Journey Home

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Journey Back from St Andrews March 2018.

A fuse, a dud wire or a twist in the guts o the radio?

In the spirit of the machine

Who knows as I kick it back hame.

 

No tunes, no Springsteen or Mellencamp

(Car Radio deid as thon Scotland match in Moldova)

Yet, it dings, it skelps the inside o my skull and soul:

A wee pairt at the clanjamfrie o Stanza in St Andrews.

 

Shots, keepie uppies, penalties, players, managers, World Cups

The losses, the wins, the legends, the joys..things well-manicured pundits cannae destroy.

 

They arrive and twist grey matter an thocht tae cerebral spaghetti

Wi faces like Bremner, an Jordan an Ormond an *Norrie himsel

Nae tae mention a Baxter or Larsson or some ‘fabled’ Dumbarton FC thoroughbred chiels.

 

They tackle and nip and harry my every turn and rumination

Far, far mair than just poet inclination.

 

As the twin baps o the glowering Lomond Hills pit aff Big Tam Forsyth

And Scott Brown gies a dunt to a sleeping Italian defender

I realise that I am ready. Warmed up. Prepared

For a guid second hauf…

 

*Former Captain of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club-Mr Norrie McCathie

Scots: hame-home; dings-rings/echoes; skelps-smacks/hits; mair-more; gies-gives; dunt-a hit/kick etc; guid-good.

Thanks to Mr Jim Mackintosh.

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Nineteen

 

Do not forget the use or withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the    

body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.

 

Power

It lies in that space between process and intent

A heartbeat rocket fuelled cellular rake

Or in the steel-strong control of limb or body.

 

It is the power of self and sword,

Technique that is beyond sport.

 

Block with timing, hit with lightning.’*

 

An aphorism that hides the bone-breaking toil to master

What is the hideous complexity of the simplest Oizuki:

A

Simple

Basic

Stepping

Punch.

 

*As suggested by Sensei Dave Hazard pictured above.

Eighteen

十余り八つ

Eighteen

‘Keep kata as they are without embellishing them.’ Yasutsune Itosu. ‘..In actual combat, it will not do to be hampered by the rituals of kata. Instead, the practitioner should transcend kata, moving freely according to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.’

Breathe, connect to loved ones

Seize the immediate air that may be the last

Commit utterly to destruction: combat.

 

As different as a tsunami

To the surface of a Scots pine forest pond-kata and combat.

 

Inner or outer audience for your kata

It is a beauty of being, a life

That begins and begins with a bow

January

A piece from Temples fae Creels (Kettionlia) slightly changed.

wave

Oor hoose on Shore Road

Wis aye spuckled in spray

Fae waves that ripped san

Aff protective rock skerries.

 

Reek trails fae the Lothian side

Wid hing aboot Cockenzie

The power station

Opposite Fife’s gowden beach mantle;

Ony windae wis guid.

 

January wis special-waves

Slammin intae the herbour waas

Muckle white flares hingin

Afore rainin doun lik lava:

January ragin.

 

robin

 

The Robin Kata

Often he spins up to be spider-bird

Watching vertically poised above his planet

A metre over me on the wall.

 

Be it Jitte or Jiin or washing perhaps Gis out for drying

The wee chest marks a wound of flight on fence or ground.

 

Like each performance of a Sochin or Empe

Different robins dance or move to a unique internal barometer.

 

Later reflect on the arrogance of the human

That it is nature that watches us, our dance our imperfections.

 

 

 

 

Dreams Die Then..

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In SA, N. Cape with Marcus-our school Principal, a friend and Marcus’ wife. In the fantastic open spaces in NC-loved the horizons.

 

Aw things appear or gang awa

lik the soond o an echo

the clouds in the lift

the muin on the watter

the fire-flaucht, the sea faem,

the trail o a bird as it flees

or the veesion o dwams efter walkin.

Taisen Deshimaru

 

 

Last Passenger

The last person left the Prison bus

Robben Island tour over Mandela’s cell visit ticked off.

 

How history’s stream flows beyond the temporal bones

Of the dead and living or the incontinent camera-laden

 

They leave the bus headed for the ferry

(Nae a wee dart tae Iona let it be said S.T.).

 

I stay and ask the Xhosa speaking Guide

‘Now?..’

Like the rocks Madiba ground down into dust

The dream, it seems, has gone.

The steel in the secular saint’s legacy dissipated.

 

All things are possible and the impostors can gain

Even the highest podium to plunder.

 

And other leaders, other faiths must be lost

Carved, bound then found or the young breathe

‘Betrayed.’

 

Seventeen

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十七

Seventeen

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.