Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Sunday Posts 2013/Gods



The ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond and jade,
Sit silently on their temple shelves
While the people
Are afraid.
Yet the ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond-jade,
Are only silly puppet gods
That the people themselves
Have made.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Quips, sips and nips



I'm heading off across country later back to home territory for my brother's annual get together in honour of Scotland's national bard. Although a bit less formal than many Burns Night Suppers we do follow the traditional elements and in addition each of  us recites a poem. This is the one I'll be doing tonight. Haggis, neeps and tatties and more than a few drams - here I come!

If you would struggle with the words here's what it sounds like.



Scotch Drink

Let other poets raise a fracas 
"Bout vines, an' wines, an' drucken Bacchus, 
An' crabbit names an'stories wrack us, 
An' grate our lug: 
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us, 
In glass or jug. 

O thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink! 
Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink, 
Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink, 
In glorious faem, 
Inspire me, till I lisp an' wink, 
To sing thy name! 

Let husky wheat the haughs adorn, 
An' aits set up their awnie horn, 
An' pease and beans, at e'en or morn, 
Perfume the plain: 
Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn, 
Thou king o' grain! 

On thee aft Scotland chows her cood, 
In souple scones, the wale o'food! 
Or tumblin in the boiling flood 
Wi' kail an' beef; 
But when thou pours thy strong heart's blood, 
There thou shines chief. 

Food fills the wame, an' keeps us leevin; 
Tho' life's a gift no worth receivin, 
When heavy-dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin; 
But, oil'd by thee, 
The wheels o' life gae down-hill, scrievin, 
Wi' rattlin glee. 

Thou clears the head o'doited Lear; 
Thou cheers ahe heart o' drooping Care; 
Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair, 
At's weary toil; 
Though even brightens dark Despair 
Wi' gloomy smile. 

Aft, clad in massy siller weed, 
Wi' gentles thou erects thy head; 
Yet, humbly kind in time o' need, 
The poor man's wine; 
His weep drap parritch, or his bread, 
Thou kitchens fine. 

Thou art the life o' public haunts; 
But thee, what were our fairs and rants? 
Ev'n godly meetings o' the saunts, 
By thee inspired, 
When gaping they besiege the tents, 
Are doubly fir'd. 

That merry night we get the corn in, 
O sweetly, then, thou reams the horn in! 
Or reekin on a New-year mornin 
In cog or bicker, 
An' just a wee drap sp'ritual burn in, 
An' gusty sucker! 

When Vulcan gies his bellows breath, 
An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith, 
O rare! to see thee fizz an freath 
I' th' luggit caup! 
Then Burnewin comes on like death 
At every chap. 

Nae mercy then, for airn or steel; 
The brawnie, banie, ploughman chiel, 
Brings hard owrehip, wi' sturdy wheel, 
The strong forehammer, 
Till block an' studdie ring an reel, 
Wi' dinsome clamour. 

When skirling weanies see the light, 
Though maks the gossips clatter bright, 
How fumblin' cuiffs their dearies slight; 
Wae worth the name! 
Nae howdie gets a social night, 
Or plack frae them. 

When neibors anger at a plea, 
An' just as wud as wud can be, 
How easy can the barley brie 
Cement the quarrel! 
It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee, 
To taste the barrel. 

Alake! that e'er my muse has reason, 
To wyte her countrymen wi' treason! 
But mony daily weet their weason 
Wi' liquors nice, 
An' hardly, in a winter season, 
E'er Spier her price. 

Wae worth that brandy, burnin trash! 
Fell source o' mony a pain an' brash! 
Twins mony a poor, doylt, drucken hash, 
O' half his days; 
An' sends, beside, auld Scotland's cash 
To her warst faes. 

Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well! 
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell, 
Poor, plackless devils like mysel'! 
It sets you ill, 
Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell, 
Or foreign gill. 

May gravels round his blather wrench, 
An' gouts torment him, inch by inch, 
What twists his gruntle wi' a glunch 
O' sour disdain, 
Out owre a glass o' whisky-punch 
Wi' honest men! 

O Whisky! soul o' plays and pranks! 
Accept a bardie's gratfu' thanks! 
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks 
Are my poor verses! 
Thou comes - they rattle in their ranks, 
At ither's arses! 

Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost! 
Scotland lament frae coast to coast! 
Now colic grips, an' barkin hoast 
May kill us a'; 
For loyal Forbes' charter'd boast 
Is ta'en awa? 

Thae curst horse-leeches o' the' Excise, 
Wha mak the whisky stells their prize! 
Haud up thy han', Deil! ance, twice, thrice! 
There, seize the blinkers! 
An' bake them up in brunstane pies 
For poor damn'd drinkers. 

Fortune! if thou'll but gie me still 
Hale breeks, a scone, an' whisky gill, 
An' rowth o' rhyme to rave at will, 
Tak a' the rest, 
An' deal't about as thy blind skill 
Directs thee best.
 
See you later.
 
 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Sunday Posts 2013/A Drinking Song



Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

Friday, 18 January 2013

A Little Bit Of Snow

The Old Smiddy


It's been snowing most of the morning.The first real snow of Winter is coming and will be here on and off over the next three days. It'll be over just as I go on holiday so I hope it stays around long enough to get some photography done with the swanky new camera The Lovely G bought me for Christmas. Earlier this week we had a little foretaste of what's coming with a couple of inches overnight Monday into Tuesday. I took the chance to get out and take some photos around the vicinity of the house. I stuck them onto my facebook page the other day but for some reason couldn't get them to upload onto the blog. Here are the some of them at last.

A Neighbouring cottage
 
Peanuts for Breakfast
 
The lane
 
Light filters through the trees
 
Unwalked
 
Toward the Kirk
 
Across the bowling green to the house {center}
 
 
I'm going to be working away until tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully G will be snug and cosy in the house. We are hoping to be able to attend a funeral on Saturday morning - a colleague is going to cover me for a few hours - but that will be dependant on weather conditions. After the weekend I'm on holiday, using up the last of my work annual holiday entitlement before I lose it on the anniversary of my employment. I'll have been working a year in just a couple of weeks. It seems much less than that.
 
Another shot of the house across the green.
 
I was on holiday for a week last week during which we had some welcome visitors come to stay. Hopefully I'll get some of those pics uploaded and a few lines about what we got up to later tonight maybe.
 
See you later.
 
Listening to.
 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Sunday Posts 2013/ Homage To My Hips



these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Sunday Posts 2013/The Visitor



It came today to visit
and moved into the house
it was smaller than an elephant
but larger than a mouse

first it slapped my sister
then it kicked my dad
then it pushed my mother
oh! that really made me mad

it went and tickled rover
and terrified the cat
it sliced apart my necktie
and rudely crushed my hat

it smeared my head with honey
and filled the tub with rocks
and when i yelled in anger
it stole my shoes and socks

that's just the way it happened
it happened all today
before it bowed politely
and softly went away

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

You Can Tell A Man by......




Dad believed you could tell a man from his handshake. A handshake said a lot. His own hands were big and seemed to envelope my boyish ones in their fleshy warmth. My early memories were of holding his hand and while not a handshake, gave the instinctive feeling of absolute safety, of solidity and controlled strength. It was a hand you could trust. When I was older and too old to be hugged by the men of the family when we met, they would offer me a handshake in understanding of boyish awkwardness and in recognition that even if not quite yet a man that landmark was on the horizon. I once remarked on the different handshakes to Dad and that led to a discussion – a lesson – on his thoughts on the matter, his preference for a firm handshake and eye contact and the nuances between each kind of variation and the levels within. It was a revelation to me and a lesson I’ve never forgotten. From then on I began to shake hands with almost everyone. The next time I shook hands with relatives I did so conscious that I was assessing them and that they, in all likelihood, were doing a much better job on me. I do it still.

Remember that should we meet.
 
My Grandmother, on the other hand, believed you could tell a man by his shoes. Shoes said a lot. Her own shoes were always well looked after and she kept several pairs of ‘good’ shoes for going out and special occasions, each chosen for where she was going and who’s equally critical eyes she might pass. In her eyes a man’s shoes had to be highly polished and well looked after no matter how poor his circumstances. Anything less showed a lack of standards and probably an equivalent level of character and he would be treated with deserved suspicion.. My shoes were the first thing she would look at after I’d given her a hug and she’d be more likely to comment on my shoes than any new clothes I might be wearing. As I grew up she went through various stages of disgruntlement with my footwear but eventually gave up openly voicing her concerns – to me at least. I suspect Dad continued to hear her opinions for much longer. Over the years I've come to understand her perspective and get a bit closer to {some} of her footwear standards, although more of in a 'time and place for everything' kind of way. When meeting new people I tend to look at their shoes, but only after shaking their hand and looking them in the eye..

Remember that should we meet.
 
It was my music teacher's view that you could tell a man by what he did and how he did it. Hughie was very hot on 'doing'. It said a lot about him. He  was a humble man but oh he was driven. He wasn't one to brag or to waste much time in talking unless it was to describe what was needed and how it could be done. While he was always forgiving he never suffered fools gladly. Doing was character building and discipline was key in achieving what had to be. He schooled us, practiced us and drove us, planned and organised, inspired, motivated and cajoled us from a bunch of grotty schoolweans into Scottish champions within two years of us playing a note. He demonstrated what could be done and how it could be done, showed unwavering belief at every turn, especially when we were struggling - and boy, we struggled sometimes. He showed that anything could be done - by almost anyone, with determination. That was a lesson that would be invaluable and stayed with me as I moved through life.
 
It was my Mother's view you could tell a man - but it wasn't likely to make a difference.
 
She was succinct my Mum - and as right as any of the others.

Never stopped her trying mind.....
 
See you later.
 
Listening to
 

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