The poet in the pub, under the helicopter…


The news has been full of the terrible story of the police helicopter that crashed into the Clutha pub in Glasgow at the weekend. 9 people dead so far, as they still try to clear away the unstable remains of the old meeting place.

The pilot of the helicopter visited my kids school not so long ago…

One of the dead was a poet, John McGarrigle, who wrote of life in Glasgow with an honest voice- speaking of unemployment, drugs, human warmth and emotion in witty and funny ways. There seem to be a sad few of his poems on line, but there are a couple here. I did not know his work well, although had heard of him.

What a way to go. Sitting with your friends in your regular seat in a the local, sharing stories like poetry…

I thought I would write my own tribute to John, by way of deep respect to those who have lost loved ones in Glasgow. Here is the first draft;

The death of John McGarrigle


John holds court in the Clutha

Spinning yarns like fag smoke

Filling the fug with the chug of laughter

Tapped, not canned

The drink at his lips was welcome

But not strictly necessary

Sentence cut short

By a tumbling helicopter


They say it came through the roof

Right above Johns seat

Where others deferred

To the Clutha poet


How should a poet meet his end

On some blasted heath?

Should they wear away like old parquet

Or a set of ill-fitting false teeth?


John had a poem in the curl of his glass

When the chopper fell down on his head

2 thoughts on “The poet in the pub, under the helicopter…

  1. Nice poem, a lovely tribute to dear John McGarrigle.

    I have read a few of his poems and they are impressive.


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