guid wee fish

guid wee fish
fighting the waves
heart beating like mad

fervent wish
currents she braves
why e’er be sae sad

waters roll
crashing across
her bold golden face

heal yer soul
reclaim yer loss
seize one last embrace

time is noo
this life for ye
to fade no ne’er more

ask no hoo
nor why maun be
that I do ye adore

take the way
that ye decide
and ne’er ey look back

have yer say
embolden stride
love shall ye nae lack

I wander yer words

I wander yer words
like a desert nomad
seeking water.

I cling tae yer sweet flesh,
finding warmest wonder
within yer arms.

I long for tender solace
frae this most fruitless
cave o’ solitude.

Dae ye ken me yet, lass?
Or ha’e I bitter become
a stranger tae ye?

You did ken me once.
I believe ‘twere you wha
cried me “Love.”

[I wander your words
like a desert nomad
seeking water.

I cling to your sweet flesh,
finding warmest wonder
within your arms.

I long for tender solace
from this most fruitless
cave of solitude.

Do you know me yet, lass?
Or have I bitter become
a stranger to you?

You did know me once.
I believe it was you who
called me “Love.”]

just tae be clear

Just tae be clear,

it had naucht tae do with the heavens,
howe’er prominent a role they play
in our poetic expressions o’ lo’e.

The stars shone just as brightly
as e’er they had in the history
o’ this most sullen earth.

The rain nourished the world
quite as sweetly as any adoring
mither had e’er nursed bairn.

The sun engendered life an’ warmth
an’ wandered just as surely
across the tempered sky.

Nae, wha’ changed was mair a matter
o’ that most generous heart,
which had suffered too much.

That is no tae say that it nae langer
possessed the capacity fer lo’e,
which is far frae the truth.

Rather that wha’ remained within
o’ her heart nae longer felt anything
fer him.


I ask myself in fear
why it maun be harder noo
tae hear the whisper
in the leaves which
hae begun tae mind
me o’ scratching mice.

The color painted sae
prettily aboon the skies
defies the imaginative
longing it once inspired
in my younger eyes,
graying in the dusk.

The majesty o’ the bens,
the glorious glens
seem forever faded
in the waning sun
as winter settles its
cold claws o’er my world.

An’ love? Aye, e’en so.
Ablow my straining
heart appending points
o’ sorrow seethe seedingly
for attention, crying
for the hope tae believe.


It beggars belief
and buggers my soul
how foolishly feebly
I still plead wi’ me
despite the utter conviction
I constantly proclaim—
tae myself, anyway—
that it cannae hurt me
any mair, that I am free
and calm, and that nature
is my god, and time
is nae foe of mine,
only to cringing curl
into this whinging ball
of badly drawn ideals,
whimpering at how
unfair life has been
tae poor pathetic me.

So I stan’ up,
rub me eyes,
and pour myself
a lovely dram,
harshly appending
in quiet yet angry tones
“Haud yer weesht
an’ get oan wae it,
ye gormless feckin’

An’ that usually
does the trick.

what it’s like

sit, breathe an’ start again

yet dessicated rhymes
inhibit the next step
an’ the next
til haunds clench
in sullen despair
an’ wha’s tae say
it will e’er end.

stop nou, erase
ane other dram first
rum this time
tae sweeten the words
an’ loosen the tongue
tae speak sumwise braw
so sip, an’ start again.

but dinna jus’ write
ye gormless pillock—
listen, hear the words
feel them in yer bones
wed them ane tae ither
mind nae the destination
bind yer soul tae the journey.

breathe, be, jus’ be

an’ start again

nothing so dear

Gae wi’ me noo, love, far awa’
tae a land sae ancient an’ braw
whaur oor sweet weans an’ aye we twa
a life shall mak’ sae dear.
Tae thee shall A e’er be leal
’twas thee taught me richt how tae feel
how tae ken truest love aye weel
wi’ nae at all tae fear.
Come climb wi’ me yon rollin’ knowes
amang heather an’ wand’rin’ yowes
whaur the day to yer beauty bows
an’ gi’es yer tender haun.
Throu glens painted rich wi’ life
sae far from warldly cares and strife
whit joy tae kneel doon wi’ ma wife
alang the gentlest straun.
In winter let us dare the snaw
the silence tae drink in oor shaw
nae matter hou the winds maun blaw
a’ll always hauld ye near.
Gin ye could but love me so then
A wad the warld should truly ken
e’en tae the peak o’ the highest ben
fer me is nathin’ sae dear.


Go with me now, love, far away
to a land so ancient and fine
where our sweet children and yes we two
a life shall make so dear.
To thee shall I ever be loyal
’twas thee taught me right how to feel
how to know truest love so well
with not at all to fear.
Come climb with me yon rolling hills
among heather and wandering ewes
where the day to your beauty bows
and give me your tender hand.
Through glens painted rich with life
so far from worldly cares and strife
what joy to kneel down with my wife
along the gentlest shore.
In winter let us dare the snow
the silence to drink in our grove
no matter how the winds may blow
I’ll always hold you near.
If you could but love me so then
I would the world should truly know
even to the peak of the highest mountain
for me is nothing so dear.


The whisperin’ banes o’ Greyfriars
Throu their long fadin’ prayers
Chant endless verses in my mind

Ever vigilant skulls taunt me still
Peekin’ under crumblin’ eves
Wi’ laughin’ smiles far less than kind

Pretty the banes o’ silent poets
Pretty the teeth o’ thae bairns
When lust is a beggar’s remorse

Empty jails o’ rottin’ covenants
E’en weeds hold mair life than thee
Though surely ye did stay the course

Yet whit o’ me this barren bodach
Wi’ skin barely livid now
Whit stories are yet tae be told

Ablow the limbs o’ this creakin’ oak
Ower grass that maun niver dry
In a city sae clarty and cauld

Whit braw dreams ha’ brought me shiverin’ here
Tae rest on Alba’s shores
An’ stumble amang silent stanes

Tis certain the keen hoary bogles
And bean nighe o’ dreadful cares
Shatterin’ the night wi’ frightful tanes

Then whit o’ me this dull headed gowk
Appalled by life’s angry wynds
Droppin’ crumbs at every dark close

Whit chance mine o’ final redemption
When A canna even hope—
Whit horror will Dia impose

2015.05.19 Edinburgh.Greyfriars 048

The facade of a tomb at Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh.



The whispering bones of Greyfriars
Through their long fading prayers
Chant endless verses in my mind

Ever vigilant skulls taunt me still
Peeking under crumbling eves
With laughing smiles far less than kind

Pretty the bones of silent poets
Pretty the teeth of those children
When lust is a beggar’s remorse

Empty jails of rotting covenants
Even weeds hold more life than thee
Though surely ye did stay the course

Yet what of me this barren old man
With skin barely livid now
What stories are yet to be told

Below the limbs of this creaking oak
Over grass that must never dry
In a city so filthy and cold

What fine dreams have brought me shivering here
To rest on Scotland’s shores
And stumble among silent stones

Tis certain the keen hoary bogles
And bean nighe of dreadful cares
Shattering the night with frightful tones

Then what of me this dull headed fool
Appalled by life’s angry streets
Dropping crumbs at every dark close

What chance mine of final redemption
When I can not even hope—
What horror will God impose

[Think of a bogle as a ghost, sometimes perceived as threatening, but others just as a trouble-maker, seeking to confuse or frighten people.  The bean nighe, literally the “washer woman,” is something like the banshee in Irish tradition.  She is said to haunt streams or waters, forever washing the clothes of those doomed to die, thus presaging death.]

my love for thee

There is a lovely tradition among Celtic and Scottish folk singers of a cappella love songs and ballads. I’ve never written a song before, let alone recorded myself singing one. But having experienced such profound love, I find my spirit striving for new ways of expressing what that feeling is like. And sometimes my poetry is not enough, does not … sing as I wish it to.

The style of this song I’ve adapted from the sweet “My Faithful Fond One.” My recording I have uploaded here: AUDIO And here are the words. I only hope this may touch her heart. As she has touched mine.

on one fine morn she’s greetin’
a man she’d fell be meetin’
though time itself be fleetin’
‘tis time enough for thee

feel fair these winds a blowin’
o’er hill and vale a flowin’
so fine these flowers a glowin’
full with my love for thee

I see thy arms unfoldin’
thy grace of life so golden
pray kiss my lips, embolden
my heart with love for thee

though winter clouds are loomin’
bare not your heart a gloomin’
our path with petals bloomin’
ripe with my love for thee

unfair this world be seemin’
but faithful hearts are gleamin’
with joy and hope is teamin’
this home of love for thee

Salt Lake City 05 Jun 2012

Flowers along the shore of Ildırı, Turkey (05 Jul 2010)