My Skye Stories Trilogy and more....

Skye Stories

Five years for an adult, passes in five minutes. Five years for a kid is a lifetime. An attempted bike stealing incident in Glasgow when I was 13 led to me living in Linicro on the Isle of Skye with my Great Granny and Great Aunt. My family stayed in the city whilst my life changed on the island.

Skye Stories tells the adventures I had growing up: the girls I fancied, the sheep I worried and the music I loved.
Told in poetry and wee stories. Easy to read with photographs. The style is the same as my Facebook posts where I do my heartfelt best to tell it like it was and write poetry for those, who like me, don't normally read poems.

Although this book is about Skye and my love for the island, the account of my experiences and emotions will strike a chord with people who have never visited the island. We were all young once!

Skye changed the my life forever and for the better. You could say the Isle of Skye saved my life. This book, Volume 1, tells the story of the first two years on Skye - the Linicro years.

Volume 2: The Road to Uig sees me leave Linicro and begin a new adventure in Uig. Did I find love? Maybe...

Volume 3: Not the Skye Year's. Wanna know what happened before and after Skye? This is your book!

Work in progress....this time it's fiction!

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Nursing


What does Raymond Moore write?

Currently promoting the publication of Skye Stories Volume 1 The Linicro Year's. Available from Amazon, Waterstones, Kobo and WH Smith.
Skye Stories Volume 2 is in the last phases of Editing and will be published by Redshank Books/Libri Publishing in May 2021.
Volume 3 has yet to go through the editing phase.

Work in process is Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll and Nursing. A piece of fiction set in 1980s Edinburgh.

Poems about Skye and beyond are written whenever a line pops into my head.

Poetry? Probably and Poetry? Maybe are self-published on Amazon.

External link

Book now available  —

Dedicated to my Dad Big Gerry.

External link

Available now on Amazon

Skye Stories Volume 3: Not the Skye Years —

Out in October

Big Gerry

So happy that my Dad gets to see my first book which is dedicated to him. He's always supported everything I've done and more. Couldn't have asked for a better Dad. Love you big man.

External link

Low Down

Love Heals

Music from the book Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Nursing.

Low Down - Love Heals

Low Down

Feel It. Fear It.

Music from the book Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Nursing.

Feel It. Fear It.

Early Shift

Sun kissed and sleepy eyed
I stumbled from my Bruntsfield flat
An early shift at the Royal
dialysis day ahead.

The sun not quite hot
Meadows dew evaporates under
Campus wearing feet.

There's a breeze blowing
Forth bound
brain aired and ready for action.

Cherry blossom colour
surrounds me
a fit person jogs by.

On Chalmers asphalt
I'm nearly there
locker room smells of exhaustion and CK One.

Dressed in white
I stroll through well buffed corridors
disinfectant mixed with a morning fag.

Checking my smile
I breeze in to the ward
hardly an angel.

Love Words Unsaid

I wanted to breathe you in
absorb you cell by cell
we had such a short time alone
before we said farewell.

Love words unsaid
love actions with lips
and fingers and tongue
I didn't want to lose the moment
the moment
lost before it begun.

Hot breath
eyes stare
slick bodies
moving to sound
and there was something
but I felt it there
your hands
your heart and
your hips
told me that you cared.

I resigned my soul to lose you
you let me take what I could
and I touched you
and you touched me
I'm eternal in gratitude.

Love words unsaid
love actions in bed
carved into my heart
your taste
your smell
forever kept
no matter how long
we have spent apart.

When time robs me of everything
our moment it can never steal
your here
you always have been
and what we did was for real.

Festival Nights

In a crowded bar you appeared
Blonde hair and eyes so blue.
Like a tractor beam I was caught
Unable to resist the pull towards you.

We talked in a corner till closing time
And I offered to walk you home.
Through middle Meadow walk we strolled
Love light shining in the Edinburgh gloam.

In the heat of the Festival night
We sat so close on a green wooden chair
Time stood still as I gazed at your face
Your lips and tongue and the curl of your hair.

Fingers touching made my poor heart race
Searching for a reason to make you to stay.
Take me back to that time and that place
Festival nights and long summer days.

Love at first sight, man, happened to me
Naked nights we spent only two.
A lifetime of memories guaranteed
Love-struck by the beauty of you.

    (not) Meant to be

    And that voice
    from the past returns
    reminding me
    of what might have been.
    A faded memory
    pulled into focus
    days spent basking
    in your sunbeam.

    All is good
    and I don't feel regret
    or remorse.
    We had our time
    and it was something
    then our lives
    changed course.

    But in the wee hours
    I think of you
    and me.
    What's become of us
    and who we were meant to be.

    When the sun goes down
    and the moon is on the wane.
    It's you I think about
    and my love
    deep down remains.

    Years passed by in a day dream
    and before you know it
    two decades
    have come
    and gone.

    No distance or time
    can change our past
    and that's alright
    with me.
    We are who we are
    and we are
    were we are meant to be.

    (A) Faulty Heart

    My heart malfunctions
    and is in desperate
    need of repair.

    It transmits love
    but is unable to receive
    leaving my soul in despair.

    I don't know when
    it broke down
    I can't pin point
    a time and place.

    The summer of 1990
    a parts missing
    or has been
    permanently misplaced.

    On Laurieston
    where Jane
    set me free
    the beginning
    of the end
    for me.

    For decades now
    I've sought a
    to solve this
    puzzle you see.

    Giving love
    not a problem at all
    receiving love
    is the issue
    my emotional downfall.

    Looking for love
    was easy
    finding it too
    a piece of cake

    Feeling loved
    a stranger to my heart
    that suffers
    a constant ache.

    The search for
    a heart specialist
    to solve my issue
    till now carries on.

    but not receiving
    hope of a cure
    my denouement.

    What If? —

    What if I knew you before I met you
    What if we have done this dance before
    A love across the universe
    We know this at our core

    What if in our last life
    it was me that broke your heart?
    What if it was your turn now and the merry-go-round begins from the start.

    The miles and years a blink of an eye
    We live we love
    we touch each others soul
    then we say goodbye

    What if this time round
    we were meant to stay friends till the end
    What if our loves a mystery
    impossible to comprehend

    Your life lived separately and far from me
    My life a struggle to find balance
    a love lorn mystery

    What if where we are now
    is exactly what we planned
    What if we both found love
    which we both grabbed by the hand
    And here I am
    and there you are
    living the only way we can

    All I know is I want the best for you
    and I'm happy if that was our plan

    What if our love was eternal
    What if we will never part
    Our bodies our blood our soul
    You will always be in my heart


    Friday night after dinner
    uniform pressed for action.
    Belt buckle smeared in brasso
    buffed and bronze bright.
    Adidas bag slung over shoulder
    I walked into the Galloway Street night.

    Frost sparkled on pavements coloured custard yellow from the streetlights glow.
    A winter stroll to Albert Secondary is where my polished shoes would go.

    The 202 stood in lines of attention
    and officers inspected metal polishing skills.
    Somebody behind me would let one rip
    and the laughter is with me still.

    Serious faces stared seriously at the quality of our uniform attire.
    Ignoring the smiles and the smell.
    Then it was off to study for our badges in classrooms where we hoped to excel.

    Fun time was in the games-hall where we'd play five aside football with glee.
    Many years passed and wrinkles appeared
    but I still remember my time in the BB.

    Evening Times

    Collecting my bunch
    of red and black newsprint
    stuffing them under one arm.
    From Galloway
    down Huntershill I meandered
    shouting Times to passersby.

    Crossing Springburn Road
    I made for the garage
    two sales guaranteed.
    And if I was lucky
    the guy in the office
    would tell me to keep the change.

    Accosting unsuspecting motorists
    on the forecourt like mad mugger.
    Times I'd shout in their faces
    hoping they'd take up my offer.

    Back across the road
    I'd head towards Colston.
    The 45 bus terminus
    my luxurious pitch.
    Come rain,
    hail sleet and snow
    I'd stand sheltering
    waiting for a bus to arrive.

    Deposting its passengers
    in front of me
    a smile of hope on my face.
    Please let me sell all my papers tonight
    so I can get away from this place.

    Hours spent
    secreted like an assassin
    waiting to pounce.
    To all and sundry
    walking fast and slow
    Evening Times I'd proudly announce.

    Some nights were better than others
    Some nights I was miserable as sin
    I would take my leftover newspaper's
    try to sell them
    to the steamers of the Spring Inn.

    All was not lost though
    and in a few months
    I'd saved a ten pound note
    A fortune for this fortunate son.
    With the money
    I purchased a Raleigh Jeep
    that I road up and down Galloway Street
    until my Ma called me in for my bed.

    Love Heals

    Written by me. Performed by Sarah Elizabeth

    This time you told yourself it's over
    Too much hurt with no gain
    Wasted years spent giving yourself
    No sunshine life only rain

    Love isn’t easy everyone knows
    Love is strong when it grows
    A heart muscle cut is what you feel
    The pain is over, my love heals

    Time slips from your hand in tears
    And words said in fury don't disappear
    This time you know what has to be done
    No more third chances this race is run

    Love isn’t easy, everyone knows
    Love is strong when it grows
    A heart muscle cut is what you feel
    The pain is over, my love heals

    A fortunate moon shone it's love light on me
    Your love's a gift accepted graciously
    No pain will I cause only hearts and smiles
    My love will help your heart and head reconcile.

    Love isn’t easy, everyone knows.
    Love is strong when it grows.
    A heart muscle cut is what you feel
    The pain is over, my love heals

    Feel It. Fear It. —

    Written by me. Performed by Sarah Elizabeth.

    We're putting out a call we're making it loud and clear.
    For the broken and the lonely we want to make you hear.
    This is your time to wear your heart on your sleeve.
    If you’re heart hurt down on loves luck its time for you to believe.

    You gotta feel it,
    feel the love that we are giving.
    You gotta feel it feel the love that we are living.
    You gotta feel it, feel it, don’t fear it.
    You gotta feel it, feel it, don’t fear it.

    We're sharing good vibrations for the young at heart and old.
    For those who days are lonely it's time to come in from the cold.
    Its time to grab on to life holding on to all that's dear.
    If you’re heart hurt down on loves luck our message is loud and clear

    You gotta feel it,
    feel the love that we are giving.
    You gotta feel it feel the love that we are living.
    You gotta feel it, feel it, don’t fear it.
    You gotta feel it, feel it, don’t fear it.

    So come and join us singing from your heart and soul.
    If your weeks been tuneless we want you to rock and roll.
    Its time you beautiful girls and boys the message is don’t fear.
    For those about to rock and soul we're waiting for you here.

    You gotta feel it,
    feel the love that we are giving.
    You gotta feel it feel the love that we are living.
    You gotta feel it, feel it, don’t fear it.
    You gotta feel it, feel it, don’t fear it.

    Feel It. Fear It.

    Written by me. Performed by Sarah Elizabeth.

    My Truth

    The truth hits everybody
    so The Police sang.
    Truth is
    I don't know what I'm doing
    never have.

    Dreams of a life lived happier
    are dreams of other people
    my dreams are of existing
    just left of centre
    out of body
    looking on helpless.

    And there's happiness too
    in fits and starts
    and sorrow and regret.

    Lost at sea without hope
    no SOS for me it seems
    love was there
    or the promise was made
    broken by me and you.

    I walk alone
    in crowds of folk
    looking like
    I know what to do.

    The universal
    has passed me by
    call it what will.

    But underneath the darkness
    there's something lighter
    a feeling
    a hint
    a rescue rope.

    Clinging on is what I do
    have done for years
    my area of expertise.

    And you're there
    you've always been there
    but this lifetime
    you're not there for me.

    Life crawls by
    and smiles painted
    and tears hidden
    the veener remains intact.

    Moray House Memory

    A moment in time
    on a Edinburgh
    summer night
    a 70s club in
    Moray House.

    Inside was heaving
    hot and humid
    and I tried to shake
    my stuff.

    Drink flowed
    and peopled glowed
    but there was only
    you and me.

    Under disco lights
    we held each other
    stuck in the heat of the night.

    All I could think about
    was your lips
    all I wanted
    was a kiss.

    I wasn't brave enough
    and the moment passed
    but not the memory.

    As for the missed
    years later I made up
    for lost time.

    And for an eternal
    minute or hour
    or was it days
    I was yours
    and you were mine.

    The Tex Fillet Five 1988 Documentary

    Barking at the Moon

    This was filmed in Edinburgh around 1988 Later I would join the band as their singer/manager.

    Barking at the Moon

    Winter Nights in Linicro

    The long night of a Linicro winter
    bleak and bone cold in bed.

    Days are short and often unkind
    darkness drops like a brick ton.

    Rain leaching to marrow
    breath condensed and dreary.

    Frigid winds cut through clothes like a stone sharpened scythe.

    Big coats and boots mandatory
    long hugs and rubber scented hot water bottles optional.

    Meadows Walk

    Tulip sublingual on
    a Saturday evening
    Bruntsfield Place expands
    and contracts.

    The Links verdant
    and inviting
    wind flattened and springy
    the grass not me.

    June's sun big and swollen
    but it's dipping
    as I walk behind
    Barclay Church.

    Conical and spikey
    puncturing the sky
    big but not scary
    not yet anyway.

    Dogs walk their owners
    golf balls for eyes
    and Melville Drive
    river runs in the distance

    Cars bobbing
    on the tarmac
    Vantablack and lumpy
    Song bird chorus.

    And the strangest thing
    a knee high haar creeps
    across the Meadows
    directionless and chromatic

    Arboreal magic
    and Cherry blossom paths
    blushing blooms
    perfume the air.

    And when summer
    night light illuminates
    a bruise purple sky
    I heed the call of my bed.

    Memory Park

    Memory Park

    Lets take a trip down memory lane

    and a time when life was a lark

    to summer long days we will travel

    as we walk in Springburn Park.

    We cross the road at the Tally

    through iron gates standing true

    perfect lawns of green green grass

    an invitation for me and you.

    The Rock Garden boys and girls

    and a miasma of sights and smells

    excited and out of puff

    on the wooden bridge we dwell.

    On the main path we are strolling

    smiling at the white unicorn

    past a cacophony of colours on this

    splendiferous summers morn.

    The boating pond is where we are

    cane fishing net in hand

    searching the dark cold shallows

    catching minnows is the plan.

    Two tickets bought for paddling boats

    one for me and you

    for a time we’re swashbuckling pirates

    until we hear

    ‘times up no 22.’

    Reluctantly we make for shore

    and the swing park not faraway

    for hours we swing and jump

    under the sun of this memory day.

    It's time to check on the other ponds

    those treasure islands just out of touch

    from there we pay for putting

    big grins as golf clubs we clutch.

    All too soon the hot sun sets

    and its time we made for home

    with the Campsie's in the distance

    basking in the Glasgow gloam.

    With stomachs empty and rumbling

    it's back to Galloway Street we head

    and I prayed my Mum made my favourite


    of chips, beans and fried eggs.

    Its Love Man

    It's love man
    It was love then
    and its love now.

    But what's the point
    She didn't love me then
    and she doesn't love me now.

    But it's love man
    and love doesn't disappear.

    A feeling of absolute desolation
    knowing she doesn't feel the same.

    It's love man.
    Always was
    always will be.

    It's love man
    but my love
    doesn't love me.

    Totescore Road

    Biking down the Totescore road
    on a Sunday afternoon.
    A Minch wind nipping my face
    zooming all over the place
    singing a Pink Floyd tune.

    Hidden in the tunnel beneath the road watching the Stonegate stream flow by.

    And when a cloud rolls down
    from high on the hill
    my head won't get wet
    how much will you bet
    I will be a dry Skye guy.

    Biking up the Totescore road
    on a Sunday afternoon
    sweat on my head
    I need to be fed
    my face all red
    and I look like a Warner Bros cartoon.

      Duntulm Dark

      A tar dark sky spreads its darklight on Duntulm Castle Ink black creeped into corners and crevices.

      The cliff drop window a blank with sea sounds coming from below.
      Washing white waves almost invisible to the naked eye spumed and roared into the ether.

      Score bay a black heart canvas not one pin prick of starlight reveals the ridge.
      A salty wind whistles inbetween every hand laid castle stone eroding and polishing.

      The only shelter is the dungeon space acheronian an earthbound black hole devouring light and sound.

      From the shore to the road to the hill only the memory of brighter days survive.

      Hidden from the nights voracious appetite past people pass by unnoticed and unaware that their heart beats no longer.

      There's a beauty in a night like tonight a comfort wrapped in misery and foreboding.

      And like the rock cliffs we await the luminescence of a waxing moon as it battles the night.

        Old Man

        The sun rises on The Old Man of Storr on a crispy cool January day.
        Its rays of gold pierce the hardest of stone but still the surface remains icy.

        Marshmallow clouds separate revealing a blue eye coloured sky.
        Breath condenses in the air and the hill is crunchy underfoot the sun will soon soften.

        Eyes water at the magnificence of the needle and noses run and turn red.

        The yellow ball of flames is in its apogee and still bones complain about the temperature.

        In the shadow of this colossus we stand in awe of the bodach silent and strong.


        Sitting on a stone at the top of the bealach watching Saturday people do Saturday stuff.
        There's a line of cars strung across the peer being swallowed by the MV Hebrides when my bum tells me its sat enough.

        The path meanders river like and I sail down like a professional until my feet hit tarmac.
        A bright red Ferguson 135 roars in top gear belching black smoke comes up from Idrigill at my back.

        Each and every tourist car I pass waves and gives me a smile and from the local drivers I get a wink.
        On the road passed The Sheiling I plant myself on the wall of the Rha's stone wall to sit and have a think.

        I love to hang over the edge and watch the rapids not so rapid roll under me on the way to the bay.
        And when I'm done with my watching fun it's on to the bakers for messages and a chocolate treat from their display.

        Concrete for Countryside

        Swapping city street concrete and graffiti for the emerald green of the Linicro hill. Double-decker buses no more a Plaxton Panorama his transport of choice.

        Walking the treacherous roads to All Saints School now a dim and dusty memory.
        His playground the whole North End and not a bully in sight but plenty bulls.

        Freedom from soot and the Galloway Street grime is all he craved.
        A gift bestowed by a loving angel his lungs now salted and strong.

        The traffic of Springburn replaced by a tractor or two and a line of passing place signs.
        The mist and the rain he gladly embraced if only winter mornings could be more kind.

        No amount of money could tempt him back to the jungle of urbanity.
        Poor in pocket he was for year's but rich in love for the heather hill and sea.

        A new life in a new world made a new boy into a new man who time could not change. Island life was his for the taking and he grasped firmly with joy.

        Boy to Man

        Red sky at night was a Linicro boys delight he never saw a red warning.
        Summer dew dried by a watery sun graced his smile in the morning.

        Leaden clouds from Harris, doughy and dull delivered sheets of biting rain.
        On a windless night cut crass scented and bright he was lord of his hill domain.

        Dark light crowned the Linicro township in the still of an endless winters night. Powder blue summer skies that never dulled, sprinkled with shimmering starlight.

        A moon on the wane sinking over the hill to the sound of a corncrakes song.
        The wind fresh from the Minch alive and salty, a sense all is right and nothings wrong.

        Long days and short nights turn to short days and long nights winter to summer repeats.
        From a boy to a man with a heather heart and a plan departs the island for a world at his feet.


        Winking at me in the dead dark of a Linicro winters night.
        The twin eyes of Neist and Stornoway banish the blackness and bring light.

        A sailors warning to steer clear 365 days of the Scottish year.
        Friends to me since I was a toddling child and as an adult drinking beer.

        Your love light shines through out the morning, afternoon, evening and twilight. And I'll forever be your lighthouse lover from Linicro with eyes shining blue and bright.

        Conon Cold —

        How cold your water is running brown and white its impossible to ignore.
        How beautiful your meandering motion through hill heather rocks and more.

        Summer sun has no radiant effect on your stygian black eye pools.
        And in the heat of the Uig afternoon swimming is only for hardy fools.

        The relentless rush of the Conon through the glen thunderous and pure.
        The bay water welcomes every gallon that gushes forth from the moor.

        Skudiburg Siren

        The sound of the siren draws me to the Skudiburg shore.
        Sea green and salt soaked I submerge breathing air no more.

        A leaden sky smirring cold a Waternish wind driving water to bone.
        The Stack stands resolute and uncomplaining a millennium spent alone.

        And still I sink into into the sea hags outstretched hands.
        My life lost under the Minch my sea soul given to my island.


        I wish I could fly high in the Linicro sky, soaring on thermals like the golden eagle. Stopping diving and hunting for rabbits I wish I had wings to fly.

        Across the common grazing I'd glide with my best girl golden eagle by my side.
        Far below in the Linicro fank I spy crofters hard at work shearing sheep.
        I would dive bomb the bodachs and leave them each a gift to keep.

        For fun I'd sail on a Minch breeze over Monkstadt all the way down to the shore. And if I got hungry I'd race down the crofts and get my dinner at Camus Mor.

        Alas I'm only a mere mortal man who's afraid to step on a plane.
        From my office in Saudi I daydream of drifting across Kilmuir again and again.

        On the Hill

        How many feet have travelled the old road and ascended the heathered hill. Through winter mud and summer midges their spirits remain there still.

        Who walked across the ridge of Linicro rocks and who sat on the Creagan Ban. Crofters searching for wool covered beasts or a lost soul searching for his clan.

        Did their eyes gaze across the sea to the Uists and the majestic Harris hills.
        And did they marvel at the Ascribs and Waternish beyond who's beauty remains still.

        Did their hungry legs take them back to black homes in Linicro and Totescore.
        And does their spirits continue their walk alone on the hill for ever more.

        River Begins

        Far from the sea the Rha is born, earth mother constantly delivering.
        Running small, from a crawl, gathering momentum.
        Water washed pebbles on every turn.

        The ground widens with the flow, unstoppable and peat stained.
        It gains speed, the water descends, from the hill in twists and bends.

        Crashing waterfalls hidden from sight, fill pools deep with dark light.
        And still it moves, foaming banks of white and green.
        Brown slimy boulders in-between moss and fern, the bay calls.

        At last whitewater breaks fast, under stone and iron bridges.
        Freshwater fades giving way to salty waves, a child no more, sea free and grown.


        Time and Kilbride tide wait for no boy, the ebb and flow of a summer Minch too.

        Foamy white and deep-sea blue waves break on a rocky shore shiny.
        Shallow pools reflect the image of youth and hormones, timelines yet to appear.

        Salty seabirds glide and swoop on a wind sent over from Harris.
        Sun-dried dulse on today's menu with a whilk and limpet side order.

        As evening gives way to summer night light, the sun radiates and sinks in the west.

        Kodak Memory

        A memory snapshot of a Kodak colour moment, sitting outside the wee hoose. Summer colours faded like my jeans and Wrangler shirt.

        Hills of heather and stone in front of my eyes, a frigid grey Minch behind me.
        Long gone faces, driving long gone cars, waving to my long gone smile.

        The summer sounds of silence, deafening and comforting.
        A polaroid square stuck behind my fridge magnet heart.

        The song remains and the soul remembers, an ever expanding and contracting bubble of time.
        A singularity, a thought, a feeling, a big bang of foxglove and stingy nettles, with the taste of milky Maxwell House.

        Memories live on, inside a Box Brownie roll of film, waiting to be exposed.


        This grass is green
        this sky is blue
        there's a corncrake evening song
        he's singing there for you.

        This air is fresh
        This water is clean.
        Take a drink from the Tobar,
        And you'll taste what I mean.

        This moon is waxing,
        This frost is cold.
        I want to walk in the Linicro night,
        Before my bones are too old.

        This house is a home.
        This land is mine.
        All that is and was and will be forever, memories are photos of mine.

        A Wish

        Linicro sunshine on my shoulder,
        Camus Mor sea air in my mind.
        Strolling on Staffin's sandy beach, sea breezy and feeling fine.

        A wish on the Totescore wintergreen, a daydream in Sheader too.
        To lie in the grass and kiss in Cuil,
        Is what I'd love to do.

        Uig Dance

        The ceilidh at Uig Hall is all feet, and sweaty brows.
        Young guys hang around the dance floor edge, like birds of prey, ready to pounce.

        In the gents, its crowded, a mini pub, half bottles of uisge beatha shared.
        Outside, two drunks face off, ready to fight, over a girl, what else?

        Spinning Wheel

        There's a spinning wheel in my wee hoose bedroom, and I swear it moves at night.
        A ghost of someone long passed, spinning yarn towards the light.

        There's a wooden barrel butter churn, and I'm sure that it turns too.
        Maybe a long dead ancestor, making creamy butter for me and you.

          Heather Born

          Hill heart,
          heather born.
          Sea soul,
          Minch strong.
          Peat legs,
          sun kissed and long.
          Strong arms to the hay belong.
          Rain face and island love life-long.

          Fairy Whisper

          I awoke in the shadow of Castle Ewan on a postcard sunny day.
          Refusing to move,
          I looked to the heavens and wondered if I was dead or alive.

          The Sheader air tingling, a foxglove fragrance hung above my head.
          A fairy whisper, imperceptible in volume, tells me I'm in heaven on earth.

          Summer Moment

          A summer still evening on the road above Stonegate it doesn't get much better than this.
          Foxglove fragrance with a hint of salt hangs in the air and all around is purple heather bliss.

          There is a breeze tonight whispering up from the shore just strong enough to keep midges at bay.
          Crofters finish their strupag and whistle their collie as the continue their work in the hay.

          Across the Minch the high hills of Harris kiss the evening blue sky on its cheek.
          The Hebrides is sailing past the Skudiburg stack all white black and red and sleek.

          Summer peat burns in an Aga far off down the road wisps of smoke coming from Totescore.
          If I had the power within my hands I'd freeze frame this moment and keep it close to my heart forever more.

          Summer Park

          Sitting on my sisters roller skate speeding down the big hill in Springburn Park. The boys from Galloway Street on a long summers evening are fannying about and having a lark.

          On the putting green with a piece of iron hitting the ball as hard as we could. Climbing trees behind the rockery looking for birds nests and eggs a memory moment from my childhood.

          Hiding from the Parkies at every turn getting caught an occupational hazard. Hiding from the big guys who wanted our ball if the caught we were going to get battered.

          Short skirted lassies playing tennis a game we thought was only for the posh.
          Come in number 35 your numbers up on the boating pond we wish we had more dosh.

          Swinging high and on the swings we tried to touch the sky with our feet.
          Jumping off mid swing and rolling on the grass made our park visit complete.

          We walked in a gang down towards Viewpoint Road the sun sinking slow in the west.
          Summer Springburn memories of a boyhood long passed and a time when everything was the best.

          Winter Mornings

          On a frigid winters morning we crossed Springburn Road to the dump.
          Frozen mud and icy ponds as we scurried to school with eyes watering and red noses running.

          Up and down the foot worn path avoiding oncoming Colston schoolers who sometimes skelped our frozen faces.

          From 9 till 4 we were prisoners of St Aloyious and what a cruel prison officer he was.
          Studying maths and the times table torture a leather strap on a misbehaving hand.

          Four o'clock freedom announced by the bell and we made our escape dumpwards. The winter sun had unfrozen the mud and our brogues and weegens got manky.

          And still we had to dodge a Major Domo boot or two from those big Colston guys.

          Home at last and Land of the Giants and if we're lucky chips eggs and beans.

          A game of wan and aff on Galloway Street before my Mum shouts us in at nine. Without brushing our teeth and washing our face we fell into a fitful slumber.

          Only to repeat the day ad infinitum and sometimes the rain would soak us and occasionally the warm sun would shine.

          Love Unrequited

          I remember sitting on John's school bus day in day out thinking about you.
          Thinking if only you didn't have a boyfriend and if only I lived closer thats all that I would do.

          In the school corridors I would keep an eagle eye out hoping to glimpse your morning face.
          Sometimes if I was lucky we might meet for minute and chat those times I'd embrace.

          At lunchtime my hope would be a word or two out of boyfriend view just me and you. Strolling from class to class laughing with the boys and eyeing the girls but thinking of us two.

          Together on Wentworth Street or on the Square or at the swimming it was a full-time time occupation.
          Love unrequited in a maroon blazer and Wrangler cords only the sight of you offered alleviation.

          Time does what its supposed to do and many loves were won and lost and won and lost.
          And how lucky I was to be alive and breathing on those Saturdays time was the best.

          Hill Still —

          I stand on the hill and take a deep inhale and the taste of heather and dung tickles my nose.
          On a summers evening long ago I stood looking out towards the Minch wearing my summer clothes.

          It's late but darkness does not fall although the sun has set deep in the west.
          My heart and soul symbiotic and vital for life this is where my mind goes to rest.

          A late breeze gallops up from the shore and tousles my young dirty fair hair.
          And the sights and sounds are as real to me now in my Saudi bedroom as if my body was still there.

          Wandering Mind

          I know I write so much about the hill heather and sea.
          These things I document because they are important you see.

          Memories of freezing cold big hoose winter mornings and summer still midge bitten days are my treasure.
          And on lonely desert days when the sun is so hot it boils these memories are my only pleasure.

          From the top of Totescore to the shore at Cuil From beneath the folly where life and love changed under Uig summer light.
          From the bay at Score and the creepy quarry I ran passed on starless Linicro nights.

          From Kilbride all the way up to the old peat road and from the wee hoose to my school in Portree these halcyon days were important to me.

          Today with the love of my wife and my babies three.
          From the Dammam desert to Thailands rice fields my memories let me wander free.


            Parka wearing brave boys standing at the duck ponds edge on a frost bitter Springburn Saturday.
            The park green is faded and twinkling the pond water frozen black the ducks and swans secreted in a hideaway.

            A brave Adidas Kick covered foot precariously perches over the frozen waters edge.
            Stamping on the cold hard ice judging if its strong enough to take his weight he's dancing on the ledge.

            The island is but a short distance away less than 20 feet all icy new and inviting.
            The bravest boy not me makes his way across the once wet water all nervous and exciting.

            Under trainered foot the ice groans and grimaces but cracks are yet to appear. If the boy makes it to the crispy island without crashing into the chilly pond he deserves a beer.

            Inch by inch he's getting closer as the onlookers breath condenses and hangs in the air.
            Not a sound from any of us as the brave boy reaches safety arms outstretched he's nearly there.

            Behind us a shout from a green parkie van gives the three of us an effin fright.
            'Get aff the wahter ya wee bampot,' he roars and exits his van with teeth flashing white.

            Our pal nearly made to the castaway island on the ice without getting a bath.
            He slides and skates back to shore safety and we grab him and runaway from the parkie with laugh.

            'Ah nearly made it. Did ye see me grab the tree branch?'
            He beams all proud and puff chested and for a day he was a King amongst boys who braved the park ice and nearly got arrested.


            Whit wis the worst hing yer Ma would ask ye when ye gote back fae school?
            A wahnt ye tae go tae the shop and get us a 3 pun bag a totties a plain loaf and two pints a mulk.
            'From Jackie Wulsins?' you hoped an prayed.
            'Naw yer gaun tae Galbraith's'
            'Its no ma turn' ye say way tears runnin doon yer face.
            'Nae choice yer brother and sister urnae here and the sooner ye git goin the sooner ye wull be back'
            'But it's no fair am alwiys the wan tae go' fell on deaf ears and in tears ye threw the money doon the stairs.
            Greetin like a big wean ye dry yer eyes and walk oot tae Galloway Street.
            An everybody noes yer gaun fur messages an they aw laugh it yer feet.
            Galbraith's wis miles away and yer missin yer faverit TV show.
            But whits the use ae complainin coz yer Ma disnae wahnt tae know.

            Saturday Football —

            Running around a red ash pitch in the second city of the empire.
            Boys Brigade Saturday morning football the reason to win is our desire.

            Every single Saturday without fail I showed up Adidas Beckenbaur in hand.
            Black with three green stripes and when I wore them I felt unbeatable and grand.

            Running around that rough red surface like a mad man in the mood.
            The reason I got to wear the 202 top was I showed up not because I was good.

            Sun and rain hail and snow travelling in three cars around Glasgow we would go. To places far and near even outside the city limits eleven of us would show.

            Yellow topped with blue collar sometimes we got beat but a lot of times we won. And my skinny white poaching body occasionally scored and it was fun.

            Even with rain pishing it down and big guys knocked you on your ass.
            Legs frozen and bearing red ash rash we never wanted the moment to pass.

            All them years ago and all them pals but memories in the mists of time.
            Never will I forget your faces and our winning graces when we all felt football fine.

            Desert Thirst

            When the Saudi sun is at its zenith all big and yellow hot and high.
            When I'm dying for a cold drink and my mouth is sandpaper dry.

            I hanker for a special water that runs passed the Shepherds house in Linicro. My thirst quenching desire is from Mother Natures Tobar that's where I want to go.

            To scoop up a jug of the fresh gritty goodness to satiate my palates want. So when thirst overwhelmes me in the Dammam desert I go for a Tobar memory jaunt.

            What Lies Beneath

            Who knows what lies beneath the black hearted lochan high on the Totescore hill. Alone at night in the peaty darkness the surface tension taught and chilled.

            The rain sheets only add to its depth and form a bottomless boggy pit.
            Woe betide any foolish beast's who's thirst and curiosity gets the better of it.

            Danger is here and the ground swallowed me my legs disappeared up to my knees.
            In a summers panic my outstretched hands grabbed at grass as I did my best to flee.

            The lochan inviting patiently waits as summer turns to winter to spring.
            Icy and dark with nowhere else to go the water waits to see what the seasons will bring.

            All Saints

            It's another Monday morning and it's time to hit the road to All Saints.
            A bowl of Kellogg's cornflakes my fuel my Ma ignoring my plea for bus money like she always ignores my complaints.

            It's effin freezing outside as I cross Galloway Street and head up past the Balgrayhill flats.
            Up through the park wasn't a lark and I'm puffing my way passed the pond.

            A quarter to nine and I'm not feeling fine walking over Balornock Road towards the Wallacewell.
            Down side streets twisting and turned and I'm now not feeling so swell.

            I speed up by the College my goal is now coming into sight.
            One minute to nine we're all in a line listening to Harry O talking some shite.

            Through one way corridors I stagger through my day maths, chemistry and arithmetic.
            In the afternoon I've had enough of learning it's making me a lunatic.

            Thanks God it's four and the last bell goes now it's freedom for me at last.
            But there's another long walk home in reverse more torture for legs ya bass.

              Springburn Snow

              STV predicted snow, my heart filled with frozen delight.
              Poking a hand into the venetian blinds, staring at the Springburn sky with hope.

              High above the maisonettes, the clouds appeared course grained and pregnant. Street lights shone a misty yellow, their light bouncing off an indigo purple sky, hazy with expectation.

              At first a flurry of flakes, white and opaque, dusting Springburn Road.

              And then?
              A blizzard of frigid fun.

              In a fervour we prepared ourselves, big coats and socks for gloves.
              Stepping out into an urban winterland, Galloway Street was Christmas card white.

              The.ground glistened, sparkling and pristine, the bridge vanished under a blanket of ice.

              Snowballs and sliding, laughter and some tears,

              And still it snowed.

              The piercing lights of the Balgrayhill flats, cats eyes in the snowstorm.
              Strangely shaped snowmen popped up all over, chuckies for eyeballs, no mouths.

              And in corners there were drifts, deep and and clean, we dived in and came out snowboys.

              We played on.

              Fingers frozen under soaking socks, extremities turning a shade of cerulean blue.

              When at last the body could suffer no more, we surrendered to home.
              Three glowing bars of orangey-red, it took an hour to thaw in front of the living room fire.

              And when snuggled under scratchy blankets, roasting our feet on a hot water bottle.
              We dreamt of the laugh we would have at school the next day, the smell of hot rubber in our noses.

              The Toon

              Friday pocket money in hand, I planned a Saturday toon trip.
              A morning spent in pyjamas gawping at the Banana Splits, wishing I was on Danger Island.

              Sitting on the wall beside the Spring Inn, I fantasise about the treasure I would buy.
              Across Springburn Road the plots sat under a Glasgow grey sky, frozen green fingers, potting and weeding all day.

              My 45 arrived, with joy I scaled the stairs to the top deck, seated at the front, hands on an invisible wheel,
              I took off down Springburn Road. Saturday shoppers crowded the pavements, Woolies pick'n'mix passed by.

              A sale in Sellyns, announced with a hand forged, red ink sign, army shirts on offer at 4.99.

              Onward and townward, I steered the diesel smoke spluttering behemoth,
              Sighthill's high flats stood to attention, all windows and white lace curtains.

              Renfield Street at last, jumping off I'm swallowed whole by shoppers.
              Checking the posters outside the Regent, Sinbad and the Golden Fleece stared back.

              The Odeon was an eye magnet and I wished I was rich, not pocket money poor. My feet and eyes, excited as I walk by knockback corner, lonely lovers standing in anticipation.

              Along the Argyll, I go with the flow, Tam Shepherds my first post of call,
              I'm the King on Queen Street, into the wee black shop I go.
              Stink bombs-check. Itching powder-check. Trick Wrigleys Double Mint-check.

              Most of my money has gone, window shopping now all I can afford.
              The awesome expanse of Lewis's, welcomed me with warmth, the toy department kept me hours,

              I left empty handed.

              Now I toddle to Trongate,
              In Dee's window I eye with desire.
              Standing at the Saltmarket in a quandary, the home bakery begging me to enter.

              My choice, a gingerbread slice with snow white icing and a Empire biscuit, or my bus fare home.
              No choice, it's the cakes, and I stuff my face full.

              At the 37 bus stop I wait, hiding behind big woman with even bigger shopping bags. Automatic doors whoosh open, the crowd surges, I slip in behind.

              An old woman tuts her tongue, whilst shaking her head at me.
              Smiling, I dive upstairs,

              Balgrayhill bound now, watching out for Hector the Inspector.

              The Shows

              A melange of coloured lights flashed into the night sky.
              Top twenty tunes, a clarion call, thundered from tinny speakers.
              Gangs of guys and girls, descended upon the dump.

              The shows were in town.

              Friday night fun for the young, and the young at heart.
              The atmosphere reeked of candy floss, Brut 45 and fear.

              Gyrating waltzers, spun into a screaming oblivion.
              Rib tickler turns, vomit inducing laughter, and sore shins.

              Big wheel revolutions cradled lovers, chair-o-planes centrifuged bodies.
              Gravity defying walls, sticky with limbs.

              Most people smiling, some crying. Illuminated arcades, house coin hungry machines, one armed, pulled and pushed. Penny shuffles, goldfish and blunt darts, rock hard coconut rewards.

              Head-on collisions, no broken bones, dodgem cars sparkle.
              Dive dive dive, bombers without bombs. And when all the lights went out, we waited, and did it all again the next day.

              The Park

              The summer evening sun bestowed its warmth across Springburn, yellow and heavy, moving westward.

              Maisonette mother's propped their pillows on verandas, a postprandial topping up of their tan.

              We made our way to the park, the allure of the swings and pond, drew us like moths to light.

              The manicured grass, fleshy and green, hoaching with bodies.
              Taps aff weather for all but the ladies, sunburn soothed by the city breeze.

              Street weans surrounded by nature, the scent of flowers and Kensitas Club. Perspiring from the hill climb, we join the line for a paddle boat.

              The oval pond was alive with action, the water shallow and murky. For half an hour we raced and chased, laughed and screamed bloody murder, street pirates all.

              Soon our time was up, our number called, reluctant sailors made for shore.
              Sand shoed feet on solid ground, now it's swing time.

              Pendulum's of arms and legs, rocking back and forward with all our might. Appropriately high, we launched ourselves, landing on the baldy soft ground.

              Fun done, it was time for home, on cue my Mum hung outside our bedroom window, shouting me in for bed.

              Christmas as a kid

              Christmas Eve and going to bed early is easy, but sleep is the last thing on our mind. Eye's can't shut and our legs are restless, our thoughts are all the toy kind.

              Waiting for the living room light to go out, a signal my folks have gone to bed.
              We give it five more minutes, for them to sleep, then it's to the living room we head.

              But sleep arrives and into the land of nod, white and red are the colours our dreams. When all at once we wake wondering how many hours have passed and our smiles begins to beam.

              Out of bed in a flash as we run up the stairs living room bound.
              No fear of the dark, not feeling the cold, we open the door and step into the Yuletide glow.

              Christmas tree blinks a welcome, with cotton wool feet for snow.
              Sleep scrubbed from our eyes we fantasize about what's wrapped up in the boxes below.

              I jump on the prize that's in the biggest box and rip the paper off like a fiend.
              In a toy fervour, surrounded by play things, so much fun with no folks to intervene.

              At last the mad toy rush is over,  and we slowly come down from our toy high.
              At five AM our energy sapped we put our heads down to the sound of a toy lullaby.

              Our folks gently wake us and turn on the TV, Christmas Carol's the only sound.
              Every wish come true, Action Man by my side,

              We grab our coats and go out to Galloway Street.
              Someone's singing White Christmas, on the ground there is no hint of snow.

              To one and all we post a Christmas plea, and wish you and yours all the best.
              Cheer's to a Happy New Year, were we hope your health and family are all blessed.

              Kay Street Baths

              Trunks rolled in threadbare towels, coins jangle in shallow pockets.
              Excited and chatty, walking the length of Galloway Street.

              On the left, a football game is full of shouting and kicking.
              A bladder bounces on the cinnabar red ash pitch.

              In fear of a chase, we quicken our step, smiling with worry.
              Bounding down Balgrayhill, Kay Street swimmin soon.

              The silver grey of the turnstile, no barrier for us boys.
              Through the double doors the temperature shifts, a fine chlorinated mist comforts.

              Peely wally people, splash about in a pool of caribbean green coloured water. Cubicle changed, we hit the showers, a running dive into the deep end.

              The water cooling, and eye stinging, for a happy hour we become mermen.
              Our fun spoiled by a shrieking whistle, a domino of clattering wooden doors.

              Rubbed dry and starving, a Santi's fritter treat awaits.
              Towels on heads, trunks over towels, two Springburn sheikh's walk hame.

              High Street

              Glasgow grey sat above me, smirring relentlessly.
              The High Street tarmac, black as an unsaved soul.
              Either side of the slick street, cold stone buildings lean in, charcoal grey and menacing.
              Dirt streaked windows blank and depressed looking.

              The Tollbooth steeple wear a scarf of pink grey cloud, wrapped around it's cheery blue face.
              Squeezed eyes could make out it was 5 o'clock.
              My eyes searched, hoping to see a No 37 bus, crawl up from the Clyde.

              All around me miserable looking woman drag their miserable looking weans.
              Wee wet hands being pulled by a shoulder dislocating force.
              Wee wet faces, and bodies look like they're water skiing across the pavement.

              A line of folk snakes under the bus shelter roof, squashed together and shivering. Penniless, I join the queue, hoping to skip the bus to Balgrayhill.

              Smiley Smile —

              Time flies fast when you're having a ball that's how the old saying goes.
              For us, young and old working Nurses here is what I'd like to propose.

              How about letting a day go by with not one negative word passing our ruby red lips. That is a goal we can easily achieve so we can improve our workplace friendships.

              Let's try and smile and fight the frown, even when we are annoyed at each other. It's ok to disagree respectfully, we are after all workplace sisters and brother.

              Can we lose language that contains 'no' and 'I won't',  can we change it to yes and let's give it a try.
              I'm not saying we have to feign friendships or be best buds,  but making an effort assists to detoxify.

              Those white-coated boffins have reported it takes more muscle effort to frown than to smile.
              And even a laugh made when you least want has the magic to cheer up and beguile.

              Some people might say I'm a dreamer just copying Lennon's words for peer admiration.
              Imagine a workday smiley and stress-free, we can accomplish with love and determination.

              It's time

              A stitch in time saves nine they say but how many stitches will it take to save mine?
              And by mine I mean me and my life led less ordinary over time destined to relive alone again.

              If not me then who? 
              If not now then when? 
              And what will happen if my first stitch is the last?

              How fast or slow time goes is not within my grasp or control, time it just flows and unfolds.
              Whether young or old that tick tock ticking clock tells me it's nine but how much time have I really saved?

              Am I brave to question that time worn saying but I'm not playing when I say that I want it done.

              For a life without fun is not worth living and stitches I'm given will save time but will it belong to me?

              Sand grains fine slip through fingers mine, and what good will come from waiting I wonder?
              As I continue to slumber through my life to what number and will it begin or end with nine?

              So sew is what I do as I live life without you in the hope that all stitches saved come with a guarantee.

              I stitch, one, two, three, and I stitch for you,  me and mine, and I sew for that time saved nine.

              (Less) Hope —

              A stone heart borrowed,
              A fake smile blue.
              Hate filled words old, love found new.

              Hope at sea, dashed on a craggy shore. Desire snuffed out like a candle flame, dark and lost forever more.

              Cruel intentions neutralised by a newborn baby's eyes, a glimmer of what could be if man would give in and try.

              Sun soaked beach days and laughter filled air, hands helping, soul food for eating a land where we offer to care.

              Galloway Street

              In my mind I'm traveling back to Galloway Street, where I plan to spend the day. Kick the can, two man hunt,  chap the door and runaway,  on that street I used play.

              1960's concrete stands across from 1950's brick, separated by a river of Tarmac.
              Green grass patched with mud and stone, graffiti walls, and rusted bins lying full at the back.

              This strip of street was home to me and my high waistband, flair trouser wearing pals. And in summer’s sun and winter frost, till nine we played as my folks watched The High Chaparral.

              When dark clouds above Springburn let loose their cold water surprise.
              In the maisonettes long rubber black corridors is where you found us guys.

              As it poured down outside we remained bone dry playing headers with a football. And if the noise we made became too much the neighbor’s wrath we would befall.

              In better weather we would be up on the grass playing may I cross your golden river. And if our colours matched our pal’s choice we bypassed the two legged alligator.

              From the opening outside my door, along to the bridge was our borderline.
              Should we wander too far from this land we'd get chased back most of the time.

              From our A deck we climbed the cement steps with parachuted Action Man in our hand.
              From the B deck balcony we would throw them of and prayed for an open chute land.

              We sang songs from Slade and The Sweet fresh from a Top of the Pops show.
              The Double Decker's theme song we sang with aplomb from the B deck to those down below.

              We 70's kids were all football mad and it was either Rangers or Celtic that got our support.
              On the road in-between cars we would split in two the ball for feet was our chosen sport.

              With the big guys we would play wan and aff and hope luck would help with a goal. With shins kicked and bloody, the big boys best us and tears were hard to control.

              Biking to the bridge and back we would take turns racing each other.
              Those big guys were fast, squeezing their back brake a fancy skid they did with no bother.

              Years we spent on that dirty street, playing our games without a care or worry.
              And at night from our window, my Mum would shout us in and God forbid if we did not hurry.

              The grey road and our old house still remain standing till this very day.
              Our building has changed its coat and hat and our street is now called Lenzie Way.


              Who is going to save us from ourselves?

              Who is going to tell us why we went wrong?

              Who is going to show us how we can mend?

              Who will rescue us before it ends?

              Fred Perry. Love Not Hate.

              I love Fred Perry polo shirts, always have, always will.
              They are expensive, this I know, but I buy them still.

              My first was ivory white, purchased in the heatwave of  76, twin tipped with a navy hue.
              My M12 worn with pride, and collect them I still do.

              Maroon, like my school blazer, collar tipped with sky blue.
              Canary yellow, tipped with Prince purple, what's a guy going to do?

              Hunter green, tipped with yellow gold. Chocolate brown, tipped in white.
              The style never gets old.

              So here's to the polo shirts, that never go out of date.
              Buy one in your favourite colour, and wear with love not hate.

              Cuil Love

              Kissing lips
              and hand held hands, 
              long grass love
              on the shore at Cuil.
              Heart to heart
              and soul to soul,  
              first love
              devours all in its path.
              A solitary seal pops his head up
              from blue brine of the bay.
              Eager to see
              what all the fuss is about,  
              with this thing called love.

              Hockey Girl

              I first set my eyes on you,  
              playing hockey in green shorts,  
              all sporty and strong.

              Mesmerized by your smile and body,  
              I thought about you all day long.

              Confident with a skinny smile
              I introduced myself when I was sixteen.
              You were a year above me with a boyfriend, but I wanted to be with you Christine.

              Fairy Love —

              Fairy Glen is where I took her
              for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

              My heart was racing
              my palms sweating
              but I was on a funny roll.

              Her smiling face
              worthy of a Louvre portrait
              its now or never I thought.

              So I grabbed her hand
              to steady a stumble
              that moment I've never forgot

              Skye Aphrodite

              All week I wanted to kiss her
              up to my elbows
              scrubbing pots and pans.

              She looked a picture
              in her hotel uniform
              for lip action I needed a plan.

              A Friday night pub visit
              gave me Dutch courage aplenty.
              I made my move
              on our way back home
              and finally kissed
              my Skye Aphrodite.

                Love Hotel

                Love was in the hotel air
                I could not stop
                thinking about her.

                On duty we stole more than a kiss
                as we served the evening meal.

                My heart skipped a beat
                every morning when I saw her.

                Over the porridge pot
                I declared myself
                and received a kiss
                as a reward.

                In the shadow of the folly

                What dreams came true that night
                in the shadow of the folly?

                The summer wind
                whispered love words
                bay waves kissed Cuil shore.

                On the grass,
                wrapped in each others lust
                we fumbled.

                Arc light yellow
                curves the pier road
                and reflected in our eyes.

                Starry Night

                What a glorious star-spangled sky
                Linicro is cloudless and alive this night.

                A waxing moon still shares it's highland silver light.
                And I'm doing what Thin Lizzy told me to.

                The Minch ripples with life and colour
                the Stornoway lighthouse spotlights my moves.

                Moonlight over Linicro

                Moonlight serenaded the empty Linicro road
                happily twinkling in the frost light.

                Silver hues blanketed the township
                no torches needed tonight.

                The moon sat low across the Minch
                its spotlight caught a wee fishing boat, shimmering black and bright.

                Rha Love

                Deep in a gorge on the river Rha
                high above Uig on sun loved day.

                Two lovers embrace below a freezing waterfall
                their love keeps them warm.

                Half naked
                hidden from view
                they make this place a temporary Eden.
                Like the river
                love flows.

                Uig Evening

                A light breeze ruffles the feathers of fat gulls
                loitering at the end of the pier.

                Summer night light crowns Uig
                with a royal blue sky
                streaked with baby pink.

                The effulgence of Idrigal's croft house lights
                a daisy chain of illumination.

                The bay
                Vantablack and motionless.

                Bats swoop and dive on the Conon bridge controlled kamikaze
                scaring tourists.
                From the Ferry Inn
                the sound of a nudging puggie
                cracks the silence.


                He sees what others don't see
                in the bathroom mirror reflection.
                Behind his eyes lies the truth
                an incapacity to feel he's loved.

                The sad truth he's always known it
                unable to open his heart.
                A feeling of isolation encompasses
                a pain sharper than a butchers blade.

                What made this man his reflection asks
                and how did he end up this way?
                From a boy to a man to the grave
                God's love his only salvation.

                But he can give love
                and this he does
                from dawn to dusk
                to friend and family.

                And he knows he's loved
                always has been.
                Mirrored eyes of children
                their love loud
                it's almost deafening.

                The mirror tells the truth
                and behind his eyes can't lie.
                Feeling love a gift has been robbed
                Loveless he starts to cry.

                Summer on my street

                Summer on the street

                The street where he lived
                was alive with weans
                under a summer sun they played.

                Galloway a sea of bodies
                kick the can
                and bikes.
                Safe and sweaty on their summer holidays.

                A familiar sound from Viewpoint
                crept through drying area windows.
                The song of the black and white ice-cream van
                beautiful music to every kids ears.

                Collecting empty gingies
                and copper coloured coins
                impatiently waiting
                for the treat on wheels to appear.

                From under the bridge
                the jingle echo's
                sweet cold ice-cream cones
                we'd could almost taste.

                And we queued behind the big guys
                sugar junkies waiting for a fix.

                A bottle of Barr's American Cream Soda
                for my Da
                a walnut whip for my Ma
                a cone for us.

                Devouring the white treat
                with haste
                painful pleasure as brains froze
                and behind eyes
                a stabbing pain
                but we ate and ate again.

                Long days that never ended
                long nights that never got dark.

                And we played
                and played till we could play no more
                called hame by our Ma from the window.

                On the edge of sleep
                travelling to the land of nod
                we thought about the next day.

                Singing Summer Love Sensation
                every day was for play and more play.

                Pocket Money

                What did your pocket money buy you?
                I know how I spent mine.
                25 pence was a fortune rising to 50 over time.

                Anticipating payment on a Friday night Sweaty palms held out coins grasped tight.
                Some swedgers munched in front of the telly
                Crunchie and Revels as the Persuaders played.
                And if we didn't scoff them all we'd chew on a refresher during Don't Watch Alone unafraid.

                Come Saturday morning it was a walk to Billy's to buy my comic of choice No Beano or Dandy or Whizzer and Chips only Marvels Spiderman for this boy.

                If you were to look for me in the afternoon Camerons toyshop is where I would be Checking out the latest Airfix model and wishing I had more than 50p.

                As treat we'd take a trip to the toon on the top deck of a 45 bus.
                In the front row of The Regent on seats of red with popcorn is where you'd find us. And when all your money went down the drain.
                You waited for Friday night to come round again.

                Star Shards

                The only living boy in Linicro,  
                stands under a star struck blue black sky.

                Night clouds clear to reveal the universe in all its shiny glory.

                He is stardust in motion, 
                breathe frozen in the highland air.

                A million, million star shards rain down,
                and the township glitters.

                Hotel Love —

                a day of love, 
                making hotel beds.

                Serving guests their evening meal,
                and stealing a kiss.

                Holding hands across the serving hatch, love indeed was all around.

                And in the Uig evening,
                we clung to each other,
                and all was well on the island.

                Love Island

                Moist tongues with a hint of Pernod
                I traced her shape and form.

                Two bodies fused
                with a Commodores soundtrack.

                Words spoken softly
                naive and true.

                Love expressed
                given and recieved.
                I'd like to fly away from here.

                  Love Unconditional

                  Isis my darling daughter
                  is the apple of my eye.

                  Without the love
                  and naughtiness of my boy Isaac
                  how would I get by?

                  Noah my baby
                  a surprise gift from God
                  bestowed on his Mum and me.

                  Unconditional love has a number
                  and that number is three.

                  Dusk in Linicro

                  The township is wrapped in summer twilight
                  with air densely scented from newly cut hay.

                  Cofters and their wives settle down for the night.
                  The fields can wait for the next day.

                  The silence is sonorous
                  you can hear yourself think.

                  For the work weary
                  sleep is tough to resist.

                  The sky's harvest gold colour fades
                  giving way to air force blue.

                  The sun sinks beyond the Uists
                  for lovers the gloaming offers seclusion away from shifting curtains and eyes.

                  For the rest of us
                  tucked up and drifting
                  whilst the Corncrake recites its lullaby.

                  Edinburgh 84

                  In the shadow of Edinburgh's Castle the Glasgow bus delivered me in 1984.

                  From the concrete cold of St Andrew's Square walking down towards my Leith Walk door.

                  A love affair with the city began underneath rain clouds
                  and a wind blowing up from the Forth.

                  For the next fourteen years
                  my life and my love
                  would have its ups and downs
                  in the Athens of the north.



                  Favourite smells from the mists of time
                  I've got mine I bet you've got yours.

                  So here's the list my olfactory nerve has saved
                  a pleasant minute these aromas assure.

                  The smell of the old Subway, man
                  that was a braw wee treat.
                  The butchers shop with hanging carcases and sawdust under feet.

                  My Mums Estee Lauder perfume
                  remains here with me still.
                  The public bar of the Spring Inn
                  beer and ashes
                  the sip of a Sweetheart Stout thrill.

                  Candy floss and toffee apple
                  permeates the night air.
                  Brut 44 and Charlie at shows on the dump
                  I wish that I was there.

                  Fresh cut grass and motor oil
                  takes me to Springburn Park.
                  A chlorine clean floor is Kay Street baths
                  and walking home in the dark.

                  My old man's Hai Karate overpowering
                  but ever so sickly sweet.
                  The smell in the Regents foyer
                  during a Saturday afternoon pictures treat.

                  Tar pools melting on a summer street
                  all sticky and impossible to clean.
                  The rancid smell of a lucky middgie bin full of treasure treats supreme.

                  Bleached hospital corridors
                  and I'm back getting stitched in Stobhill.
                  The smell of frying batter
                  gives my nostrils a Santis fritter thrill.

                  Celebration rockets blasting high overheads that residue of gun powder
                  bonfires and bangers then bed.

                  The list is endless like the school summer holidays when we were young single and free.

                  So get typing with your favourite smells
                  for all of us to see.


                  I'm waiting

                  WhatsApp 00966556214800

                  Feb 84 first day

                  On a frigid February morning
                  at the bus stop
                  I stood fidgeting.

                  A chill rolled up the Walk
                  and I prayed for a Number 16
                  sitting upstairs
                  toasty hot and smokey
                  annoying adverts blaring in my ear.

                  At the West End I froze again
                  until I was saved by a No 19
                  to Crewe Road
                  and my first day at
                  North Lothian College of Nursing.

                  Nervous as hell
                  I made for the red bricked building
                  home to students and classrooms
                  a strange bunch of bodies
                  from Edinburgh and beyond
                  stood eyeing each other up.

                  The heat in the home oppressive
                  sweat formed under arms
                  and beads on foreheads
                  as we sat at our desks
                  pen clutched in perspiring hands.

                  A class full of lassies
                  with me and two other guys.

                  Laughing and crying and sitting exams
                  only three years to go.

                    Meadows Snow

                    Night shift crawls to an end
                    from 6 till 7 a killer
                    sleeping patients snore
                    radiators red hot to the touch.

                    From the balcony door I looked outside
                    late February snow iced the city
                    Arthur's seat sugar white.

                    Laurieston Place slush grey and gritty
                    Middle Meadow walk glacial
                    slip sliding away.

                    Blinding sun burns tired eyes
                    Meadows green
                    now optic white and granular.

                    Ear lobes icicles
                    and watery nose
                    crunchy under foot.

                    The Golf a winter wonderland
                    closed and lonely
                    Bruntfield smiles
                    metal keys stuck in my door
                    I hear the call of my bed.

                    Drooping duvet eyes
                    watch the Big Breakfast.


                    From the top landing
                    I wrestled with my Raliegh 10 speed
                    knackered before my journey began
                    an inauspicious beginning
                    to my first day
                    on my first ward.

                    The razer blade bike seat
                    built for uncomfort
                    Edinburgh's roads
                    a cruel and unusual punishment
                    crossing Leith Walk
                    I zoomed down Pilrig Street
                    like the proverbial bat
                    sweat soaked on the Ferry Road.

                    Passing the Northern
                    Crewe toll greets my red faced
                    downhill to my destination.

                    Bike locked and dentist jacket on
                    I made my way to D - Block
                    bricking it.

                    Sister Annis stood at her D1 office store
                    calling me Mr Moore
                    I turned to look for my Dad
                    looking me up and down
                    she assigned me with Staff Nurse

                    The ward was lined with beds and patients
                    atop starched sheets and counterpanes
                    each bed the exact distance from its neighbour
                    millimetre perfect.

                    I'm given the tour
                    and introduced the sluice room
                    soon to be my closest pal
                    bedpan frenzy began.

                    Vital signs and hospital corners
                    the order of the day
                    more bedpans
                    patients fed and washed
                    and more bedpans.

                    Time for a nightime drink.
                    Ovaltine and Camp coffee
                    Krusha for some
                    Sweetheart Stout for others.

                    My first late shift came to an end
                    before leaving
                    Sister instructed me not to wear slip-on shoes
                    I think she smiled
                    tired but happy I boarded my bike
                    dodging nightime traffic.

                    Leith Walk Love

                    Love on Leith Walk, man.
                    the distance from Pilrig
                    to London Road
                    measured in heart metres.

                    Our first pub drink with Joseph Pearce
                    an auld man's pub in 84.

                    Cozy cotton wool nights
                    spent in your attic room
                    love nest love.

                    On Fridays we sat
                    steaming in the Stage Door
                    a pint of Special
                    and a Bacardi and coke.

                    Stumbling the short distance
                    hands held tight and true
                    puffing up the stairs
                    and spending the night with you.

                    Golden Lion afternoons
                    and Marinello nights
                    in love
                    In the Volunteer Arms
                    pool cues and kisses.

                    All good things end
                    don't they?

                    Ours did.
                    no more Leith Walk love.

                    999 Disco

                    Dressed to impress
                    I took on the Edinburgh night
                    shower fresh
                    and rolled Denim underarm.

                    The Baillie first
                    air expectant
                    pints of Special
                    and vodka nips.

                    Eyes all over
                    and rubber necking
                    lassies dolled up
                    and gorgeous.

                    On to the Antiquary
                    stumbling steps
                    and laughter loud
                    more pints and nips
                    things are going to get messy.

                    Cinderella's neon welcome
                    St Stephens gift
                    999 Emergency Services Disco
                    call the fire brigade.

                    Flashing lights
                    and flashing teeth
                    girls on the dance floor
                    holding out for a hero.

                    Dutch courage aplenty
                    dance moves made
                    sometimes a kiss
                    sometimes more
                    sometimes it's home alone

                    And as the music fades
                    I roll outside
                    dancing in the street
                    hangover bound
                    and desert dry
                    next month
                    I'll do it all again.

                    Snowing in Bruntsfield

                    The winter weather was here
                    Edinburgh froze and so did we.

                    Bruntfield Place resembled
                    a 1970s Christmas card
                    all that was missing was the glitter.

                    Gas fire heat warmed our toooties
                    overnight storage heaters coughed
                    our windows misted and grimey.

                    Breath foggy
                    and nose runny
                    Meadows snow
                    a shivering playground.

                    Corpy buses full of frigid folk
                    spluttered towards Colington
                    where did I leave my gloves?

                    And at night?
                    At night snowmen appeared
                    all weird and creepy
                    staring across the powder and ice.

                    Colles fractures
                    two for one
                    and a bruised bum.

                    Sliding down to Tollcross
                    Torvill and Dean
                    where are you?

                    Us poor folk
                    grabbed on to shop windows
                    and bus stop poles
                    talk about Baltic.

                    Lothian Road
                    a melange of colours
                    warm and inviting pubs.

                    Stamping our feet outside
                    the heat inside a respite
                    and what do we do?

                    Order cold pints of beer
                    that'll warm us up.

                      Air Mail Love

                      Love letters written
                      warm words for winter
                      songs of love and longing
                      mix tapes sent by air mail.

                      A photo or two
                      of you without me
                      eyes desire
                      and hot heart beats.

                      The other side of the world
                      summer love for you
                      and I trudged to work
                      across the Meadows
                      what else was I to do.

                      Night shifts were the worst
                      with thoughts of you
                      in my head
                      what were you doing
                      and who were you with
                      as patients slumbered in bed.

                      A year of shifts
                      worked at the Royal
                      alone in Bruntsfield Place
                      a year of impatiently waiting
                      until I saw your face.

                      Long distance love man
                      what a thing do
                      the wait was worth it though
                      to spend some time with you.



                      I'm searching
                      for the child I once was
                      living life without a worldly care
                      free to roam
                      the Linicro hills having fun
                      getting up to mischief everywhere.

                      No bills to pay
                      and no responsibility too
                      from Totescore to Uig I would go
                      singing chart songs
                      in the Skye rain
                      with my pals
                      hunting high and low.

                      That child has grown
                      and lives in a far flung place
                      with children of his own
                      this doesn't stop
                      his misty eye memories
                      about the island
                      he once called home.

                      Old Photograph

                      I'm in love with a girl
                      from an old photograph
                      from a time
                      when I was young single and free
                      her face so sweet
                      her soul so deep
                      her love touched the marrow of me.

                      Time marched on
                      but her faced stayed the same
                      and my feelings remained intact
                      I'm in love with a girl
                      from an old photograph
                      ands that incontrovertible fact.

                      My love is there with her image
                      beneath the layers of chemical colours
                      caught in a time warp
                      forever sealed with her
                      that love can never be stopped.

                      Today I feel love
                      for the girl in the old photograph
                      a love old and new and timeless
                      in love I might not be
                      her heart eternally special to me
                      with memories of her loving caress.

                      High Road

                      Tottenham High Road
                      the loneliest road
                      in the world
                      and walked by
                      the loneliest guy
                      in world
                      who didn't have
                      his perfect girl.

                      From Seven Sisters
                      to White Hart Lane
                      sitting in The Plough
                      drinking away his pain.

                      The loneliest walk
                      for the the
                      emptiest guy
                      day in and out
                      in sun and in
                      pouring rain.
                      heat hurt and
                      never to be
                      mended again.

                      Tottenham High Road
                      the only friend
                      for the loneliest
                      guy in the world
                      offering comfort
                      for pain
                      shelter from the rain
                      as he missed
                      his perfect girl.

                      Upper Street

                      Jas saved me
                      and loved me
                      a love I couldn't return
                      on Upper Street we walked
                      on City Road we talked
                      nights spent in
                      black and white.

                      After work we sweated
                      London air
                      and long nights
                      kisses in a
                      Moorfields elevator
                      Sunday roasts
                      and Guiness pints.

                      In a heart locker
                      I know you know
                      words I couldn't return
                      Upper Street walks
                      and City Road talks
                      not forgetting nights
                      spent in black and white

                      Balcony Love

                      I felt you
                      inside and out
                      on a hot day
                      naked on a balcony.

                      Two bodies
                      on a wicker chair
                      surrounded by blooms
                      our afternoon love making nest
                      muggy and ambrosial.

                      The sound of
                      Waterloo trains
                      points clicking
                      and passengers unaware.

                      Your skin my skin
                      and my eyes yours
                      bodies one and warm
                      a fleeting moment.

                      Your face
                      and your figure
                      indelible and devine
                      souls lost and found.

                      Time has
                      taken its toll
                      but it hasn't
                      taken that day.

                      It was real
                      it was us
                      thank you for
                      giving it to me.

                        Two out of three

                        Walking passed
                        the College of Art
                        an old song played
                        stereo and clear.

                        Feeling as grey
                        as the clouds above
                        Lauriston Place
                        can be lonely.

                        Meatloaf and his boys
                        serenaded me
                        and the song
                        almost brought
                        with it tears.

                        Work beckoned
                        the Royal waits for
                        no heartbroken man
                        fake smiles
                        for patients and staff.

                        And though
                        these words
                        didn't fall from your mouth
                        the song spoke of
                        you and me.

                        I want you
                        I need you
                        but there ain't no way
                        I'm ever gonna love you
                        now don't be sad
                        cause two out of three ain't bad.

                        (King of) Calton Hill

                        We lost her
                        and we did our best
                        but she was gone
                        some days are like that.

                        Leaving the hospital
                        I needed to
                        clear my head
                        blow the memories away
                        to decompress.

                        Calton Hill called me
                        like a siren
                        only I could hear
                        and I headed her call.

                        Spring fresh
                        and breezy
                        a parsimonious sun
                        fought with a Forth wind.

                        The wind was winning
                        keen and penetrating
                        it brought tears to my eyes
                        tears for her?

                        She's pain free now
                        and my gaze
                        gobbled the vista
                        King of Calton Hill
                        for a day.

                        Sitting on the grass
                        not quite emerald
                        time slowed
                        a hint of salt
                        cleared my lungs
                        and my head.

                        Some days are like that.

                        Ward 43 and me

                        High dependency
                        days and nights
                        patients near death
                        brought back to life
                        with the help
                        of a dialysis machine.

                        Early shift with a hangover
                        in-between the living
                        and the dead
                        watching Euro 96
                        sitting with the sick
                        on their bed.

                        Late shift with a hangover
                        dry as bone
                        and head thumping
                        resuscitating success
                        man, it was
                        really something.

                        Secret love
                        an open secret
                        Wendy J and me
                        laughing in East Fountainbridge
                        late nights and late mornings
                        the perfect place to be.

                        High dependency days and nights
                        years passing in the
                        blink of a sleepy eye
                        working hard
                        and partying harder
                        until 97 when I said goodbye.

                        Archway 2000

                        In a city of 7 million
                        there was only one
                        girl I didn't want to see
                        and I saw you.

                        Stumbling my way
                        to work at UCLH
                        Archway tube station
                        my destination.

                        Ahead I noticed
                        a cute girl with a guy
                        my step quickened
                        to checkout her backside.

                        And as we entered
                        the station
                        I realised the cute girl
                        was the girl of my dreams.

                        Nightmare, man.

                        I turned to hide
                        checking the tube map
                        like a tourist
                        you disappeared down
                        the escalator.

                        I waited and waited
                        hoping you'd
                        disappeared by train
                        you hadn't.

                        Nightmare, man.

                        Like a thief
                        in the night
                        I hid from you
                        on the platform.

                        We boarded the same train
                        different carriages
                        still I hid
                        you got off before me.

                        Passing close
                        I could almost touch
                        I wanted to
                        the last time I saw your
                        beautiful face.

                        Nightmare, man.

                        The Big Man

                        Gunfight in Galloway Street
                        not quite
                        Big Gerry was
                        dressed for the occasion though
                        all cowboy boots
                        and fancy shirts
                        a sight to behold.

                        On stage he played
                        a mean bass guitar
                        The Long Horns
                        and Carmel and Country Pride
                        pubs and clubs
                        and everything in-between.

                        The Big Man
                        could sing too
                        The Tennessee Waltz
                        and How Could I Say Goodbye
                        to a Girl Like You
                        could bring a tear
                        to a jaded eye.

                        I sang with him
                        one night in Maryhill
                        Stand By Me
                        and he stood by me
                        My Dad the Big Man.

                        Decades spent playing
                        and drinking
                        and working
                        a hangover never
                        stopped him from
                        getting on stage.

                        His cowboy boots
                        are long retired
                        so is the sweet sound
                        of his bass
                        forever in the hearts
                        of his Glasgow kin
                        my Dad Big Gerry.

                        Festival love (not a dream)

                        Thinking back
                        I question
                        if it happened
                        long years and grey hair
                        but my memory's clear
                        you came to me
                        a vision of 80s beauty.

                        Hair luxuriant
                        talk about blonde bombshell
                        you blew me away
                        and your eyes
                        blue eyes
                        inscrutable and intoxicating
                        what were you doing
                        in my room?
                        What were you doing with me?

                        Lips moist
                        and loquacious
                        all I wanted was to kiss
                        my lips tremulant
                        and thin
                        but kiss you I did.

                        Your skin porcelain smooth
                        and nowhere near
                        as white as mine
                        my hands addicted
                        to touching.

                        And what happened
                        to time?

                        Stop motion
                        and slo-mo
                        arms and legs
                        I didn't want
                        to release you.

                        And then you
                        were gone
                        dreamlike and
                        in a love bubble
                        I was high for days
                        cotton wool for blood
                        my poor heart pumped.

                        Princes Street Gardens

                        Princes Street Gardens
                        in the sun
                        a rare treat
                        swathes of peely wally guys
                        stare at peely wally gals
                        taps aff
                        my eyes bulged.

                        Luscious green
                        flowery and free
                        who needs factor 50
                        that's who.

                        The Castle sunbathed
                        atop a plinth
                        of Edinburgh rock
                        not minty but hard
                        the sun is noon high
                        genial and generous.

                        Ice cream cones
                        sticky sweet hands
                        occasional marshmallow clouds
                        dot a dreamy blue sky
                        lobster red faces abound.

                        Rows of trees
                        cheerfully shaggy
                        search for a breeze
                        psithurism is salubrious
                        mother nature's tunes.

                        A miasma of pollen
                        dope smoke
                        and designer colognes
                        I reek of Acqua Di Gio
                        the smells of a Scottish summer.

                        The afternoon
                        surrenders to evening
                        a golden halo coronation
                        bottles of beer
                        warm and foamy
                        an imperfect end
                        to a perfect day.

                          Science Festival

                          On balmy Edinburgh evening
                          me and the band's gear
                          shoogled in a black cab
                          to Potterow
                          a gig for the Science Festival
                          alumni organised
                          by the Provost
                          surely a mistake
                          but I don't know?

                          For a start
                          The Tex Fillet Five
                          were six
                          and I was they're
                          we sang country
                          and 60s pop
                          getting paid and
                          free drink
                          too hard too resist
                          and when we started
                          we weren't going to stop.

                          not right I thought
                          the audience
                          wore suits and
                          fancy dresses
                          but after guzzling
                          beer like water
                          we took to the stage
                          singing Heartaches by the Number
                          to the masses.

                          Looks of bewilderment
                          greeted us
                          as well as the occasional hand clap
                          scientists from across the globe
                          trying to work us out
                          Hang on Sloopy
                          and Stand By Me
                          made them get
                          up and shake it
                          all about.

                          Well into the night
                          booze flowed
                          faces glowed
                          I had them singing along to
                          Ruby (don't take your love to town)
                          they'd given us a chance
                          picture the scene
                          a drunken band
                          the Provost
                          and all the punters
                          wanted was to dance.

                          More drink for the band
                          and the audience too
                          I was steamboats
                          and manic
                          and at the end of the night
                          a request to sing Auld Lang Syne
                          sent me
                          into a panic.

                          Arm in arm
                          hand in hand
                          they all had a
                          helluva time
                          and I fell off the stage
                          in a drunken stumble
                          as we all sang
                          for Auld Lang Syne.

                            Gayfield Party

                            An afternoon
                            drink in the Stage Door
                            turned into
                            a drunken session
                            pints of Tennents Special
                            and vodka lime nips
                            became a tasty obsession.

                            In a fugue
                            of cigarette smoke
                            and salt and vinegar chips
                            we got invited to a
                            party in Gayfield Square
                            by a lassie with luscious
                            red lips.

                            How we got there
                            my memory isn't so clear
                            in a large flat with posh folk
                            we downed champagne
                            instead of beer.

                            I spent hours
                            chatting up the lassie
                            who's lips were ruby red
                            I didn't notice her boyfriend
                            it looked like he wanted me dead.

                            Time to leave
                            I made a not so quick exit
                            stocious and staggering
                            down the Walk
                            champagned out my head
                            I was barely able to talk.

                            On a late in male medical
                            cycling to the Eastern
                            I was sick as a dog
                            my eyes were aching badly
                            and my brain
                            was lost in a fog.

                            Looking whiter
                            than my tunic
                            bed pans giving
                            me the boak
                            that's the last time
                            I'm drinking champagne
                            with a bunch of
                            partying posh folk .

                            Autumn Meadows

                            The summer sun
                            had been supplanted
                            by autumn's ball
                            a far cooler customer.

                            The Meadows
                            carpeted by
                            crunchy leaves
                            morning mist
                            clung to the
                            muted but still
                            green grass.

                            The light cast
                            the city in a
                            different character
                            gone was the jovial
                            Festival face
                            superceded by
                            a weatherbeaten
                            seen it all
                            before face.

                            Park people
                            walked that
                            wee bit faster
                            days were shorter
                            and the long night

                            The mood of the Royal
                            was indolent but accepting
                            the heat was turned up too
                            and gradually
                            we acknowledged
                            the oncoming winter.

                            Dark dreary skies
                            our night canopy
                            custard yellow light's
                            our company
                            on the road home
                            at least it was dry.

                            Photo by


                              From a distance
                              I watched you
                              in school corridors
                              spending an inordinate
                              amount of time
                              thinking about
                              your face.

                              On the hockey pitch
                              short skirt
                              and strong legs
                              my eyes glued
                              to your every move
                              wishing for
                              your embrace.

                              And will never forget
                              the Friday night dance
                              when we held on
                              to each other
                              so tight
                              our lips and tongues
                              and hands
                              my love began
                              that night.

                              Years apart
                              didn't diminish
                              my thoughts
                              or feelings
                              my love stayed
                              strong and true
                              and one afternoon
                              in Portree we met
                              and that night
                              I spent with you.

                              From the dance
                              to the pier
                              to your room
                              we didn't let
                              each other go
                              words spoken
                              with eyes and limbs
                              bathing in your
                              love glow.

                              Hiraeth Skye


                              Sunny summer
                              and long
                              summer nights
                              azure sea
                              and powder blue sky
                              Linicro beneath

                              Foxglove purple
                              scent in the air
                              running down
                              the hill without
                              a care.

                              Treacle scones
                              and new potatoes
                              soaked in
                              creamy butter
                              a certain girl
                              from the year above
                              set my heart a flutter.

                              Uig dances
                              and the Bakur Bar
                              sneaking vodka
                              in the Ferry Inn
                              trying to score
                              in the Gathering Hall
                              most of the time
                              my luck wasn't in.

                              Getting thrown of
                              the school bus
                              more than
                              a number of times
                              with my pals
                              the comforting
                              smell of brine.

                              Lifting peat
                              and making hay
                              wishing summer
                              would never end
                              Argentina 78
                              no World Cup
                              for us my friend.

                              Uig Hotel
                              working hard
                              making beds
                              and cleaning rooms
                              drunken nights
                              and hungover mornings
                              the aroma of her perfume.

                              First love
                              all consuming
                              kissing and cuddling
                              in Cuil
                              tins of Special Vat Cider
                              playing pool.

                              Uig nights
                              the summer of love
                              intimately close
                              and caressing
                              life on Skye
                              Portree High
                              every Linicro day
                              a blessing.

                              Only Love Matters  —

                              Her face I will never forget
                              everybody's Granny
                              somebody's Mammy
                              Lily of the Valley
                              and quilted bathrobe
                              baffies too big
                              but they were
                              warm and comfy.

                              Her prognosis poor
                              her smile as big
                              as Circus Lane
                              Miss Jean Brodie
                              I called her
                              she laughed at that.

                              Powdered cheeks
                              lippy and hairspray
                              applied before
                              visiting time
                              her sons shattered
                              tears in the corridor
                              stoic in front of her.

                              And as her
                              life clock
                              wound down
                              she took to her bed
                              morphine and
                              hot sweet tea
                              I held her hand.

                              She asked
                              if I had a girflriend
                              she giggled
                              when I told her
                              more than one
                              and as
                              her breathing shallowed
                              she told me
                              only love matters
                              family and friends.

                              Surrounded by love
                              she slipped away
                              no pain
                              at the end
                              but love
                              love radiated
                              in that room
                              and I felt it
                              will never forget it.

                              Only love matters
                              family and friends
                              when love begins
                              it never ends.

                              Hiraeth Edinburgh

                              Fingers frozen
                              on Leith Walk
                              Bostons music shop
                              eyeing up
                              a Sinclair ZX81
                              drinking Special
                              in the Golden Lion
                              feeling special in
                              love on London Road.

                              Hot nights in the
                              Nurses home
                              if you know what I mean
                              The Western
                              The Victoria
                              The Northern
                              the Eastern
                              places where
                              I've been.

                              Bruntsfield and
                              Laurieston Place
                              two homes
                              from home
                              City Cafe
                              La Sorbonne
                              Sneaky Petes
                              The Pelican
                              and The Kings
                              bars I used to roam.

                              in the Meadows
                              the comforting
                              colours of Autumn
                              the memories
                              that they bring.

                              Love won and
                              love lost
                              and lots of kissing
                              Princes Street Gardens
                              The High Street
                              and Tollcross
                              all places that
                              I'm missing.

                              in the Royal
                              tired and
                              Nursing nights
                              having a laugh
                              getting up to mischief
                              that's what
                              lifes about.

                              Stars Over Duntulm

                              A Frost biting
                              breeze blows up
                              from the Minch
                              twinkling tarmac
                              leads the way.

                              Duntulm Castle
                              under starlight
                              rugged and bonnie
                              silver light reflects
                              on Score Bay.

                              The diamond dotted
                              sky above
                              and awesome
                              purple painted
                              and never-ending.

                              The silent
                              stone cliffs
                              keep secrets
                              echoes from
                              the past
                              ominous and

                              Ghosts of
                              people's memory
                              sing on the surf
                              waves of white
                              dash the shore.

                              And I'd be happy
                              to sit
                              and stare
                              at this scene
                              from now
                              and forever more.

                              Spring Gardens

                              Crisp hunter green grass
                              crunched with each step
                              a frigid Forth wind
                              blustered and bullied
                              Princes Street Gardens
                              was devioid of life
                              too cold for all
                              but the hardy.

                              A brutal early shift
                              had led me to
                              a hard as nails
                              wooden bench
                              where I sat
                              and let the breeze
                              spring clean my brain.

                              A cornflower blue sky
                              full of fluffy white clouds
                              some grey
                              and like me
                              I deep breathed
                              my frustrations
                              condensing before me
                              wisps of ire
                              faded away
                              and I accepted
                              the unfairness of it all.

                              Laser yellow Daffodils
                              flanked me
                              their scent a comfort
                              their swaying stems
                              it would all be OK
                              and I believed them.

                              A brave old dear
                              zipped passed
                              hauled by a Yorkie
                              the dog
                              not the chocolate
                              she brought a smile
                              to my face
                              I needed it

                              For an hour
                              I sat staring
                              at the Castle Rock
                              my one true friend
                              my solid support
                              until raindrops
                              fell on my noggin
                              a sure sign
                              to head home.

                              Like a sponge
                              I soaked up
                              the downpour
                              I didn't care
                              I felt better
                              the Gardens
                              once again
                              saved me.

                                Places I've Been

                                Places I've been
                                and faces I've seen
                                many young and old
                                the stories they told
                                the love they shared
                                in wards where we cared
                                their words we heard
                                we gave them comfort
                                through the night
                                telling them it would be alright
                                but sometimes it wasn't
                                and when their
                                last moment came
                                we would whisper their name
                                as they breathed their last
                                we held their hands till they passed
                                because nobody deserves to be alone
                                and we would walk home
                                go to sleep the sorrows we would keep
                                and wake up to do it all again
                                all the women and men
                                from Seafield to Crewe Road
                                at the Royal we showed
                                a smile and a tear
                                we fought battles against fear
                                some won many lost
                                ignoring the cost
                                in the war never-ending
                                for the faces I've seen
                                in the places I've been.

                                Ode to Edinburgh

                                I remember Edinburgh buses
                                with annoying adverts
                                blasting upstairs
                                I remember being young
                                free and relatively single
                                walking Princes Street
                                without a care.

                                I remember Mistys on the Mound
                                Joseph Pearce
                                and the Stage Door
                                I remember dancing
                                on London Road
                                like I'd never danced before.

                                I remember late nights
                                and early shifts
                                feeling ill and wanting
                                to puke
                                I remember patients
                                young and old
                                enough to write a book.

                                I remember downstairs
                                at Bentleys singing
                                Big Country's Chance
                                I remember being steaming
                                in Teviot Row
                                trying to get a
                                lassie to dance.

                                I remember the Western
                                the Northern
                                and the Eastern General too
                                I remember were I stood
                                the night I first kissed you.

                                I remember heartache
                                love break
                                and the pain of
                                love gone wrong
                                I remember the sweetness
                                of holding hands when a
                                new girl came along.

                                I remember long sunny
                                summer days
                                and even longer
                                summer nights
                                I remember
                                frozen feet
                                frozen ears
                                kissing under
                                Christmas lights.

                                I remember staggering
                                through the Grassmarket
                                as we sang
                                the Frankies song
                                all these things I remember
                                and that's an actual fact.


                                I don't forget easy
                                I don't kiss and tell
                                I remember
                                the King's Bar
                                and in
                                Burlington Berties
                                with Michelle.

                                In a corner
                                under neon
                                with the jukebox
                                playing loud
                                hand under table
                                thighs tanned
                                and soft
                                far from the
                                prying crowd.

                                Secrets I'm good
                                at keeping
                                kisses I like to
                                little lover
                                in the back seat
                                of your Sierra
                                what we did
                                was hard to believe.

                                At work it was
                                business as usual
                                until our shift
                                came to an end
                                from Warrender Park
                                to Newhaven
                                a love transcend.

                                I know I should
                                have said more
                                I thought actions
                                spoke louder
                                than words said
                                in the arms
                                of desire
                                the fire
                                I felt
                                was for you
                                and what we did.

                                Princes Street —

                                On hot desert days
                                like today
                                when the temperature
                                is already high
                                I'm thinking
                                about walking
                                on Princes Street
                                like I did
                                in times gone by.

                                To feel the
                                throng of the crowd
                                on the fume-filled
                                and imperturbable
                                a deep desire
                                a yearning
                                to make my life

                                The Gardens and
                                the Castle my friends
                                forever more
                                the people
                                the wind
                                even the rain
                                on the street
                                that I adore.

                                And when
                                the Festival comes
                                full of
                                beautiful people
                                and me
                                strolling along
                                Princes Street
                                is the only place
                                to be.

                                North British

                                it was love
                                at first sight
                                what a building
                                what a first night
                                staggering up
                                the Walk
                                and at the top
                                there you stood.

                                black stained
                                and immovable
                                North British
                                back then
                                not Balmoral
                                clock face smile
                                handsome and bright
                                an insouciant shrug
                                given to
                                gazing eyes
                                I stood glaiket.

                                looking different
                                light absorbing
                                and proud as F
                                and when they
                                sandblasted you
                                you looked
                                picture postcard perfect
                                gallus even.

                                East End rules
                                ya bass
                                still does
                                I was a guest once
                                a fancy party
                                tuxedo and bow tie
                                chasing a lassie
                                who out ran me
                                still it was fun
                                being posh
                                for a night.

                                And I miss you
                                your there
                                and I'm not
                                haar halo
                                and sunburnt
                                a year or two
                                and you'll be
                                needing another clean
                                got to look spiffy
                                for the tourists.

                                Big Guy

                                He was a big guy
                                young too
                                a miner
                                I think
                                but the drink
                                got him
                                like it does
                                some folk.

                                His liver
                                and kidneys
                                gave up the ghost
                                we dialysed him
                                the only way we knew
                                too little
                                too late
                                too bad.

                                A scene from
                                a B horror film
                                buckets of blood
                                real not fake
                                the more we
                                pushed in
                                the more
                                poured out.

                                We kept on
                                that's what we do
                                red tears
                                and red hands
                                truly terrible
                                for us and
                                his family.

                                my saviour
                                green not red
                                and windy
                                branches swayed
                                and saved
                                life goes on
                                and on
                                we go
                                another day
                                another patient.


                                  The one constant
                                  in my life
                                  you have been
                                  with me
                                  through thick and thin
                                  always there
                                  and under appreciated
                                  you're like one
                                  of the family
                                  my friend
                                  my kin.

                                  You watch over
                                  our city
                                  day and night
                                  a silent security guard
                                  hard as nails
                                  ready to fight.

                                  Majestic in
                                  the summer
                                  stone cold sober
                                  when winter comes
                                  high and mighty
                                  you sit
                                  firing your
                                  one o'clock gun.

                                  No matter
                                  how far or near
                                  your comforting
                                  presence is there
                                  north to south
                                  east and west
                                  we all know
                                  that you care.

                                  So come
                                  wind and snow
                                  the Castle remains
                                  resolute and true
                                  a friend in need
                                  a friend indeed
                                  a friend
                                  to me and you.

                                  Full Moon

                                  The one constant
                                  in my life
                                  you have been
                                  with me
                                  through thick and thin
                                  always there
                                  and under appreciated
                                  you're like one
                                  of the family
                                  my friend
                                  my kin.

                                  You watch over
                                  our city
                                  day and night
                                  a silent security guard
                                  hard as nails
                                  ready to fight.

                                  Majestic in
                                  the summer
                                  stone cold sober
                                  when winter comes
                                  high and mighty
                                  you sit
                                  firing your
                                  one o'clock gun.

                                  No matter
                                  how far or near
                                  your comforting
                                  presence is there
                                  north to south
                                  east and west
                                  we all know
                                  that you care.

                                  So come
                                  wind and snow
                                  the Castle remains
                                  resolute and true
                                  a friend in need
                                  a friend indeed
                                  a friend
                                  to me and you.

                                  Mirror Cracked

                                  The mirror reflects
                                  the real me
                                  and the mirror
                                  cannot tell lies
                                  a soul bared
                                  a heart stripped
                                  nothing behind the eyes.

                                  A carbon copy
                                  of a life led
                                  less ordinary
                                  a washed out
                                  that once
                                  resembled me.

                                  Empty space
                                  and interference
                                  is all
                                  that remains intact
                                  me without you
                                  you without me
                                  a ghost in
                                  the mirror cracked.

                                  Alternate Dimension

                                  Are we together
                                  in an alternate
                                  I like to think
                                  that we are.

                                  In love
                                  and in lust
                                  never separated
                                  living our life
                                  under the light
                                  of the stars.

                                  Even now
                                  I can't deny
                                  a connection
                                  through time
                                  and space
                                  love and regret.

                                  I'm content
                                  to live here without you
                                  your caress
                                  my heart
                                  will never forget.

                                  And who knows
                                  when we come
                                  around again.

                                  We may find
                                  each other
                                  and could end up
                                  as lovers or friends.

                                  It's important
                                  to me
                                  that you know
                                  the depth of
                                  my feelings
                                  no matter
                                  how far or
                                  how near.

                                  You are always
                                  with me
                                  in my heart
                                  and soul
                                  our connection
                                  can never disappear.

                                  Negociants —

                                  By late shift end
                                  I was ready
                                  to rock and roll
                                  a day of dialysis
                                  and low sodium meals
                                  finally concluded.

                                  Report given
                                  gratefully recieved
                                  uniform exchanged
                                  for glad rags
                                  our Tuesday
                                  at Negociants
                                  show starts at
                                  half past ten.

                                  From Laurieston to
                                  Lothian Street
                                  under a velvety sky
                                  streaked purple
                                  in under five minutes
                                  downstairs the band
                                  were ready
                                  to entertain
                                  Stella Artois
                                  my favourite lady.

                                  The bar was
                                  hoatching and
                                  oven hot
                                  beer flowed like wine
                                  and we sang
                                  and laughed
                                  and joked
                                  and drank
                                  first set sung.

                                  Band break
                                  for more alcohol
                                  and to eye up
                                  the lassies
                                  you never know
                                  might get lucky
                                  sweaty drunken sardines
                                  the midnight hour
                                  and I was more
                                  than merry
                                  second set.

                                  Halfway through
                                  singing Kiss
                                  I caught the eye
                                  of a beauty
                                  dancing and drinking
                                  Stella continued into
                                  the wee hours
                                  three encores
                                  it was almost
                                  three a.m.

                                  Charm engaged
                                  I made my move
                                  last orders
                                  and I didn't
                                  drink alone
                                  was I lucky
                                  did I score
                                  a gentleman
                                  might kiss
                                  but never tells.

                                  Jane from Aberdeen

                                  At a granite city party
                                  your hair and body
                                  caught my eye
                                  I couldnt stop myself
                                  and I was touched
                                  by your surprise.

                                  Lips apple red
                                  hips soft
                                  and white
                                  love hot days
                                  and passion
                                  filled nights.

                                  I loved hearing
                                  your laugh
                                  and your
                                  breathless sigh
                                  for the time
                                  we spent
                                  in each others arms
                                  I was the luckiest guy.

                                  Snow Walk

                                  Outside the
                                  Nurses home door
                                  crystalline snow
                                  greeted me
                                  Crewe Road
                                  had succumbed
                                  to the whiteout.

                                  No traffic flowed
                                  on the river
                                  of powder white
                                  the air around me
                                  fridge frozen
                                  and zesty.

                                  On Orchard Brae
                                  it's particularly parky
                                  I slip and slide
                                  snow dancing
                                  the thought of
                                  Bennett's beer
                                  a powerful motivator.

                                  the Dean Bridge
                                  I believe I can fly
                                  the black Waters of Leith
                                  flows forward
                                  part ice
                                  part water
                                  all frigorific.

                                  Fraser's clock
                                  wears a cool
                                  cartoon grin
                                  it laughs
                                  I'm late

                                  Lothian Roads light
                                  my guide
                                  lampost walking sticks
                                  sodium halo
                                  fog infused and
                                  rainbow refracts
                                  Fifty words for snow.

                                  Tollcross tells me
                                  I'm nearly there
                                  drawn by candent
                                  and coloured glass
                                  heat embraces me
                                  Bennett's saves
                                  and my reward a pint
                                  of seventy.

                                  High Fly

                                  In a dream
                                  I flew high above
                                  Arthur's Seat
                                  an eagle eye
                                  focused on the old
                                  Royal Infirmary.

                                  Far below
                                  the Salisbury Crags
                                  gouged air
                                  and I swooped
                                  and soared
                                  on thermals.

                                  Wings across
                                  the city
                                  steeples for people
                                  piercing clouds
                                  sky castles
                                  and blinding sunlight.

                                  I drifted towards Leith
                                  high above the Forth
                                  dive bombing
                                  the bridges
                                  sea salt
                                  and rust red.

                                  Pentland bound
                                  low to the ground
                                  on a cushion of air
                                  I swear
                                  hill high again

                                  In the distance
                                  a church bell tolls
                                  and I'm fading
                                  still flying
                                  gravity gripped
                                  I wake.

                                    OH HEY, FOR BEST VIEWING, YOU'LL NEED TO TURN YOUR PHONE