Jeeesus, I've missed National Poetry Day, how did I manage that? October 8th. National Poetry Day, three days late. So I'll make up for it with three instead of one.
First, one from an old friend from the Scotia poetry nights, Hughie Healy, sadly died of throat cancer some time ago, at the time I was going through cancer treatment of my own.
She brought her culture and mystique
To my city street
This Asian mother and child
The exotic colours of her shalmar-kameez
Highlighted brown skin and dark eyes
Her lips moved
In prayer perhaps
To a different god than mine
The little one spoke words
I failed to comprhend
In the universal language of mothers
I'm oot withoot any money
So shut your face
You're getting nae crisps!
And one from away back in my early years.
In learned books what do we gain,
argue Heidegger with Russell, Sartre, Berlin,
quote Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein,
know all the answers
to a world w never live in.
So, richer by far a labourer be
perhaps, never to read nor write
but with a glance, a smiling eye
name each tree, each bird in flight.
Who'll stand in awe at a burning sunrise,
enjoy the cool moisture of a summer shower,
wonder at life in a woodland paradise,
marvel at the changing colour in ever hour.
Glow at the warmth in a lover's embrace,
willingly give that gentle kiss,
lovingly touch a smiling face,
relish holding hands in silent bliss.
Experience magic through a child's sight,
know how to dry its tear,
when to lift it, hold it tight,
bringing comfort, chasing fear.
Desipient book worms may shake their head,
mock his untutored state, only see a fool,
his knowledge will stand him in greater stead,
he took his learning at amore erudite school.
Now one from a man I have admired for many a year, William McIlvanney.
Everyman: A Morality Play.
"Aye, zur," Everyman said, as the Lord of the Manor
raped his wife, sons and his daughters and threw him a tenner.
"Aye, zur," Everyman said, " that be bully for 'ee."
And he pulled up his smock as he bowed from the knee
With a delicate click of obedient clogs
And a tail-wagging movement he borrowed from the dogs.
"Aye, zur," Everyman said, that be bully for 'ee.
"Appen Maister be wantin ma bollocks for tea?"
With a father from the north and a mother from the south
He let every cliché find a home in his mouth
Being taught as a man he would never be fit,
He was skilled in the role of an identikit.
He learned his lines well until one fateful day,
Though his mouth still remembered the things he should say,
A slight twinge in one leg made him suddenly see;
"Get a grip, Human beings can't bow from the knee."
"Ach, fuck this for a play,"every man said,
Took the lord of the manner and stove in his head.
There I hope I have made amends for missing National Poetry Day.