Monday, 31 December 2012


Made it! Away from home but managed to get a poem in a shop for IPYPIASM! See here for more poems in shops. This poem is an old one...

Happy new hope

Years have to start with hope, this is essential
We have to feel that good things are to come
A lack of hope can be most detrimental
It can stop New Year’s Eve from being fun.
No, seeing smiles ahead is fairly vital
We should see triumphs and tranquillity
We listen (hark) for fanfares by the skyful
Between them sighs contented, full and free.
We need to feel our hearts are in it with us
That hope has made it, somehow, through and through
Life’s switches may be always out to dim us
But we can think of ways to glow anew.
This New Year’s hopes might be the ones to make it
The outstretched hand - we see it, match it, take it

RF... years ago!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Holiday highs

The sea at Usan, yesterday.

So the run-up to Xmas in this house has been about one thing for the past few years. Is it the food preparation? No. Is it the Santa factor? No. Is it getting round and seeing friends and swapping presents? No... though all those things are happening... the main focus is, of course...

Every year I think our girl will go off this TV show but every year she loves it more and more. There's just nothing we can do about it (it's watch it with her or lose her for 3 months) and anyway, this year it really was quite good (even with the continued plague of spoken clichés... "raising bars", "journeys", "pulling things out of bags", things "not getting any better than this" etc.). This weekend another year's worth of Strictly came to an end and 2012's champions are Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and pro dance Flavia Cacace (nice interview with Smith here). They even managed to do a slow and thoughtful show dance (and the show dances are usually all spins and flings) and I enjoyed it even though (and this is HUGE) they did it to a song by Take That (possibly my least favourite band ever!). So here it is:

And to make up for the Take That (though obviously on the clip above it is the Strictly band and singers' version) here is a Gillian Welch song I heard on BBC Radio Scotland the other day... lovely toon (and even better because it is NOT a Xmas song!!):

Happy holidays... if you're lucky enough to have them.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

A different type of tree

Novar bounday beech #1 
Charcoal on Canson C à Grain paper
72 x 53cm

So, the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that the above is not a Xmas tree.  Not at all. And that's quite a relief by this point perhaps (and Xmas still a week away... or more!). Neither is it anything to do with all the sad, sad news stories with us currently (suicides, mass murders of children...). It comes to something when watching "The Killing" is light relief from real life... heavy sigh.

No, the above is the work of Tansy Lee Moir (cue quote from her website) "an Edinburgh based artist with a passion for trees". I saw her work (two examples of it, in fact) in the huge Xmas exhibition that our county's main gallery, the Meffan in Forfar, holds every year around this time. There is always a competition element to the exhibition but, as happens with these things, I rarely agree with judges. My favourite pieces this year (and this is perhaps unwise as I know lots of artists around here and I'm not mentioning any of them today...) were a fabulous ceramic sculpture by Linda Masson (can't find her online at all... hence no link) and a mixed media kind of a picture by Gwen Black. And then there were Moir's charcoals... 

It was my friend who drew my attention to Moir's work first... and after close inspection we agreed that the pictures were a bit disturbing (I could see a pig snout breast in there somewhere) but also really good, quite compulsive-viewing and certainly memorable. "I bet they're the ones we'll remember", I said... and indeed that's certainly turning out to be the case. Interesting too that it was National Tree Week recently (I wouldn't have known but there were lots of radio programmes about trees etc.) and because of one of these programmes I ended up posting my tree poem/postcard to someone last week too (that poem's been online here and, for 2009's IPYPIASM*, here). And yes, I will get to this year's IPYPIASM but it might well be the end of the month (others are busy, busy, busy over here).

*International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month, of course!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Xmas post - early!

Up the road, yesterday

I may have mentioned before that I'm not exactly what you call a Xmas person (never have been really). I'm at least partly with Sheldon Cooper on this (click on name for the clip, it won't embed). But, of course, once you have children in the house it's not really up to you what you like and don't like... well, not all the time anyway... thus I have learned to have (at least a bit of) a Xmas face. And it's pretty when it snows (outside, not my face) and it has snowed this week (bit early for Xmas really but what can you do... it snows when it snows...).

More up the road, good depth on this one (or something).

A couple of weeks ago I even wrote a Xmas poem... about the 'trying to be cheery and in the Xmas spirit' business. It's not as good as the O'Hooley & Tidow Xmas song (posted before ages ago, sounds like this, and yes, they were EXCELLENT at the folk club this week, thank-you very much, really magnificent performances!) but I've read the poem out twice now (in Brechin and at folk club this Tuesday) and it's not the worst Xmas item you'll experience this year, I'm sure. Its title keeps changing... as does a bit of the last line... but for now this is what it looks like:

Season's bleatings

“Are you excited about Xmas?” the young ones all say
"The snow and the tinsel, the bells and the sleigh?"

Well... we older and wiser know what lies ahead
The ups and the downs, the emotional spread

So we smile half a smile and we sigh half a sigh
And we think to ourselves “My... doesn't time fly?

Xmas again and it's come round so fast...”
And we look in our file labelled large “Xmas past”

And we see many entries, not all of them glowing
With happiness, cosiness, carols and snowing

Instead family dramas, the trials we've had
Our own soapy operas, good stories and bad

Silent times too, lonely days, plans gone wrong
Times when the holidays really dragged on

So we give back our answer – a “yes” and a “no”
And a guide to our yuletide follows below.

At Xmas expectations are sillily high
From immaculate beginnings to the perfect mince pie

So we're on to a loser from the start of the game
But we try to ignore that, not focus on blame

And we sing all the songs, even angels and kings
And shop till we flop, wearing out our best wings

And we cook and we stew, and our memories bake
And the telly works hard to keep spirits awake

And we sink now and then, maybe after a sherry
And we try not to tire of the word that is “merry”

And we miss special people who've left us and gone
And we try not to cry but the tears still switch on

Like the lights, that at Xmas, are pretty and bright
There's a positive note, hark, an ending's in sight

For the yule, this is all, it comes round, has its slot
And we wade our way through it, excited or not.

RF 2012

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Random poems and a calling

So last week blogger A Cuban in London asked readers to take part in a poetry game/task. We were to grab a book (of poems) and offer a contribution to share with others. The post full of poems is up now (here) and the poem I ended up giving is Edwin Morgan's "The Video Box: No. 25". You can also read it here  (and hear him read it) but beware as there are a couple of typos on that version (and yes, I have emailed the provider in question...).

Other poetry news... International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month (IPYPIASM) is upon us (details here). I can't say I have any inspiration for that event just yet but it is only the second day of the month so I guess I have some time to get ready for that!

Finally I am really looking forward to our local folk club this week because on Tuesday night (4th December) our guests will be the duo O'Hooley and Tidow. Here they are singing one of their slower, moodier songs (they do all kinds). Enjoy.