Friday, September 16, 2022


The aura 
of cataracts -
broken moon
previously published on Kalanopia
I also posted a haiku today on my Crafty Green Poet blog, you can read it here
Links to recently published haiku - click on the coloured text: 
A selection of haiku on Lothlorien Journal
A selection of haiku on Tsuri Doro (scroll down to read mine). 

A selection of haiku on Under the Basho.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


We cannot speak for you
we have not walked your path
the path that wore down your shoes
the shoes that are now piled high
in glass cases that we file past

We have not walked your path
and cannot speak for you
but silence allows your deaths
again and again and again

Previously published on Poetry,Songs and Writers of Scotland.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Her Sister's Shadow by Catherine Wimpeney


 Greater Manchester DCI Kay Harris is haunted by the memory of her sister's recent suicide. Concerned for her mental health, her superiors  push her into taking some time off. Kay retreats to her family's holiday home in the Scottish Highlands, taking with her, Ava, a young woman she prevented from committing suicide. 

Wimpeney is a former mental health nurse and qualified psychotherapist, and used her experience in writing this thriller. The subject matter is fairly heavy, including issues around expectations of women in the workplace, bullying at work, mental health support and trauma recovery, but the book is lightened by a good sense of humour.

As a birdwatcher, I liked the frequent bird based similes that Kay used to describe things, eg "Their phones rang intermittently, like robins marking territories". I was disappointed that this disappeared from the book quite quickly, though perhaps that was a deliberate attempt to add to the sense of Kay's deteriorating mental health. 

It's an engrossing read, though slightly uneven (and perhaps could have done with better editing). Definitely worth reading if you're interested in the issues.

Her Sister's Shadow by Catherine Wimpeney, published (2021) by Northodox Press, a publishing company committed to books from the north of England.  


Disclaimer: I won this book in a competition on Twitter

Friday, July 01, 2022

Poetry in the Chess Cafe

“Poetry is like chess” the old man said to me.

He was sitting in the corner of a diner
looking vacantly through the window
at the sunlit city street.

“Not only in the sense” he continued quietly
“of the length of time you need to think.
But also there's an instinct -
the right move or the right word
can arise it seems from nowhere
and inspiration is all around.
For example, I am no past Grand Master
so why do I talk of chess?”
He looked downwards at the floor
where the black legs of the diner chairs
stood quietly on black and white tiled squares.

“Perhaps we are but pawns” he said
“but that is just the starting point
for another poem another day.”

He nodded briefly at me
then turned his gaze back to the street.

Previously published as part of the Ekphrastic Challenge in response to the painting The Poet, by Lily Prigioniero (Italy, b. USA) 2021

Monday, March 14, 2022

Inch House

I'm looking forward to leading some nature walks in Inch Park in the early summer. I recently had a guided tour of Inch House, which houses the Inch Community centre. 

Inch House is based on a traditional Scottish tower house, built in the 16th century. 


New wings were added to the building in 1634 and again in the mid-18th century. In the 1890s, additions were made round the courtyard in Scots baronial style, giving the building its current appearance. 

Later additions mostly were very sensitive to the original style of the building - look at how the newer chimney piece in the background here echoes the shape and detail of the older chimney piece in the foreground (click on the photo to enlarge it and get a better look at the detail)

The building contains many well-preserved rooms, complete with special features such as 17th century fireplaces, decorated ceilings, window shutters and carved wooden door surrounds, 


as well as original stone garderobes (toilets). A very narrow spiral staircase leads to a turret, where (apparently!) you can get magnificent views across Edinburgh. (I had to admit defeat on this staircase, I've hated tiny spiral staircases ever since a childhood visit to a lighthouse!)

Edinburgh Council bought the building in 1946. It was first used as a primary school, and then in 1968 converted into a community centre serving the local Inch community. As well as being a community centre, the building offers practice space for a number of local bands 

You can find out more about the building here.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Not in Our Name (a found poem)

There were mutterings that each day grew louder,
signs and portents that we refused to believe.
Local militia were organizing and drilling
getting ready to answer the call should it come.
Not that people thought that it would come.
They believed, as they hoped,
that something would be done to prevent war…….
As for those others who prophesied and prayed for it,
who wanted the vials of God's wrath uncorked,
they got what they wanted.
Their prayers were answered;
the land was drenched in blood.
But for the most of us
we did not.

Found poem from:A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, 1861-1865: Being a Record of the Actual Experiences of the Wife of a Confederate Officer: Ed. by Myrta Lockett Avary

I originally posted this found poem for Read Write Poem, four years ago, but it seems very relevant to today's situation. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Angels in Canongate Kirkyard

 Perhaps these two are cherubs rather than angels, but they are certainly beautiful. 

You can see these in Canongate Kirkyard in Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

An Angel in Liberton Cemetery

 I'm really enjoying exploring the cemeteries of Edinburgh as I survey them for wildlife. Here is a beautiful angel in Liberton Cemetery. 

You can see the angel from Corstorphine HIll Cemetery in my recent post here

You can read my first blogpost about the wildlife of Edinburgh's cemeteries over on my Crafty Green Poet blog here.

Monday, September 27, 2021

An Angel in the Woodland cemetery


This beautiful angel stands in Corstorphine Hill Cemetery, one of the 43 cemeteries in Edinburgh that I've been contracted to do wildlife surveys of over the next six months. 

Last week I surveyed this cemetery and Greyfriars Kirkyard, and you can read more over on my Crafty Green Poet blog, here.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Celtic Crosses of North Merchiston Cemetery

 Over lockdown, Crafty Green Boyfriend and I discovered two of the local cemeteries as wonderful wildlife havens. (I've blogged quite a lot about the wildlife of the cemeteries in my Crafty Green Poet blog). A Friends group has been set up for the North Merchiston Cemetery and I've joined the committee as the Wildlife Officer. We recently set up a Twitter account (@FofNMC which you can follow here). I'm tweeting about the wildlife, but also about some of the gravestones.

There are some beautiful Celtic crosses in the cemetery, the photos below show just a selection:

It's an old cemetery, few people are buried there now (unless you already have a family plot, you can't be buried there in fact). Some headstones have been vandalized in the past, some have been placed face down by the council because they were deemed dangerous. It would be nice to see all the stones replaced in their rightful positions, but apparently that would take many years to complete.

The cemetery has been neglected over the years, and is now fairly overgrown, which makes it a wonderful wildlife haven. There's a fine balance to be found between managing the area as a cemetery, while allowing nature to thrive.