Kamae (ready stance) is for Beginners; later, one stands in Shizentai (natural stance).


Ay*, be ready in thocht an spirit,

Yet kennin there are many kamaes and none.


Constant renewal and re-sowing of technique

Honing the weapon so none be used

The true meaning of kamae.


In a time of strife, of greed

Funakoshi’s, our Senseis’

Lack o greed and lust fer siller.


Maks mair shine

A gowden polish on the hert and mind.


*Scots ay-yes, thocht-thought, kenning-knowing, mair-more, siller-money/riches, gowden-golden.

Private Gentle

The Smedum Test

(This piece is from the above. I have great admiration for the courage and determination of Mrs Gentle.)


Private Gentle


(Deed Iraq, June 2004)


At ower six fuit yer hert,


Micht hae beat in a pine tree,


Ye deed in Iraq blawn apairt,


Whiles Whitehaa mandarins socht WMD.



Somme, Goose Green an mair,


On mony a village or toun stane,


A nation still bottom o Europe’s eco-stair,


As yer mither is racked wi pain.



Nae chiel sent fae London toun,


A PM’s son sent tae fecht,


A litmus test niver pit doun,


Huid up tae harsh daylicht.


Lik the best pub stories his muckle nieve,


Lik the closest family ye went in peace,


Lik the emptiness thae cannae believe,


Lik thaim we want murderin tae cease.



Throw politics and history aside,



Excuse mere wirds intae a bleckwell,



Jist A wid honour yer son Gentle


And tell.



An illegal war, a Party that lost its soul, June 2016.





Sad to hear of another giant of literature and vision passing awa. I translatit his ‘Night’ some time ago. As a national figure presented a racist, Fascist poster recently I was reminded of Primo Levi’s words about a would-be tyrant and the beautiful words on his lips. Even if they were brought up in Scotland.

From Elie Wiesel, ‘Night’. 2006 Marion Wiesel translation in Penguin Paperbacks (2008): ‘Born into a Jewish family in Romania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were rounded up by the Nazis, corralled into trains, and transported first to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and then to Buchenwald..

Nicht-A Scots Translation

Niver wull A unnerstaun thon nicht, the

furst nicht in camp, thon turned ma

life intae ane lang nicht seeven times steekit.

Niver wull A forgit thon reek.

Niver wull A forgit the sma faces o the bairns whase bodies A Seen transformit

Intae reek unner a silent lift.

Niver wull A forgit thae flames that consumed ma faith foriver.

Niver wull A forgit the nocturnal seelence thon took fae me fer aw eternity o the desire tae live.

Niver wull A forgit thae moments thon murderit ma God an ma saul an turned ma dwams tae ashes.

Niver shall A forgit thae things, e’en wur A condemned tae live as lang as God



Scots Translation o Elie Wiesel


Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never. Elie Wiesel

Even if only one free individual is left, he is proof that the dictator is powerless against freedom.

A Riverside

Europe has many witch sites, death camps

But outside our Parliament have we this?

A silent sculpture so small it would sliver

The diamond calluses of the narrow hearted.

Where the home-grown Hungarian Nazi’s murdered

Their ain-the Danube still flows, pushes

atween Buda and Pest.

Children, parents flung to their death

Their protection for delicate feet is left.

The grandiosity of Parliament and castle

Whimpers to fit the infant slipper.




When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.



During the hardest training it has been safer than the crowded city street

On the Irish Sea in turmoil it has been calmer than a near empty pub.


Enemies and chance respect neither rank nor riches

The sliver of black ice or a tool held carelessly can end



Integrity of shine and purpose can be its own kamae*

Vibrating thus as a hummingbird before tension.


If necessary

Be transformed and facing forward. Still.

Titles Poem


Kelty Woman causes stramash at wedding before

Ainster boy turns fish supper into £10 million pounds in bearer bonds

Glenrothes granny has waiver from Care Home to be MSP for Defence

Cupar Headteacher gets nominated for classical opera’s highest award.


A bampot of a Burntisland individual has destroyed the new Forth crossing

A raging Rosyth bairn has eyeballs tattooed with the Dunfermline players’ names

While a flounder the size of Edinburgh is found in Falkland estate pond.



The true Stone of Destiny has been found on Tentsmuir beach


A pensioner from St Andrews has adopted Donald Trump

Trump settles to being a St Andrews caddie.

*Inspired by an actual recent headline from a Fife newspaper; stramash-fight/scene; bampot-fool; bairn-child; MSP-Member of the Scottish Parliament-sadly now with extra Members deluded enough to think Independence is a bad idea.


The Rest

CRUYFF          Henry


Like a turn of a porpoise in the Moray Firth

A svelte arc of flesh in blue and spent foam

Thierry Henry turned dribbled, led the ball on toes like gold leaf

To set alight the firmament of this Fife soil

The Dunfermline team* left like koi beached from their pool.


In the week Johan Cruyff deed, a demi-god taen

A thocht o the Barcelona an Arsenal bullet’s veesit

Pace, pooer an aw the rest o the skills;

Sumtimes the game is less important

The reality of whit cuin be fer the human frame an speerit

Runs an runs ta gang free…


*  A pre-season visit to Dunfermline Athletic Football Club by Arsenal.