2006 – 2010

one who knew me

there was one who knew me

when our childish feet

splashed along Saltcoats’ sands

and ‘kicked the can’ on Calton streets

then stumbling into

the turbulent years of adolescence

we talked and talked in earnest tones

the world, the stars, the universe

the essence of humanity

blazing a path through all the thorny questions

we turned our backs on

God and Church and Lodge

too painfully aware of pious contradictions

the exploited, the dispossessed

the depths of man’s depravity

searching for our sense of self

who were we?

two unassuming working-class kids

weaned on love and honesty

endowed with sense

convinced that reason and integrity

must prevail

we vowed to set wrongs to right

and thought that we

might live to see

a better world


he is long since gone

whilst I

devoid of all naivety

must journey on

the Rif

a call to prayer begins

in a nearby mosque

loud and melodious

strong and clear

summoning the faithful

to their knees


Allah Akbar

Allah Akbar


the call is echoed

around Chefchaun and

from distant mosques

on far off hills

waves of various

tone and intensity

resound across the

mountainous terrain


Allah Akbar

Allah Akbar


in the street below

people bustle

tourists haggle

a small child wails

did time stand still?

time seemed to stand still

yet, while we were sleeping

or walking and laughing

talking and loving

Tuesday became Wednesday

Wednesday turned to Thursday

the world kept spinning

now it is Sunday

and though we have

scarcely seen the sun

our world is shining

timeless and true

missing you (for Sandie Craigie)

it’s strange to be back

among your Auld Toon haunts

though I’ve been back before

for a few hours here

a day there

that night with a lover

but it’s never the same

without you


in Edinburgh

in a stranger’s house

just a few minutes walk

from New Skinner’s Close

the scene of weird

and wonderful hours

spent with you

with Gordon

or on my own


yet here I am

missing you


and there are no words

can describe my pain

or convey my loss



stop a moment… reflect

assess the situation

is this where I want to be

what I want to do now

at this particular

point in time

distanced from

the old country

the old life

stepping across a cultural divide

into unknown territory


same as it ever was

every turn of the road


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