The Illusion

Below are the words I wrote to one of Johnny’s amazing tunes. It’s called, ‘The Illusion’.

It made me think of the circus (which I hate). And politics. And we, the people. This world of ours.

I hope you enjoy the results of this particular collaboration.

Some people may be offended by some of the images. What can I say? I’m offended by them too.

Here is the circus, here is the street,

Ringmaster has found the beat,

Try to keep up with his song,

Try to march in time along.


This is the game we all play,

Carnival is now the way,

Jugglers, clowns perform, we pay,

Sideshow stalls have won the day.


See, look, the Big Top, there go the lions,

Whipped to submit, they stride in time,

Prancing ponies do their thing,

All well-trained for circus ring.


Fire-eaters and trapeze acts,

Contortionists, acrobats,

Bearded lady, strongman too,

A man who’ll throw sharp knives at you.

Elephants and dancing bears,

Chained and trained with treats and chairs,

Barking seals we’ll photograph,

Voyeuristic, look and laugh.


This is the game we all play,

Carnival is now the way,

Jugglers, clowns perform, we pay,

Sideshow stalls have won the day.


Freaks, a frenzy, humankind,

All been hired, so we don’t mind,

Reassured by loud applause,

Menagerie all minus claws.


Unicycle, wheel on fire,

No safety net below the wire,

Seats aplenty, catch the thrills,

Captive held, donated will.


This is the game we all play,

Carnival is now the way,

Jugglers, clowns perform, we pay,

Sideshow stalls have won the day.


Crocodiles that cry and smile,

Hoops and loops, a queued turnstile,

Welcome mat once bona fide

Shit and sawdust strewn inside


Red coattails and top hat guy,

Prices tickets, would he lie,

Roll on up for daring acts,

Roles by rote, learned down pat.


Calliope, glockenspiel,

Beating drums, can this be real,

Mesmerised by costumes grand,

Performances all out of hand.


Extravaganza, three-ring whip,

Drugged as mugs, all on this trip,

Flashing lights and strobes that blind,

Custard pies but we don’t mind.


This is the game we all play,

Carnival is now the way,

Jugglers, clowns perform, we pay,

Sideshow stalls have won the day.


Disassembled, faded grass,

Circus moved, out on our arse,

Try to keep up with his song,

Ringmaster can do no wrong.


This is the game we all play,

Carnival is now the way,

Jugglers, clowns perform, we pay,

Sideshow stalls have won the day.


Penny For Them

£     s     d

2    9    6

4    8    7

+ 5   6    4


£12  4s  5d


Memory escapes slightly but I think that’s the way we used to do it.

Back in the pre-metric days of my primary school, 12 pennies made a shilling and 20 shillings made a pound.

By the time I reached my final year of primary school 100 pennies made a pound. And I became au fait with the decimal point.

The new metric coins were introduced and, gradually, through time the old coins were put to rest. It took years, with certain of the old coins of particular interest being traded, by those in the know, as having more worth than their face value depending on when it had been minted and whose face adorned the other side of tails.

An aunt of mine had a little book, listing those of worth in general circulation, and kept her eyes peeled, hoping to be lucky enough to come across one of the rarities.

Adults at that time, particularly the more aged, were forever heard to be arguing with shopkeepers, believing they were being diddled in their change.

And who could blame them?

One day they had been handing over a pound note to pay for goods costing a shilling and received nineteen shillings, or 228 pennies, in change. The next day, they handed over a pound and received, in change, with an apparently huge shortfall, 95 pence.

Even I felt diddled handing over my thrupenny bit for sweets

A local shop kept two trays of sweets under the counter, one holding sweets costing a penny and the other for goodies valued at a hal’penny.

For my thrupenny bit I could purchase three penny sweets or six hal’penny sweets or any combination amounting to the same. And I could work it out.

Then, one day, those self-same trays allowed me to take one sweet from the penny tray and one from the halfpenny tray or three from the latter. I argued like an old woman despite being about 11. Something was far wrong.

Or so it seemed.

The transition between old money and new felt like we were all being diddled. God bless the shopkeepers. They must have had their work cut out too, trying to pacify irate customers while working out the conversion with the handy list sellotaped near the till and, at the same time, ensure they weren’t going to be pulled up at the end of the day, by their employer, for fiddling.

I’m no expert on economics. Far from it, in fact. When my brother was studying economics as part of his university course in Business Admin, I recollect a conversation we had as he tried to explain the finer points of supply and demand, inflation and deflation and the different schools of thought on the subject. He lost me.

Back then, and even now, I find it difficult to comprehend that price, value and worth are not necessarily synonymous. Perhaps, rarely so.

The value of water is priceless.

The value of a superstar, priceless also, apparently.

The respective worth of each, leagues apart, in life stakes.

The price? I pay very little attention to the cost to clubs when footballers change hands and contracts are negotiated, except perhaps to note the ridiculous sums paid to kick a ball about in the hopes of improving team chances of winning some trophy. I listen, in disbelief, when sums quoted translate to millions in any currency.

I do realise that my lack of interest in football colours my judgement. But, I also wonder at the economics of such transactions when clubs find themselves going to the wall, pass on the cost to supporters and are forever on the lookout for rich investors to save the day and creative accountants to cook the books.

Those interested in football will follow these transactions closely, pay the subsidy at the gates if they can afford to and consider the player worth the cost if a trophy of indeterminate intrinsic worth is brought home to be displayed with pride in a room few will have access to.

Their choice. Doesn’t affect me at all.


When the perceived worth of something or someone is based on only one factor, there’s something wrong in the state of play.

Yesterday I read a post outlining what the government of Puerto Rico should be obliged to do in order to meet their debts.

In essence, deprive the nation of easy access to water. Among other austerity measures that will hurt the populace.

Comparisons were made to the situation in Greece.

Got debt, must pay.

Somehow, must pay.

You owe, must pay.

Mismanaged economy, must pay.

It strikes me that people don’t change the currency. People don’t create monetary policy. People don’t even understand how economics works. People are guided by those who profess to know and trust that those in the know, those governing on their behalf, are actually doing just that.

People deal with smaller sums. People take what they’re given for their apparent worth and hope that they can balance their own books. Surely, we can trust the financial institutions and associated government bodies and financiers to do their jobs. They’re paid enough to do so.

Yeah, right.

I listen to figures being bandied about, trillions for Trident, billions for welfare, gazillions lost in tax default.

I understand money management on a household scale although often wonder where it all goes. Then I look at the books and note what I’m paying for this and that, remark on the changes in price of milk and bread and the rising cost of insurance. And try to balance the books without diddling anyone.

It seems that some of the economists don’t understand how economics works.

Someone, some many someones, somewhere, scribble some figures on the back of an envelope, flash the possibilities and gamble with the health and wealth of a nation. Different schools of economic thought are used to play risk. Priorities are weighed by different parties. Unrealistic goals and targets are outlined and bankrupted.

And still we allow them to mis/manage our countries. It is the trust of people that has been bankrupted while those who play the game also run the shop and set the prices. We don’t determine the currency and fiddle the exchange rate, although we are guilty of allowing value to be set by others. We are culpable in a system that dehumanises suffering based on accounts and capitalises on effort while penalising poverty.

The people, meanwhile, take their thruppeny bit to the store and can’t figure out why they’re being penalised, why what was affordable and available yesterday has become a luxury item.

Luxury is relative.

Water is not a luxury.

Ordinary people do have value.

The price they are being expected to pay is not worth it.

I can count in old money, I can count in new. Imperial, decimal. It all amounts to the same thing if someone else determines the exchange rate and sets intrinsic worth.

That handy conversion table at the till now lists the price of life against the coin.

Perhaps it always has and those who have counted the cost have been unheard except through revolution or appeals made to the charity of those relatively better off. Who can resist such appeals, even while knowing that sometimes the cause of dire circumstances is not natural disaster but the corruption or mismanagement of a country by those who want their own trophy at any cost?

One thing economists/governments don’t appear to take account of, where maybe they did in the past, is that people will put up with a lot, a really huge amount, an enormous quantity of being diddled, of suffering hardship, of paying the toll at the gate of the game others control, so long as basic requirements are met.

At the most basic, is water and the air we breathe. How much longer before oxygen tanks are issued with a price tag?


Who runs the countries?

Penny for your thoughts?

V is for Liberation

Another song. Very much loud and upbeat and ‘get it up you’. My reasons are real and angry on behalf of people I know. Sick of hearing more bad news. Sanctions have to stop. There is no chorus. No repeat.

Child of sorrow, can you feel the hunger,

Can you hear the whistle on the wind,

Hitched to slavery, ghosts still passing,

Grab your ticket, let the ride begin.

Hollow metal scrapes their rails, tracks rattle,

Wagons pushed and pulled by your own steam,

Fuel the furnace with your sweat and troubles,

Don’t pull the brakes, they cannot bear the screams.

Fill that train to full and overflowing,

Pack them tight together, tight can’t fight,

I’m telling, make a space and take a deep breath,

Get ready now to try to steer this right.

She’s my sister, he’s my brother, see them,

Faces thrust from windows, searching air,

Gulps to catch and hold a little longer,

Surging past, a blur to platform’d stares.

Leaving every hour, each new minute,

Timetabled to the death or sanctuary,

Can you hear the whistle, ghosts are blowing,

One way ticket, round trip back to here.

Disembark and stand upon your platform,

You took the ride, a ticket trip to hell,

New customers are waiting, let the vendors

Hold on tight, they’re owed that trip as well.

Better hope the first lot had a good ride,

What, no sympathy for devils cast,

Alive or dead, they’re coming back to haunt you

Their final journey has to be your last.

Whistle growing closer, steam clouds churning,

Mixing with the cloud forms you can’t see,

Visions, signs in skies, you will not read them,

Better luck than some, I’m shouting ‘V!’

Ha Ha! Different Strokes

Rise to conquer mighty when such fallen

Bequeath a legacy disdained by all,

Promulgations errant, contemptuous,

While vilifying poorest when they fall,

Guilty of a sin so much the greater

For in greed they measure parity of law,

Where need may criminalise the latter

Connections in the city favour flawed.

Austerity of measures, quoth the parties

While other parties play, committing fouls,

Running rings around the bastions,

A nod, a wink, their penalty, these fowls

Flock together, party on, still launder,

Evade their dues, know their system well,

Blame populace and global economics,

The graphics prove where guilty dwell.

One for all, if mitigation,

Let it be because compassion speaks,

Recognisant, sometimes valid reasons,

Current practice serves the corporate not the weak.


Tax Evasion versus Benefit Fraud

Different laws for different people,

Different strokes for different folks,

Loaded dice in this monopoly

Get out of jail free card – see the joke?



Do you bend under pressure or strengthen

As steel that’s forged in the fire,

Alloyed, allied to greater intention,

Striving, with faith, to aspire?

Do you buckle and break like softest of metal,

Non-resistance a foregone conclusion,

Or gather the girders supporting your mettle,

Fight on, to the end, for solution?

Have the fires of the furnace burnt out your heart,

Ceding the will to go on,

Or has tempered exposure, given will to impart,

Galvanised, proofed, made you strong?

Many there are who burn wth the flame,

Alight in their soul and their eyes,

Growing in number, growing in name,

Swelling to quell all the lies.

Many there are in smelters worldwide,

Sweating and toiling for truth,

Raising young blood to embrace every side,

Teaching tough peace to our youth.

Are you standing with armour of love in your soul,

Battling with right on your arm,

Wielding the sword of justice for all,

Ready at klaxon’s alarm?

Our shift’s almost over, done for the day,

An army awaits at the gate,

Legions of light who fight for fair play,

Vanquishing greed, poverty, hate.

Apprentices needed in yards by the Clyde,

In offices, in factories, in arts,

Tradesmen and women standing firm side by side,

Trained to know and to start

A war of attrition that smothers the power,

Extinguishes those who digress

From bringing the seconds of minutes to the hour,

Languishing in workers’ largesse.

If metal there is that runs in your blood,

Mercurial, when driven mad,

Strengthen its core, let thermostat soar,

Fired pressure, a cause to be glad.

It’s the strength of the ore that lies in the earth,

The power at Nature’s behest,

It’s Gaia calling a time of rebirth,

Listen well, Mother knows best.





Plutocracy or Pissed At Politics….take your pick

This is my offering for mythological P today. I was going to do Prometheus. You know the guy. A big dude who stole fire from heaven and had his insides plucked out daily by the eagle for helping mankind. Definitely not a politician.

Then I did some more reading today. I know. It should be housework. But . Well, just but.

Speaking of butts…

I kept hearing the national anthem when I was writing this. Hum along now.


Mythological democracy

A legend once believed.

Plutocracy is now the way.

How ill, this child conceived.


Dump democracy,

Plutocracy rules the way!

Every one of us

is now its slave.


Kinda catchy don’t you think?

Check out this for democracy that’s lost the way. And whatever you do, try to ignore the face. It induces vomit. Just sayin’. No need to make ourselves more sick than we have to.



Serendipity, Synchronicity And All That Jazz

Bear With Me. I Do Get To The Point. I Think. Eventually.

Should I apologise now or later? Feck, let’s make it later.

OK, I know that on Friday I waxed a bit about Scotland and the beauties of its scenery and the quality of the land that makes me feel proud to call it home. Blame the whiskey and a hard week.

I feel its history and its trials and tribulations. But feelings aren’t always enough. Not always. There are thoughts and there is reason. There is right and there is wrong.

I’ve been pondering politics and independence.

Don’t switch off!

That’s not what I’m talking about here. It’s just that sometimes things come together in a magical way. And I do question, then just accept the synchronicity that exists in the universe. The hand of god touching. Poking finger into pond and causing ripples.

Where the feck to begin.

I could begin today with Shirley Maya posting an almost identical post to mine insofar as it touched on the voice of womankind within the world. A huge absence I think anyone with truth in their hearts would acknowledge. Politics has been for so long the realm of men. It’s been that way for many reasons. You know them all. I can’t be arsed listing them. If you want to, send me an email. And I’ll fill that page.

I just don’t have time or inclination to do it here.

Women have been, and continue to be, under represented in the voice of the world.

And, NO, I’m not talking of the burn-your-bra-men-are-bastards-sort-of women who portray womankind in such a distorted light.

I’m talking of your mother. And mine. Of all mothers. Of your wife. Your love. Your sister. Your daughter. Why are they not listened to in the way they should be by all men who claim to love them?

Why are they petted and cossetted as brainless princesses with doe eyes until they reach THAT age and then they are every man’s jail bait?

I will make generalisations here that I acknowledge may apply equally to men. I get that. Anyone with half a brain knows that there are good and bad men and women.

But men are still over represented in the political realm regardless of their goodness or badness. Or maybe because of it. 😉

I was thinking last night of some of the women who have featured in the political field for one reason or another and the names that sprang immediately to mind filled me with dismay. Maggie Thatcher. (God forgive me! I still have to ask that every time I think of her). Imelda Marcos. What a feckin’ eejit and betrayer of womankind. Then I thought Cleopatra! (Shit! I’ve just realised why I started thinking of Roman soldiers and then did the tortoise post! Gawd, my mind!)

Anyhoo, I’m already losing track of where I’m going with this. OK, you too.

To the chase.

Lots of stuff that I won’t go into ‘cos you’ll fall asleep or go, ‘Oh yeah?’ are coming together for me and making me believe that nothing really happens without cause. And effect.

Scotland. That’s where I started. I think.

Yeah, this guy, Magnus-MacFarlane Barrow. Scottish guy. From a place called Dalmally. I had been involved in his project ‘Mary’s Meals’ through schools. Knew I recognised the name. My mum had gone to a place called Medjugorje in Yugoslavia where she further realised the power of Jesus and His mother in her life. Yup. Knock on effect. Two of the people who had visited that place gave over their house as a retreat centre to anyone needing ‘time-out’ and rejuvenation. Calum and Mary-Anne MacFarlane Barrow. Parents of this other chappie.

Then tonight my brother posts on Facebook a message for me to listen to –Tommy Sheridan and Scottish Independence dealing with poverty and justice and then posts the one below.


All mothers (and fathers, I know!) must feel for the plight of these children.

My mother was involved with this family. I have been involved with this family. They’re Scottish. The cause is now a worldwide one. Can Scotland make it on its own? Do mothers have a voice? Should women be listened to in the global political arena? Who will make that happen? Or let that happen?

Am I making any feckin’ sense here? No wonder I write poetry.

There are times when right just feels right. And this feels right. It’s also good reasoning.

There is one species of humankind. There are two genders. We must listen to each other.

We really must listen to the voice of mothers. Because, with the odd exception, they love selflessly. And that’s what the world needs.

And I KNOW so do men. But the voices must be shared. How else do we achieve balance?

And now should I apologise? Nah. I don’t think so. 🙂 x

Lies and Damnable Lies

Hands tight, legs bound,

Mouth gagged for submission,

Bondaged, by no self-request.

Nations tied to economy’s curse,

Answerable, to another’s behest.


One proud, one small,

One weak, one tall,

Taller, tallest, best.

Perceiving self-aggrandizement,

As Nature’s kind bequest.


Looking down from tower height

At others far below;

Insect-like, they scurry hither,

As if they do not know.


But others do. They see the lies,

That power, too, is curse,

That attitude to weaker states,

Leaves others so much worse

In choices that they have for life;

Children, husband, family, wife,

Exempted from inclusive share

Of earth’s bountiful supply.

And some will question, why?        


They have this right to gaze ahead

And see a world where land is bled,

Resources taken for others’ good,

Not shared,

As if in brotherhood.



The ties that bind do not oppress

The mind or spirit, in duress;

A glow of hope remains in breast

And some will strive to do what’s best,

To look behind the mirrored wall

And see the puppeteers that call

The tune, to such as we –

Eyes raised, to heaven, pleading for

All peoples’ liberty.