Ballad for St Brigid

O Bridget of the oaken-tree
O Bridget of the well
Keep safe my cattle and guard me
Over the dark’ning fell.

O Bridget of the warm fireside
O Bridget of the byre
Be thou our ever constant guide
As we cross moor and mire.

O Bridget of the chieftains rich
Bridget of the humble
Watch our paths over dyke and ditch
Let our feet not stumble.

O Bridget of the healing hand
Bridget of candlelight
Across this cold and wintry land
Lead us safe home tonight.


Birthday Cake

Birthday cake
For little Jake
It’s six a.m., he’s wide awake
“Mummy, let me help you make
My birthday cake
For goodness sake.
Here’s the butter, and let me shake
In lots of sugar, and let me break
The eggs, and let me take
Big licks. And let me eat a chocolate flake
And let me drink a huge milk shake.
Oh mummy – what a big mistake!
I’ve got a dreadful tummy-ache!
Let’s not bake
That birthday cake”.


My Sister’s Dolly

My Sister’s Dolly

She was reddish brown
No smile or frown
But a neat little baby face.
Sweet angel nose
Cupid lips arose
From a face full of peace and grace.

Strange little eyes
But no pupils arise
From these orbs of jaundiced hue.
No matter to me
For all I could see
Was my baby belonged to you.

She had lent her, you see,
For a time to me
From a childhood long since passed.
But I hoped so much
To preserve her touch
Forever and a day to last.

Alas it’s so true
She flew back to you
As soon as my youth I outgrew
But still I am left
Grown up and bereft
My dolly belongs to you.



Grey-back tenements covered in grime,
Red sandstone Victorian marvels of architecture,
Crowded streets a-throng with busy shoppers,
Leafy suburbs quiet and elegant.
The Barrows and Kelvingrove Museum,
Old Gorbels and Kelvinside.
Streets blocked with cars and buses,
Acres of parkland and ponds,
Littered streets and noisy cafes,
Clyde river walks in the open air.
Paddy’s Market and Sauchiehall St.,
Magestic Bingo and the King’s Theatre.
Waste ground filled with parked cars,
Sky scrapers and posh upmarket hotels,
Clubs and pubs and gourmet restaurants,
One-way streets carved up with motorway.
The Highl’d man’s umbrella and George’s Square.
The SSEC and the Royal Opera.
City of contrast never sleeping,
Ying and yang on every side,
Frowns on faces, friendliest place alive,
Drugs and unemployment, energy in its very bowels.
For worse or better
My own “dear green place”.



Il me faut ecrire
Un poeme a lire,
En mots francais
Pour M Marais,
Comme je lui ai promis
Derniere fois a Paris;
Et une toile en plus
Style Renoir, Auguste.

Maintenant, c’est fait
Formidable! on dirait…..

L’avenir, c’est clair!
Je vois les portes s’ouvrent-
Soit au Grand Palais
Ou aux salles du Louvre!



Sonnet 155: To the Haggis

Sonnet 155: To the Haggis…

Shall I compare thee to a winter’s night?
Thou sits most warmly upon my plate.
Cold winds do shake and frosts do bite
But hot art thou like the fire’s grate.

Soft soups do scald in hot pretence
Then reveal their lack in swift decline,
But thy warm worth does show its sustenance
With neeps and tatties and red red wine.

No pasta from Pisa could you now replace
Nor French fricassee hope a higher grade.
From stomach to stomach thy course thou trace
With memory in laughter, immortal, remade.

So long as winters be cold and heat be amiss..
So long enough sonnet… let’s have our Haggis.


Seasons at Home

Seasons at Home
I love to visit the woods in spring
            With creatures all a-hive,
            So nature wakes and sings with joy
            And all the world’s alive.
            I love to visit the sea in summer
            To breathe the salt-kissed sky.
            To see the gulls wheel overhead
            And hear their piercing cry.
            I love to visit the meadow in autumn
            And see the harvest here.
            To sense the earth snug down to sleep
            Soil blankets over her.
            I love to visit the hills in winter,
            The crunch of diamond snow.
            The whistling wind so wild and free
            That sets the skin aglow.
            I love to live here by the coast
            With every scent and sound.
            The life of seasons as they roll
            Miriad riches all around.