These are some of my older poems which are now a bit outdated, please feel free to enjoy them with that proviso.


My home got burned down this morning –
The glowing butt of a discarded fag-end
My first warning.  Small flames
Dulled the chilling cold for a
Minute,and, though all was lost

There hadn’t really been much in
It.  It was hardly a show home, and
I was only there ‘cos I can never
Go home.  But the neighbours were
Nice, and always willing to lend

A bit of bread, a tea-bag, a paper or
Whatever to a fiend.  And I can
Always get another.  P’raps I can
Get a new roof down some alley or
Other.  And the walls I can pick up

Anywhere.  So what does it matter if
Passing strangers stand and
Stare?  Gordon from Glasgow said
He can give me a nearly-new
Sleeping bag – for free!  If I have to

I’ll sleep under the stars tonight,
And I’ve got spare jeans
And extra socks
So I’ll be alright.

When I left my other sad life
Behind, the very same day, another
Woman’s home was near destroyed,
They say.  A great big house, in Windsor, near
Burnt to the ground!  And, sadly, she lost treasures
Worth million of pounds!

An attempt to contrast homelessness with a fire at Windsor Castle.


The Means - Test man came round our house today,
His practised eye assessed us, with a glare,
What more of our life could he take away?

In apathetic monotone he lay
down laws that God would never have laid bare,
The Means - Test man came round our house today.

Unseeing of the ready - made decay,
He ready - made to worsen our despair,
What more of our lives could he take away?

And, piece - by - piece, our souls were made to pay,
His faceless masters rules it just and fair,
The Means - Test man came round our house today.

One chair. One cup. One plate. Is all we may
retain. The faceless ones say. Do they care?
What more of our life could he take away?

Our dignity and pride they e'er would flay
with whips of apathy.  How do they dare!?
The Means - Test man came round our house today,
What more of our life could he take away?

During the depression - which one, some might ask? - Means Test Men were proven to have requested that all household items, such as plates, cutlery, chairs which amounted to more than one per person living in the house should be sold and any money given by the Means Test accordingly reduced.


blue eyes, dancing with excitement,
counting the seconds till your audience gathered,
your dark hair flew on ravens' wings.

floating, but fragile, then suddenly pale,
and wishing for the magic fairy
to make sure all is well.

minutes felt like hours as we waited
for the white carriage
to speed us to the golden palace.

flying, your lips said
"my wings will be ready in time, won't they?",
but your angel smile told us you knew.

quieter, as we left the first palace gates,
"no room at this Inn", said the man in black,
try the silver palace, it's only thirty miles away!

but  ALL the palaces were full,
your eyes watered to quench your laboured breath,
growing ever shorter.

a small ray of hope pierced the dark cloud
covering us, a distant palace beckoned,
but another stairway was already awaiting.

city lights shone like myriad stars
as the light left your eyes,
to become yet one more heavenly beam.

For being poor

there's something that's got to be said,
so I'm bloody well saying it,
remember that "price to be paid? -
well there's still people paying it

and your "classless society" -
where the bloody hell is it?
 any place you can show it to me
really warrants a visit!

the assets the people once owned
you bloody well gave away,
disguised as "a share for us all" -
when we all owned them anyway!

the wards that you're closing down fast -
they're our bloody inheritance!
your lie "the Health Service will last"!
is a sin without penitence!

the homeless that sleep on our streets -
there's no bloody need for it!
the young child for our small change competes -
do your ice - cold hearts bleed for it?!

those who starve in field. city or ditch
you weren't bloody well made for –
'cos the tax cuts you gave to the rich
have somehow to be paid for!

you hold your blind dogma to heart
like some bloody great token! -
don't you care what you're tearing apart? -
or whose lives you have broken?!


As I wandered along through the Sad Streets of Maerdy,
five hundred black faces, their eyes streaming tears,
came from the Last Shift - Last Pit in the Rhondda,
worst day in the Valley in one hundred years.

The silent cage stands - no more lamp room tallies,
the four-foot stalls empty - no more choking dust,
no more 'neath the Earth in the middle of midnight,
no back-breaking battles with black diamond crust.

the miners forsaken! they've shut down Old Maerdy,
though they know 'neath the Earth lies a wealth of black coal,
and the black dust will wash when the miners do bathe now,
but never the black dust from that miner's soul!


Winter deepened, no power cuts
came; no hour of darkness to
 endure; amassed black hills, built
 during quieter moments threw

 their shadow on ten thousand
angry men, mocking their fight,
 urging blacker men forward,
made skulls sing with wooden might;

and the armchair audience gaped
‘midst the calm of a warm fire,
tea and buns; mass media,
and orders from much higher

obscured the basic truths. Some
termed it nothing more than  an
indecorous aberration,
like a temporary benign

tumour; easily cut out
 from society's prism
body; best consigned to the
“ wasted years of socialism.”

but class - ridden images
 belied the grass roots passion
weaving the basic fabric
of the strike. prescribed fashion

declared the chopping - handed
man demonic; those who knew
better termed him a prophet,
and his prophecies came true!


Sleep well, Heseltine, in your warm feather bed,
Don't think of the ghosts of those miners, long dead,
Who battled with nature, who fought, died and bled,
Don't think of those living, with mouths to be fed,
Don't let the disaster you caused give you dread,
Just close your eyes tightly and count sheep instead!

Sleep well, Manny Shinwell, in your grave, long - since cold,
Though haunted by ghosts who've denied the black gold,
And tossing and turning at lies that they've told,
Though dogma the potage for the birthright they sold,
Though their treachery maddens till hate takes a hold,
Just pray they can't live with themselves when they're old!

Sleep well, now, Dai Doscoe, your last shift is done,
And the men in grey suits think you're all on the run,
They remember, with anger, the battle you won,
And those men in grey suits want revenge, by the ton,
And those grey suits all think Armageddon's begun,
And those grey suits detest all the miners, each one,
And they won't rest at all till the last pit has gone!


I must away to Tirphil now,
Where the coal-dust blackened streams beckon,
and the lone sheep calls me from the brow
of the slag-heaps, slipping ever low,
yes, back to Tirphil I must go -
been away too long, I reckon!


Peacefully , through the Bogside, thousands marched that January,
And, loudly, "We Shall Overcome!" rose from within Free Derry,
Hemmed within the boundaries set, approached the barricade,
A mental and a physical wall - British Army made.

1st Paras., tense and spoiling, waited orders for "The Scoop",
Fast on Agro Corner, in an armed and menacing group,
As Man faced man, and each side willed the other to retreat,
At 4 o clock (it's said) a shot rang out, from Rossville Street.

Was that a rebel Provo seen there, skulking by the wall?,
Whose higher orders had forbade his being there at all.
Or did a nervous Army gun fire out that first loud burst?
Or was it Paisley's Loyalists? Who was it fired first?

Whoever - the ensuing action saw the whole world shocked,
For once that noisome sound was heard, the British guns were cocked,
And fired once. And fired twice. Fired grey death by the score,
And so began another bloody battle in this war.

BY 5 past 4, on cold, hard ground, the first young man lay dead!
As God was witness, murdered by a bullet through the head.
Shot by the British Army, as he lay dead on the ground,
They said "he was a threat" - and yet, no weapon found!

Before the hands reached 10 past 4, the Paras had advanced,
Invasion of Free Derry, their long, strong arm they'd chanced,
Though sense and reason screamed at them to let the crowd disperse,
A hundred yards were "taken", against an echoing curse.

The marchers fled for safety to the Bogside they knew well,
And what was in the soldiers' minds, we'll never hear them tell.
As bullets flew, the fleeing men were caught amongst the flak,
And Father Daley gave Last Rites to a man, shot in the back.

Eleven more he helped from Earth, that bloody winter's day,
With promise of a better life to help them on their way,
Around him, bleeding, dying, lay the boys he knew so well,
His family since children, then he knew there was a Hell!

Just 18 minutes battle then gave way to silent grief,
As Derry's own united, in their sad, shocked disbelief.
And that green hill, not far away, without the city wall
Saw thirteen coffins carried to await the Holy Call.

No reasons! No excuses! None were offered for that day!
"Fuck Widgery's whitewash!" bitterly spat the I.R.A!
And the young men joined the Provos in their droves - a certain sign
That the Grapes of Wrath had ripened - and they'd made a Bitter Wine!


white the dress that Ellen wore,
white the cotton clouds,
white the stiff, new shrouds.
white the marble cross before,

green the sashes of the band,
green the spartan grass,
green the soldiers' jackets and
green the flying glass.

gold the chain of office worn,
gold her hair, and long,
gold the heart that did not scorn,
gold the angels' song.

brown the pup that ran away,
brown the pushchair hood,
brown the earth where dead men lay,
brown the coffin wood.

grey the army trucks that sped,
grey the air became,
grey the faces of the dead,
grey  this mad, war game.

red the poppies, worn with pride,
red the carpet stood,
red the tears for loved ones cried,
red the streets with blood.

blue, but pale November skies,
blue the police - car flash,
blue the velvet draperies,
blue the lifeless ash.

black the heart that murdered so,
black the evil villain,
black the soul that sunk so low,
Black Day, Eniskillen.

white the dress that Ellen wore,
white the cotton clouds,
white the marble cross before,
white the stiff, new shrouds.


they left him till last, why they didn’t say,
maybe his wooden seat
might have got in the way
of the dancing feet.

then, too, came his turn to dance’
and what his wounds denied
executioners  gave him chance
before he died

for one last look at the sun
above, though pale and wan,
and, like the bullet from the gun
his life was gone.

his brothers stood with amaze
and, in the open air,
cast their startled gaze
at his empty chair.


in faded prison shirt he wrote
of his last  hope
that yet-unborn generations would
consider them good.

and he heaved a last despairing sigh
and said goodbye,
leaving the red-eyed women to weep
in O’Connell Street.

quiet ran the Liffey that dull dawn,
they said the river mourns,
but black and tans were loud in troubled streets,
to mock defeat.

and as on Arbour Hill to rest they laid
their martyred dead,
the bloody british ripped the old flag down
and took their town.

and eight decades of conflict later on,
the martyrs are gone,
memories dulled by years are slow to stir,
and to anger.

and of the proclamation nothing’s spoken,
no word, no token,
and flows the jaundiced Liffey,
on and on.


my Daddy’s bones lie buried, bleached
beneath Mulraney strand,
a tidal requiem twice daily
 washes o’er the sand,
the man of god had his pound of flesh
for his English contraband,
and the sheriff read the  Riot Act
and took away our land.

countless green - faced children lie
 in graves of soil and scree,
the crops that would have saved them
 sent for others, o’er the sea,
and He who might have changed things
did not anything, ‘cos he
is our bastard English landlord,
 content to let things be.

rich Protestants ignored us,
 they made our houses burn,
rejecting us disdainfully,
with nothing of concern,
but the Quakers came and fed us,
 asking nothing in return,
and the few left made for Derry,
 and another life to learn.

and the few arrived, and the few survived,
but little were we told
by perfidious invaders,
with their hearts of steel, so cold,
and the years went by, and we wondered why
our birthright had been sold
for castles deep in Sussex,
 and candlesticks of gold.


Have you ever seen a train go past
And felt you want to be there?
Riding the rails, free and fast
With all that you can see there
No need to be fixed on the road ahead –
Just watching the world go by instead.

When you’re stuck in a six-mile traffic jam
At the end of a trying day,
Have you ever thought “Well, here I am
And here I’m going to stay!)?
And your hands are stuck to the steering wheel –
How frustrated do you feel?

No Buffet Car, nowhere to roam,
Feeling dehydrated, too!
Theres hours to go till you get home,
(And you rather need the Loo!),
Crawling along at a slow snail-pace –
Cursing most of the Human Race

You’re feeling sick, you’re feeling tired,
Your forehead’s started burning,
You suddenly see your tax expired,
Then you see the train returning!
Your state of the art new mobile phone
Left at the Office! Whose fault? Your own!

Ease yourself from this frayed state of mind –
Repair the situation!
Leave your pride and joy behind!
Seek out your local station!
Free your life from this daily strain –
Just THINK about getting there by train!

The Ghost of Jock McBride

Retracing  the abandoned railyard
he walks wearily,
blighted  by  bonds  that once  set mighty machines free
In his deserted dawn,
he remembers,
the shining steel,
 the  clamouring couplings  awaiting his hollow hammer.
Inch by inch, foot by foot,
they stood, proud and perfect
in silver splendour,
awaiting the  tracks whispering call.
But now, all is shrouded
in silence,
men come no more - the  railyard has died!
Enraged, as his ravaged mind recalls
what was,
he curses this brutal betrayal,
and, bound to a cruel fate,
his eternal essence
wanders the edge of madness.


Your rights, they meant nothing,
your innocence less,
your country's supposedly part of the Free West,
you were born and brought up there
its laws to abide,
but because you were Irish,
they put you inside!

So who's gonna pay, boys, who's gonna pay?
Those who conspired to put you away?

Because you were Irish, they gave you a cell,
aggrieved and so angry, your own living hell,
away from your loved ones, alone with your fears,
deprived of your freedom for sixteen long years.

So who's gonna pay, boys, who's gonna pay?
the Judge that condemned you that Black Winter's day?

The deed was committed, yes, murder most foul,
the common voice rose, the wolves started to howl,
they cried out for blood, yes, revenge they were needing,
and seemed not to care who did all the bleeding.

So who's gonna pay, boys, who,s gonna pay?
The real guilty ones who had nothing to say?

Now they tell us that justice is seen to be done,
you've fought a long battle,
you've fought and you've won,
your freedom from guilt is accepted at last!
so let's just forget, boys, all that has passed?

So who's gonna pay, boys, who's gonna pay?
Those who said nowt when they put you away?

How can someone come to terms with such an injustice? 


None know the tasts of the krill - driven,untouched flesh
that lies prostrate in the Cove of Death,
where the hot smell of blood
mingles with the ice - cold odour of fear,
as each last breath draws near.

Two hundred years of mindless murder
excused in the name of blind tradition;
soundless screams fill the air,
but nobody listens.

Blood’s river flows so fast,
but slowly travels the carmine curse
down the cheek of the small child
who stood too near,
as the hook drove home.

Strong, handsome men yet again
fell the blood lust,
kiss their wives, and sharpen their knives,
ready to slash deep,

then carve a wooden toy boat,
with the same bloody knofe,
 to float in the same bloody cove.

In this frenzied midst, two pairs of eyes
are prominent in their brightness.
One, in blind panic, circles the body
of his near - dead mother,

till, too, his turn for death comes,
as another evil tool falls,
or starvation calls him to a welcome grave.

The other eyes, held fast by the bloody scene they witness,
and, having no other act to follow,
yearn eagerly to become of Men.
“Perhaps, Daddy, Next year, I might
be old enough to have my own hook and knife?”.

Thanks for reading my poetry
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