Tuesday 19th January
A sad job this week penning the obituary of an old friend, the poet Harvey Holton. He was only sixty which nowadays we think of as young- ish – well some of us do, but as Harvey would have pointed out – we bloody well have to!! Anyway the death of a close friend tens to lead to introspection so here are a couple of poems – the first partly inspired by Harvey – who was a roarin boy – and the other a memoriam for another old friend Dougal Carnegie who is much missed.

An were we no
the richt fu-stappit roarin boys
back then
ilk day a challenge
an awthin a lauch

an doun the years
the pentins an the poems
the sangs an books
an bairns
were made
tho nane o us
wis gien the fame
wi aw affectit
lustin eftir,
back then

an nou
wi maist o us died
an ithers
jist hingin on
the fun’s mebbe
no quite
sae wild as aince it wis
bit the wark
gangs on,
an the sheddaes
ower the shouther
aye ask fer mair

anither guid man gone

Aince, a whilie back
A wis weel-keent
for bein blesst
wi monie freens
an aw braw things that come
frae bein jist
sae blesst

ther’s no a time
that A cin mind
een whan the dairkness fell
upon me
whan ther wisnae
ae freen or anither
happy tae gie an ear tae troubles
or share a gless
agin the saut o sorrow

blesst, blesst an blesst agin
wi fowk that seek yer company
as ye seek theirs
an sair heids tae

but nou getting aulder
as we aw maun dae
it seems A’m coontin oot
the passin o ma time
bi the lack o thaim
tae tell it tae

an nou
a guid man taen awa
afore his time
bi bogles an blackhairt ghoulies
that scraibblit his harns
an turnt his een
awa fae the fire o life
tae the dark cauld watters o daith

a guid man
loued bi aw that kennt him
an antrin thing itsel
but it waes like
he waes happit
in some unhooly armour
keepin fae him hou
he waes loued
he waes claucht athin
a loom o mirrors
biggin aye his fears
reflectin nocht but gloom

a guid man
ivver set
tae pit the haun o freenship oot
an gie help
afore it waes sought
an aye
athoot a saicont’s thocht

an hou he loued the hill
the stane happit bens
the sudden glens
the caller air
o the heich places
an the warm saftness
o simmer
in the hielan straths

a quine aince sang
ye kenna whit he hae
till it’s left ye
ilk step on the hill
A’ll mind that mair.

Monday the day o Rabbie
The Things They Say (and what they mean)
Explanations of Politician’s favourite sayings
It’s for the good of the country – I’m on a promise of shares/money/a golf trip to St Andrews/ a night with that hot brunette intern/etc.
You can’t solve problems by throwing money at them – we’ll have to hire some of our accountant/auditor pals to look into this and tell us what we have done wrong – they’ll probably have to take us to lunch once or twice to hammer out the details.
Trust me – I am about to tell you a barrelful of lies. Has anybody seen the Jungle Book?
There’s no such thing as free lunch – except when we’re having a meeting with arms manufacturers, oil company representatives, bankers etc etc etc.
There’s not enough money in the kitty for that – unless it’s in my constituency
In times like these we all have to make sacrifices – but you first!
We live in a democracy – but I’ll make up my mind what you think you mean once I’ve talked to my pals.
We are a listening government – we always listen to our pals, and those who are considerate enough to buy us lunch.
Your vote counts – but not as much as the arms manufacturers’ wallets.
We all have to tighten our belts – unless we have a war to fight, arms to buy or a monument to build*.(their belts around our throats Jimi the Fish).
*Example the London Dome and some other white elephants.
Your government always takes the best advice- the consultants told us so us when buying us lunch – with your money.
The press hate us – which is why they always go to cocktail parties with media-moguls.
We will not be swayed by public opinion – unless there’s an election coming up.
This is a matter of principle – unless a) the (gutter-press) media-moguls make a noise about it b) it costs too much c) it might lose us votes.
The cost over-runs on the latest armaments development * are unfortunate and will be looked into – just like the last 327 instances. * take your pick.
The police and the army can do no wrong – we might need them if you guys ever waken up to hat we are actually doing.
We/I represent the people –sure, the rich people.
Demonstrations for them double the number Demos against quarter the numbers
Spooks have never lied and are always working for the common good. – so of course we can’t let you now what they are up to.
Secrecy is a bad thing – except for what we’re up to.
Immigration has to be controlled – even if my daddy/granddaddy arrived here with nothing, a generation or two ago – the current would-be emigrants are of much lower calibre.
You can’t solve problems by throwing money at them – so we’ll throw the money at our pals instead.


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