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