Deer Crossing in December

The third deer crossing is a hiatus and it

Seems our car waits in time for it to cross

They are young red deer heading to licks

Of wood and grass or thicket in this concrete

After a day of human watching

The clarity of purpose and being is like a punch-

Five minutes from home with the

Walls of a flat waiting heat it seems

Petty divisions of space by plaster and wood.


As the winter is due to worsen

I mind seeing and reading of the skin, skeleton of a starved polar bear

The ice gone and the bare rock giving nothing

Days later I wonder at the tilt of the head of the first deer

Her eye

Spotting my shape in our hard moving object

That gave nothing to the earth and moved unnaturally

Winter Footprints

It is a rich and cushioned spring of bound green flesh

This well looked after lawn

As the December storm rages we are here

At the house to let their cats out;

Performing Kanku Dai on the lush grass

leaves impressions of my footprints

I remember my mother bemoaning my football scrapes

On her grass by the shores of our fishing town

Where the seagulls would be paused in a gale’s jaws

The harbour beyond our Ainster hoose

firing white geysers into the air

Pressing into this year’s wind snarl

I ponder on the nature of balance and the past.

*Ainster = Anstruther, Fife; hoose = house; Kanku dai is a Shotokan karate kata

Future Independence

It must be Independence in 2014

What was lost has not been gained

Since a Parliament finished but not closed

A sense of health and vision

With what it is daily, yearly, centuries long

Celebrated and built upon

A more socially just reality

Whatever a simple vote causes

Yet as the dawn breaks and nothing has changed

It must be set in stane

For the least of us, for the best of us

Go forward not against what is rule foreign to us

But the lack of a fairer society, the best it could be

From Lochore to Ullapool, Drumochter to Kirkwall.



Meeting him where?

A place to best meet his best

Is when you draw on that being that is yours alone

When alone

It find itself against the worst of man or woman

Trying to bully, kill or maim

Then when spirit and thought are aligned

Maybe you can meet Mandela’s spirit

Years ago

On the red soil of Northern Cape I met his touch

The *Mandela house holding a family tight

Still the poverty and inequality was there

His legacy ready like any to be renewed and fed life into.


*New build houses for families built in the townships.

Nae First Attack Fae Rice


A kind o dominie cum janitor

Thare you wur, Sensei awa

Frae the bield o life in Okiniwa-

Bidin in a dormitory at the stert o karate in Japan

Enlightenment, the fist and zen as ane

Is makkit in years o graft and bluid

Abuin Shomyoji Temple ye skelp the makiwara

Echoes, growing noises an intense smack and spiral of movement….

A soond like a body batterin wee rice patties intae *mochi

Echoes aroon and further awa eneuch tae wake the deid

O the nearby cemetery tae.

A priest cums wi siller fer the rice cakes

Only tae find the small warrior is not that.


Mochi-a kind of ‘highly glutinous variety of rice cake’ I believe!

Gichin Funakoshi proposed there is no first attack in karate.

Inspired by the Article & Translation by Mark Tankosich accessed on Sensei Iain Abernethy’s UK website.


From Elie Wiesel, ‘Night’. 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



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.
—Elie Wiesel

Even if only one free individual is left,
he is proof that the dictator is powerless against freedom.
But a free man is never alone; the dictator is alone.
The free man is the one who, even in prison,
gives to the other prisoners
their thirst for, their memory of, freedom.
—Elie Wiesel

As the population in Kiev protests these are aye (always) relevant words.