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

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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.

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.