Sunday 19 November 2023

Just a poem



If time is short

then make it good.

Let mornings break

to golden sun

and tea in bed,

each moment held,

but gently.


Let days stroll by,

with traffic light,

path to the beach,

sand to the sea.

As hours rest

let breeze blow soft

around you.


Hear kettles boil,

see windows steam,

bread cut just right,

a perfect slice.

The oven hot,  

may cakes all rise 

to attention.


May each night fall

happier still

than the one before.

Let loved ones come,

hold hands, belong,

sleep be your friend,



RF 2023 (to hear it try the video below)

Thursday 29 June 2023

From the waist down

Pic: A pair of old sandals on gravel


After a bit of a break I have been reading some poems out and about recently. It’s just a small weekly night, organised by a friend, and it’s mostly a music night (absolutely my favourite kind of thing – very relaxed, some experienced players, some newbies, no one else who calls themselves a poet). I’ve even been singing a little bit (but let’s not talk about that right now – I have poem about my singing called Croak by croak that you can find at the bottom of this page).


A friend mentioned that she didn’t know the poems I read last night and I realised at least one of them didn’t make it to the internet (at least I don’t think so). This poem is one I wrote after a weekend boating trip Mark and I took on Loch Ness in 2021 (pics below from the trip). On the second day a white-tailed sea eagle flew over us while we were in the middle of the loch (with pretty much no one else as far as our eyes could see, Mark got a photo on his more serious camera). Poor thing was just getting lunch, didn’t know poetry was afoot. Audio of the poem here.

Pic: A camera screen with a photo of a white-tailed sea eagle


Sea legs


So much to escape,

I can see the appeal

as we bounce away

on waves and swell,

leave land’s tough rind

for alternative time.


Some swoosh on by,

we chug, chug, chug,

small craft, huge loch,

we laugh and bob,

our eyes need help,

our legs adjust.


As we practise knots

on our little adventure,

giant wings above

might seem to mock – 

white-tailed sea eagle,

a lesson in flight.


It crosses the loch

in a handful of beats,

the water is wide

but the bird is too,

it scoops a snack,

then it swoops on back.

RF 2021



 Pic: Entering Loch Ness, view of clouds and water and hills from a motor boat

Some of you might recognise the phrase ‘the water is wide’ in that poem as it is the title and part of a folk song (sung by many well-known 20th century artists too). I first heard it at Montrose Folk Club sung by Judy Dinning and the band Real Time (I wrote about Judy for another project back here). Looking at the poem persuaded me to have a go at singing The Water is Wide this week. I don’t sing it as well as Judy (here she is, with Real Time, performing it) but I enjoyed the attempt. Another of the participants nudged me to “just dive in” as I stalled a little before starting, wondering if warbling in public was really a good idea. It was a very apt comment and it helped no end.


The other poem I read last night is one that has had much more attention than most of mine. It’s a love poem called Don’t squeeze my shoes and it’s been used in weddings (and is even on wedding websites like this one – check me alongside Bob Dylan and Winnie the Pooh as options for your special day). It’s not my favourite poem of mine by some stretch but we can’t control what flies and what doesn’t – here is my post about it on my old blog (including the poem). The title is a phrase used in the TV show NYPD Blue that Mark and I used to watch years ago (and of course we used to repeat the phrase in terrible NY accents…).


Anyway, may your feet be comfy, as often as possible. Until next time.


Friday 2 June 2023

I went to Orkney Folk Festival and I saw...


I went to Orkney Folk Festival and I saw… 

(audio version here)




The macaroni pie

of a woman to my right

held halfway 

between plate and bite.


A voice ringing out

as a spell was spun,

hunger had to wait

till the song was done.





Afternoon shows

with a coach trip air,

coats on, zips up,

nothing too bare.


But later at the Stomp,

feet firm, arms bright,

the strappiest tops,

young blood, all night.





It wasn’t quite a circle,

more of a line,

four lovely singers

sitting in a shrine.


They played old colours

and they tried out new.

They left us charmed,

anything but blue.





A walk by the point,

brave tents in the roar,

singers swimming wild,

more golf than war.


Runners with dogs,

fiddles and feet,

we all headed down

to the prettiest street.





Singers all around us,

perfect lullabies,

singers in the jumper shop,

looking for their size.


Singers with jetlag,

looking for calm,

singers with toddlers,

looking for an arm.



Midnight at the club, 

and a song for a dad,

a story I don’t know,

not a life I've had.


But the woman to my left,

was an open gate,

tears flooded fast,

it was hot, it was late.





For a change, Sunday morning,

squeezed in a pew,

for poets and pianos,

and a choir came too.


Light poured in

as the songs soared high,

it’s not about angels,

more about sky.





The boat on Monday,

tired goodbyes,

memories in phones,

smiles, heavy sighs.


And the session carried on

as we sailed away,

tunes for dreams

at the end of the day.

RF 2023





Friday 19 May 2023

Music for May

Realising I haven’t put anything on this blog for a couple of months, I thought I’d just mention two albums you might want to look up.


The first is Onliness from Josienne Clarke (pic above). I’ve written about this artist on this blog before and this album has been out for a month or so. It sees Clarke revisiting work from her back catalogue and it really is a beautiful collection. Even songs like Done (that I loved so much in its earlier version) are somehow at least equalled, if not bettered, in these new recordings (new video here). I’ve been hearing them on some of my favourite radio shows recently and if mainstream radio were to rely less on easy options (oh yes please, more Coldplay, that’s what the world needs) we could all be richer, musically at least. Clarke has that special thing, a voice like no-one else – you hear her voice and you know it’s her – and once you’re a fan, you’re a fan for life. She is touring this year too – catch her if you can.

Another artist I’ve written about before is Pauline M. Hynd (here, for example). A huge figure on the Dundee music scene, Pauline died in 2021 but this spring her family (in blood and music) have released a collection of songs written by this artist who was perhaps better known for her performances of others’ material. The album is called My mother is really out there travelling in the light and you can hear it (and buy it) on Bandcamp here. All but one track feature Pauline on vocals (the last track has vocals from another local singer/songwriter Nicola/Nic Madill).


I will try to find something else for the blog before too long! It’s a bit all or nothing these days.