Monday, 31 December 2018

Maintenance and Repair

Compression lines
fold and crease,
weariness comes of age
as sleep will, in the end,
inside these machines
where our ghosts
barely survive:
hardly a wisp of being,
a glisten of lubrication,
a mist of droplets
around the cogs.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

talk about anger

talk about anger

your anger
when I refuse it

my anger
with your face
mirrored in it


Clear sky and snow on the farthest hills
lose themselves as cloud and mist
trouble the summits.

Poetry24 Resumed

I had nineteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 since January 2018. Here's the last three of 2018 – do androids dream of… ?self-immolation and Winter Solstice.

Winter Solstice

self-immolation after Banksy's recent self-destructing piece - thoughts on the impermanence of art

do androids dream of… ? - intelligence, artificial and otherwise…

Thursday, 20 December 2018


At midnight’s
point of bleakness
cloud lifted, stripped away
the oppression of weather;
sky, then, revealed starlight;
as if nothing before had shone
through emptiness;
as if nothing before had ever
punctured that shroud of black,
lifeless space.


in the grey hours
showed as a doorway
through black dark,
marked time’s season
month upon month;
a flake of cloud faded
in sky-blue day
a pearl of sunlight
borrowed and thrown back,
gathered night’s gentle light.


The day’s one good eye,
looked down on
the wicked and the holy;
cast its light
on neutral ground,
illuminated a world.


Fit name
For the handfae dirt
Ye’re stannin on?

Fit name
For air or weather,
Yer ain face looking through ane
As ye breathe the ither in?

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Two Minutes

I don’t need silence
for memory to work
even when remembering
becomes that different thing

Sunday, 11 November 2018

End All

one hundred
years of war
to end all wars

names inscribed
the written record
the dying and the dead
on every side
ledgers of death

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Take This

Take this, my body – break it – 
and this, my blood – to drink – 
thin, like rain.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Lost Wax

DT as Flawed Statue

The emperor dresses his flesh;
the fat-cat god-king pimps
his chiselled dog-face to vulpine,
his brillo-hair, like steel-wool,
as tarnished as his iron will.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Poetry24 - Last for a While

I've had sixteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 since January this year. It's now in recess. Here's Tick Tock till, hopefully, the New Year :

Here are those from July to September

Tick Tock - one final call to avoid climate catastrophe….

When at last… my big mouth…

when at last you were able
to paint heaven
black and vast with clustered stars
like fingerprints
you drew a faint line in sea foam
across your horizons and your tides

Friday, 12 October 2018


in an arc of light
a segment
heaven meets the sea

sea washes
the feet of continents
and narrow human ground

and in the space
between heaven and earth
the emptiness of air

reflects blue above
and the blue of ocean
the colour of weather

while everything alive
circles in the curved
brushstroke of creation
© BH, 2018

Alison Dunlop posted her latest large-form watercolour between heaven and earth (on TH Saunders Waterford Series archival cotton paper, 101 X 153 cm) destined for the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour Open, in Edinburgh (in November 2018).

As ever, it captures the sea and island-scapes of the Minch and the Inner Sound between Skye and the mainland.

I had to make a short poem on it…See Alison's website for more… The RSW is here…

Monday, 24 September 2018

Poetry24 - Again

I've had fifteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 since January this year:

Here are those from July to September -

• But… • Face Mask Poet • Treble Chance • 
• 451 • follow the water • Blind Eye •

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Friday, 14 September 2018

The Poem Arriving

An arriving poem
comes like a swell
of tide.

Horizon no longer
joins sky and sea
but bleeds
to mist between.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Written Off

I am
writing down
pages of words,
words on pages, lists;
in this, my life-sentence,
fingers crab, hands repeat,
skin connects with instruments,
nerves transmit, one way
and another.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Roads Untraveled

You didn’t go;
there is no turning,
only a forest track
where trees bend in secret.

You turned your weary back,
accepted the curious defeat of steps retraced,
accepted having other destinations
where light throws deeper shadows.

Friday, 24 August 2018


I’ve said before that I don't care
About cultural (mis)appropriation;
Do I dare? Yes, I do dare
To appropriate without reservation.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Sensory Deprivation

I have one eye which weeps;
the other’s cold stare looks down.

I do not see, with
my dark-adapted eye,
my reflection in the mirror
nor the world as it is behind me
as if perpetual dusk has fallen
in this room, its light,
dimmed by failure,

Monday, 6 August 2018

Greetin in ma hert

The greetin in ma hert
Is lik a a toon’s hale watter;
An fit’s ‘is lither
Seipin throu it?

Sunday, 5 August 2018


Will be written;
Believe in it.

Inasmuch as today
Was the pen you held,
And yesterday, the ink welling,
Your life is only paper.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Thursday, 12 July 2018


A rogues gallery, mugshots in line,
Induced memories make who we are
Who we were at the beginning.

Intellect fades, hidden in code.

Look Away Now

Another world,
Not on the streets,
In my hands;
I do not live there.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Sleep will not come

Sleep will not come
Blue light lights up the blues;
The dreams we need are playing
On our own devices, in our trembling hands.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

3 More - Poetry24


I had six poems published by Martin at Poetry24 in January, February and March. In April, May and June, I've offered up three more - Windrush,  swim until, and Ultramarine.

The January, February, March poems are linked here.

[The site publishes work responding to current news events. There's also a section, In Brief, for short, sharp reflections on current news. There are lots of good work  - try them.]

Ultramarine - more about plastic pollution, the Anthropocene and the 6th Extinction.

swim until - on the death of Scott Hutchison, 10th May 2018. (Image is the mural, by Michael Corr, completed 21st May in Glasgow.)

Windrush - on the immigrants who came here to help us when we needed them.

Future Revised

in infinite time
ending and beginning
define possibility

choose between
one way and another
go on go right go left

Future Imperfect

we will be loved…
we may be loved…

we will…
in the catatonia to come, be unresolved, sleeping in strange narcosis
those of us still barely alive those of us not swallowed by a sun engorged
now redder than the shame of heaven our inglorious travelling at an end
our ignominious selves having arrived precisely nowhere

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Future Perfect

if complete
if approaching perfection
I in the green fields of later
will lie down to let robots
feed me with gentle

Wednesday, 27 June 2018


Summer came in
From the islands.

After rain or storm
A cold wind blew
From the south.

Thursday, 31 May 2018


The cups you fill for pleasure
Drain the heavens in one dry heave
Until the pale granite sky
Shines its broken stars back
Down the parsec-riddled dark
To another useless midnight.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

always on the streets

always on the streets

always we are told
there was sin
what we did
what we did not
just being born on this
the wrong side of wrath

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Leid an the Lingo

Gin I wis Doric but nae Glesca,
Or I wisna Dundee nor Fife, nor yet
I wis some teuchter bumpin his gums
Shooglin on a tractor for his pey,
Fit wid I be but a dour carl
Wi a rochsome orra gab
An in my rauchlin couthieness
Fin’ some wad glory in’t
File ithers lauch?

Monday, 9 April 2018


tides of stone

above the earth
the sun and moon

in a heaven without gods nothing exists
but the necessity of their invention

Friday, 6 April 2018

A Few Old Men

[Meeting Minute 1003]

a few old men
as high as kites
intoxicated by
soup and teacup
put the world to rights
and over tiffin and cake

Wednesday, 21 March 2018


words on stone
words on paper
books of words
libraries and churches
pages of scripture
before which we
bow down

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Muisicianer’s Lament

Gin I wis walkin doon ae road or anither,
files I wis duncin, lik Jagger nor Bowie, tae the soon o a drum.

Nooadays I’m mindin on times weel deid an beeriet,
mindin days fan I pit ma finger on the string an played
ma ain rock n roll, ma ain jazz in the howfs o Aiberdeen.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Not the Law

They are not the law.
Nor do they make the law.
There is no law to break.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Black Villanelle

Your inner voice, insidiously whispering in your ear
As you stood there trembling, every limb was aching;
You, alone among the dead, struck dumb by fear.

On Poetry 24

January, February, March.

I've had six poems published by Martin at Poetry24. You can read them through the links below. The site publishes work responding to current news events. There's also a section, In Brief, for short, sharp reflections on current news. There are lots of good work  - try them.

Tarmac - on the demonisation (and prosecution) of peaceful protest.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Wind as it Blew

the wind as it blew was an ill wind
the near hills no longer gentle
rode hard against the sky

the sea as it ran in cross-currents
was a rip-tide off Bhatasgeir
drowning those who stayed

‘Ah, Dhòmhnaill, when will another son of yours be lost
parted from Aird Thunga and the flat rocks above the shore?’

Monday, 26 February 2018

If I…

If I am a poet…
and my thoughts pour out in slick black rivers to stain the page,
to ink it with dull-edged bleeding letters and fade
like exhausted breath in air…