Apply the way of karate to all things therein lies its beauty.


The liar, the fraud, the leader of many, the friendly

Can, will strike with ippon which can be deadly;

See in music, flower arranging and Zen archery seizure

Of what the quest for learning can bring to self or soul.


Each play and rhythm of that kata, sings inside

Laying yet more pentimenti over earlier self-combat, struggle.










Karate is a Lifelong Pursuit


Be guid the day an mair lik gowd the morn

Never a kata perfect, a block as fine

Nothing is etched perfection.


Some decades o training

later what is basic

You spy as a helix o wonders.


Aches bought in Dunfermline or Inverness

returning hame

Pencil to slate and gravity to kicks.


Mind, noo though

Mak karate servant nae master;

Life an hert come first

Or all can be force withoot finesse.



Guid-good, mair-more, lik-like, gowd-gold, hame-home, withoot-without

This Scotland and the Next

images (9)

A piece that has been a few years in the thinking-for AH.


Where safe, riotous fans of rugby pass:

Haymarket in Edinburgh, aye busy

A nexus of city, country, leaving, arriving.


This time some anti-Semitic bile given

As casually as you would press the Pedestrian Crossing

My friend more Scot and native than many a bigot

Was guilty, just standing

Black hair and the gift o the gab*.


Abstracts like Scottish, nation, civic nationalism exist

On the same plane as hame-grown hatred

We are not special, nor that different

Fail that test

Then welcome that Eton brigade in.

*Aye-always; Gift o the gab= can speak well and/or eloquently



Karate Goes Beyond the Dojo

The objective of karate-do is to polish and nurture both mind and body.

Shotokan in part means pine waves.

Beyond this kata of text

My window trailing with tiny rain silver-beads

Real pines, wind-boned legerity

Trunks in mild sway, branch arms waving.


Easy to give in to the body’s power

Take the body’s ability to nihilism

Away from awareness, caring or best.


Weapons must be forged, loved then forgotten

Spirit given over to integrity, forgiveness

Or we-them-the baseless, money-driven instructors

Are violent, criminal.

Sma Things

(Small Things)


The void beyond the tiny kata detail

Is that in all spheres: the essence of things

The doing of it has that line of time stretching

To make a mockery of your rush.


How many years to see it, feel it?

You think as another learning point

Glistens like Ness water still chilled in high summer.




Pine Flakes of Us


They are the seeds of our green fringe-

The pine trees, slivers of essence

They are winged micros

Pared elliptical spirals into here:

The square concrete and steel of human nests.


They mark another cycle:

Death, renewal, birth and awakening

As their girth grows, ours weakens.


The August sun splits the early evening

As a grey squirrel dashes over the fence

Like an office worker in Adidas trainers

He is all frenetic energy and need.

Kingdom of Fife Menuki


Menuki 目貫 [めぬき] are the ornaments that are found under the handle wrap on katana and wakizashi.  They define the character of the sword and can tie the owner to the sword.  The Menuki can be replaced when the tsuka (handle) is re-wrapped.

Hardly the placing of a katana or its menuki near violets

Not here in the clarity and bone-brittle spring sunshine

No ancient murmur in step and pulse like Okinawa.

Yet the placing of a pad near red-skinned herbaceous fingers

The noticing of the bare silver birch, the opening applause of blossoms

It harkens a speed to the toil and labour of stance, strike

Breathe and breath to give life to kata, pattern

A rhythm.