Some local creativity…


This weekend we are participating in Cowal Open Studios (along with Pauline Beautyman and her lovely pottery.) Come along and have a look if you are local…

COS is a collection of artists/crafty people on the Cowal peninsular who have ‘open house’ this weekend, allowing people to come visit, talk about techniques, methods and even have a go (in the pottery in our case.)  Here is our dining room at the moment;


It is also a chance to sell some things. I could have sold this several times over it seems- messing about with some little ceramic fish and some battered old driftwood. Still, if you want one, I can always make more!driftwood clockIn terms of local arty stuff, I should also mention that next Thursday at 7.00 I am doing a poetry reading at our local bookshop, Bookpoint. Be lovely to see you there! I should post a poem in celebration really…

I do not really do celebratory poems but here is an old one anyway;


Life still flickers


I have heard it said that

Dead men walking

We are



Like veal

Blown by flies


But life still flickers

Faint but strong

Vibrating these hollow veins

And the voltage you make

Is a current

Wired to the nape

Of my neck


Because this thing we are

Is more than just

A bottle

For blood

So much more than just


Mixed from mud


Beautiful creature

Sing, spirit-



September, Castle Lachlan…

Written from word-sketches done during a recent poetry workshop I led out at Castle Lachlan.

Autumn trees

September, Castle Lachlan


The surface of the water holds a muted print

Inked by all these early autumn colours

Leached from trees, from sky

Until a fish leaps

Rips a dripping hole in this perfect picture

Then plops back on a belly laugh


Something buzzes by

Lacquered like a Chinese cabinet

The air still warm enough for the burn of tiny insect engine

Converting speed to sound in this

The last gasp of a summer almost



Meanwhile in the ragged edge of the old wood

Small things claw and clatter by

Moving in sudden squirts to trick the hungry eye

Clinging leaves filter and flick at the low sunlight

They have not quite



The ragged old castle leans on its ivy Zimmer

Watching it all go by through watered eyes

Wondering where it all went

Leaking dark memories through those broken curtain walls

The canons roars

No more

That’s what set’s the poet free…

I am sort of in between jobs at the moment- one of the joys of doing agency work. There is a song that keeps coming in to my mind;

Having said that- on Sunday, I got paid for talking about poetry all day! It was such a lovely day that I kind of feel bad for even taking the money. The soup was good too- not a cold dog in sight.

I am referring to the poetry workshop that I ran for the Castle Lachlan Trust out at Inver Cottage Restaurant. I had three punters- and it was such a privilege to share a day full of words with them. Each person used poetry in different ways, but it felt like something was being set free in each of us…

Poetry workshop…

Love words?

How about spending some time in a lovely place immersing yourself in words?

There are still places left on the poetry workshop at courtesy of Old Castle Lachlan next Sunday. A tenner for a day of poetry plus lunch from the wonderful Inver Cottage Restaurant.

Details below;

creative workshops poster


rainbow, barbed wire


Blue hangs like a limp flag above him

Stirred only by half-a-breeze

Always waiting for tomorrow


Light falling through these trees

As if through ten green bottles

Hanging on for the fall


In a crush of commuting greys she wore bright orange

Less to draw attention to herself, more in blazing protest

Against complicity, against the curse of ordinary compliance


Yellow says hello

As the summer strips the grass to straw

And flowers forget their gazing upwards


Red bowl of the sun in a darkening sky

Curtaining so fast that I reach out

Grasping as to cup it, to keep it close


Pink flesh unfolds like a flower

This fragile child, as if fearing the late frost

Now wrapped up safe in mother


The night is purple, not-quite-dark

Wide open like the mouth of a whale

Or the space between stars


Black like before-life, like un-pregnancy

Like before the big bang roared outwards into us

Before love made anything possible


Grey like the day she came to say “The time has come for leaving”

The sun itself was choked by cloud

The very sea was weeping


Water falling down on these old rocks

Gilding them with liquid silver

This normal place, anointed


Age has turned your hair pure white

Like the soul that dances in you

You are cathedral and I, your evensong


Sunlight makes alchemy from mountains

Now gold in the evening mist

Far beyond the wealth of kings


Brown like the ground where we lay down

The earth is pillow-soft

And waiting


‘Learning to Love’ book is now out!


The book is now out!

You can get your copy (download or paper) here.

This from the blurb put out by Proost;

“We think this book typifies the reasons why Proost exists.  It’s promoting people’s art and creativity.  It’s giving people a voice and it’s sharing those voices with a wider audience.  It’s almost an incredible good and very moving collection of poems. For those reasons we think it’s a fantastic resource and hope you’ll visit the site and pick up a copy.”

Here’s a poem to give you a flavour by Sheena Bradley

Being true 

Before, I was not
And now, I am
In this place and at this time.
Rain, hail or shine I will hold up my head And bloom…

And not just so that I might be seen, That I might be admired
No, I do not need your praise.

Celebrated or unnoticed Until I’m trampled or I fade, For fade I will
I’ll bloom…