looked around me though I saw the faces of the older crew and was met by rapturous looks that they were witnessing, live, the voices and sentiment of a socially-conscious group who no longer could be called punk/folk in appearance but whose lyrics and verve in performance stay true to that legacy and called out to a renewal in political awareness and asked the question over and over again, ‘Do you see what’s done in your name?’

The history of the Britain that I have grown up in and other parts of the world I’ve never seen, during times I haven’t lived, was retold in music. News footage I can remember from my youth and right through till now was streamed all over again in words that called for reason and feeling.

The first song played,  ‘Devil On The Wind’, set the mood of the occasion, a look from the long viewpoint at what passes for our humanity. Their next had me jumping as I had fervently hoped they would play, ‘The Ghosts Of Cable Street’. Oh, they played it all right! And so did all in the audience. No, not audience. Rather, part of the band. Part of their raison d-etre. Here was a recognition in music and recollection of a generation past but whose voices still carry. Their voices carried on the wind from a not so very distant time to the present where the same issues still apply, just dressed differently.

For Cole, here is as much of the set I could manage to note.…quite hard to scribble when you’re dancing! I wish you could have been there. You’d have been in your element. And we could have pogoed together, although the boots would have to have come off for that, and I might not then have seen over the few heads in front of me that separated me only feet – not years – from a band whose socio-political message needs no dressing up. Not at all like many of our politicians nor their political agendas.

Devil On The Wind

Cable Street

Wishing Well

Bounty Hunter

The Colours

Raising Hell

Night Ferry

Going Back To Coventry

Donald Where’s Your Troosers



Barrett’s Privateers

Shirt of Blue

Green Fields of France



One of the band dedicated ‘Shirt of Blue’ to insights behind the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 as depicted in a new documentary film released on 4th October and being screened in and around the UK at selected cinemas.

I remember it well because teachers were taking strike action too. I was marching with my union in George’s Square back then (I know. I was a very young teacher. Only five!) I remember seeing myself on telly later on the news and admiring my dad’s coat that I had been wearing!

When I think about it, maybe I’ve not changed all that much in the intervening years. I’ve always been involved in politics in one shape or form although I had, in recent years, taken a total scunner to it all.

All the music and voices from the past and present caught up with me last night, all the rebellions I have ever experienced, the ones I am still experiencing – ‘cos, fuck, I ain’t dead yet! – and I had a night of semi-wild abandon, because, well you know, you can’t change all that you are but you can embrace life and passion …with reason.

And music, poetry, words, actions, thoughts, shared hopes and dreams are a reason. Back to the black eyeliner and some hellraising. 🙂




Soul Seekers

Yesterday the only blogger I’ve ever collaborated with…sounds rude, doesn’t it?!…reblogged our collaboration and inspired me to ask for more. Watch this space!

In the meantime, one of my other favourite people, Mark, wandered out from Australia’s bush territory, haggard and drought-ridden, in need of nurture by a Scottish handmaiden – ok, get with the programme, it’s not called poetry for nothing! – and has been settling in to a new way of life with the promise of his healing gifts being used for the benefit of many.

We got chatting…as you do.

And lo and behold, something he said triggered a response in me that led us to this collaboration in the comments section! I’m chuffed as f…anything. There’s a little magic in the moonlight and some wanderlust in souls that seek to find.

Soul seeker,

journey far in waxing, waning moon…

 Heart healer,

words of healing, life in tune…


Believe then, in magic,

writ by silver’d stars…

 And belief within,

Life open, without bars…


Hush, spirit, listen well,

heed that aching need…

 To find the truth,

the beginning of a seed…


Be still, in the knowing,

Let silence fill your mind…

 A gift from up above,

a wonder you will find…


No magic be cast here,

Mere souls in perfect tune…

 With love and a sharing,

Perfect harmony with the moon…


Be faithful to the aching…

The voice that cries within…

 For in that understanding,

is a love that’s always been.



In solitude you will find me,

In mind my truth is known,

In words received and given,

All my love is shown.


In treasured tokens offered,

Life cycles here displayed,

In facts of life, harsh and real,

Where sometimes we’re dismayed.


In all communications,

Candour finds its greatest ease,

In words shared and felt by all,

Enlighten, if you please.


On paths of pain we follow,

Some know the deepest gorge,

In sharing, lend support to all,

Comprehension try to forge.


Should truth explore, may we ignore

All answers sought from heaven?

Or end dark night in promise bright,

Give hope where all was riven?


Futility escapes from life, expends its worthless self,

Espies trust, decries its cause

Lost to faith, negating  purpose,

Cannot work on pause.


Perusals here, reveal to me

Sincerity upon your pages,

In courage spoken, nations all,

Sexes, creeds, all ages.


A worthy sort of sentiment

When thoughts are freely poured,

Understanding others helps, in verity,

Reality, words are not ignored.


Rather yet they’re so imbibed,

Reflected on and treasured,

Partaken in communion,

Believed, they help me measure


All that happens on our journey,

The many paths we take,

Some have travelled, some may yet,

We impart, do not forsake.