Wednesday, April 25, 2007


In your eyes
are the skies
and sadness
of your homeland

and the vastness
of your loneliness.

previously published in Poetry Monthly

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Guerilla Poetry

Poetry Thursday this week asks us to think about and even participate in Guerilla Poetry! That is to print or write out our own poetry and leave it in public places for other people to find. This sounds remarkably like Bookcrossing, where people register books with the site and then send them to other members or leave them in public places. If I send a poetry book to another bookcrosser, I always include some of my own poetry inside, in the form of a poetry card or a small flier of my haiku. I also try to remember to do this if I'm leaving a poetry book in a public place. I recently left a book of poetry by the statue of the Edinburgh poet Fergusson, which has now (the book, not the statue!) found its way to Canada! I have sent poetry books to Spain, Germany, Australia and Netherlands. Some of the books have then been left in public places in those countries.

When I give poetry readings, I generally leave some of my poetry on the tables in the venue. I always carry some poetry with me to give to people I meet who are interested.

As for just leaving my poems by themselves in public places, I haven't done that yet, though every year I imagine myself wandering down Edinburgh's Royal Mile, giving fliers of my poetry to passing tourists during the Festivals. If I dressed up as a giant rabbit, it would probably be easier (If you've ever walked down Edinburgh's Royal Mile during the Festivals, you'll understand why!).

A good site to visit for ideas about Guerilla Poetry is Random Acts of Poetry.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Secret Identity

Sunday Scribblings asks us to write about our secret identities this week. Well, my secret identity is as a campaigning environmentalist who works for a charity and makes lots of crafts from reused materials. But I guess most of you knew that already. If this is a revelation to you, you may be interested in my other blog Crafty Green Poet.

Edited to add: if you read my poetry on this blog, you may think that I am lonely and without love, this is not true. Part of my identity that is a secret in this blog is that I am happily in a relationship and have been for about 13 years. Just that sad love poems are easier to write....

Say What? GPP Crusade

Numpty was recently voted Scotland's favourite word, according to the BBC. This Scots word means a fool or an idiot and is often used to describe politicians. There are several Scots words for foolish, how about dippit or glaekit? These are words that even Sassanachs (English people like me) use on a regular basis. Other Scots words and expressions I use include:

in a fankle - in a tangle, a mess
crabbit - bad tempered, grumpy
dour - miserable (person or weather)
drookit - soaking wet (from the rain)
peely wally - pale and sickly
blether - talk, chatter, ramble on and on or to describe someone who talks a lot
puggled - too exhausted to do anything
bumfle - creased, wrinkled
shoogle - to shake from side to side

For more Scots words and phrases, visit here.

There are various dialects of Scots spoken in various parts of the country but the most telling difference between the two main cities is said in English rather than Scots:

You arrive at someone's house in Glasgow to be greeted with: 'You'll be wanting your tea, then?' whereas in Edinburgh it will be: 'You'll have had your tea then?'.

These types of small differences can be fascinating. For example, my partner's family, when they say they're going to 'stretch their legs' mean they're going to sit down, whereas my family mean they're going for a walk when they say exactly the same thing.

I remember a wonderful phrase of my Grandmother's 'I'm off to see my aunt' she'd say as she went off to the bathroom.

There are so many weird word usages! I know several people who will say 'what a wombat!' when someone does something silly (hey come on we're in Scotland, what's wrong with numpty!!).

I spent two years in Malawi and there are a couple of Chichewa words I will still use:

Zikomo - thank you, excuse me, look out there's a lion behind you (admittedly this last usage has declined since I returned to Scotland.)
Osoandola - don't worry
Chabwino - Okay, fine
Tikupita - let's go! My partner has corrupted this into chick pea pizza for some reason.

I grew up in Lancashire and for lots of regional words from that area, please see Sue Berry's entry for this prompt.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Making of a Muse

There was urgency, then,
in my love for you.
Sudden in the sunlight,
your beauty and laughter,
tight-reined passion
followed me, ghostlike,

I sensed your feelings, recognised
love that could not speak,
to dare being just too brave
in such strange circumstance.

I loved you well enough to know
my silence kept you safe,
knew there was no easy way
to tell you what I felt.

Now continents and years away,
your likeness sits here in my soul,
a symbol, cipher, set in stone
for me to bring to mind
when I find a word or line
on which to hang another poem
of unrequited love.

Previously published in Markings

The line 'sudden in the sunlight' was my contribution to the donated lines for this week's Poetry Thursday.

The whole poem has been translated into Spanish by Eugenia Andino. You can read the Spanish version here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


This is my art journal page for the archive GPP Street Team Crusade on the topic of tattoos. I reality I couldn't face the pain of having a tattoo done, not sure either that i'd want something that permanent. If I did have a tattoo though it would be a dolphin leaping over my shoulder blade. I sometimes have flowery henna tattoos when we go clubbing or for the long summer days. When we go clubbing, we get our hands stamped, sometimes with a seahorse, sometimes with a catspaw, either of which look a bit like a tattoo, sometimes with an inky mess that takes forever to fade and is just annoying! Of course if I'm being a glamour goth for the night and wearing long gloves, then the stamp will go elsewhere, usually on my upper arm.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


You got a broken heart,
I got a few poems
for a future volume.

I’ll send you a copy,
signed with an innocuous
message. The word love
carelessly scribbled
above my signature.

previously published in Poetry Scotland.

Poetry Thursday this week asked us to write a poem for or to a poet. This poem is neither, but has been taken as being such. I did write a poem to a poet, but you'll need to go to Crafty Green Poet to read it!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Deepest Darkest

He had the blackest hair, the darkest
eyes staring from thin paleness.
Deep she thought - New Wave
French cinema; discussing Proust
over cappuccino.

She wasn't prepared for the nightmares

traumatised sleep, waking
eyes dark-ringed. She tried
leaving but was in too deep
dark-placed. Finally he left her
to grief unsolaced.

Deepest Darkest for Sunday Scribblings