Scots Poems



Gouged lang afore this battered isle
Wis ga’en a name tae caa its ain,
The caves o the King gape like wounds
Cut deep intae Arran’s armoured side.

Here, generations o men hae carved
Thir mark intae sanstane waas.
Here, time hides in the dark, darin aa
Tae enter an feel its cal embrace.


Anither tide cackles alang
Arran’s ragged edge,
As if laffin at
The attempts o men
Tae fashion a hame
In this barren place,
Whar even the hardest hert
Wid fin sparse cumfirt.

An yet, wun life an waar
Conspire agin ye,
An aa ye crave is shelter,
Then even a cave
Can seem a palace,
Wi saan deep as ony carpet,
An each stane the saftest pilla,
Fit fir a Kings heed.

The froth o another tide
Bursts alang this cauld
Scottish shore-line.

At this precise meenit,
Thir is nae ither soond,
Even the gulls are quaet.

A lone stalk o seaweed,
Like a loaded quill pen,
Presses intae wet saan.

The moment hings, an then,
Jist as anither page
Threatens tae slowly turn,

A finger o a wave rises,
As if ready tae shoosh
A stirrin wean.

The forest is wunnin agane
In its ain relentless wey.
It is pullin this auld cottage
Back intae its deeper sel,
Reclaimin this precious space,
Slowly restorin the balance.

It is natyir that is crackin
Thae waws, its weighty growth
That his broken through the roof.
But, there is no real daith here,
Thir is only life that can
Nae longer be held at bey.

Ye arrived here by chance,
Noo tak the time tae look aroon.
Touch new leaves, smell wild floors,
Feel the air, fresh frae the forest.
Tak yer leave in yer ain guid time, 
This is nae need tae snek the gate.

Stair Park, a caul December efternuin,
Stranraer, at hame tae the micht o Forfar.
A’m nae mair than eicht years auld, an clingin
tae ma grandfaither’s haun, stampin the glaur
o mud an ash in an effort tae keep
warm. “They’re a team o triers son, a team
o triers. Ye can ask nae mair”, his heid
floatin on a sea o pipe reek, his een
gleamin as he tuik the gemme in. Stranraer
won, twa nil! “First gemme eh! Ye’re ma lucky
mascot”. He bent doon, wrapped me in his scarf,
“A wee victory son, juist a wee victory”.
He spoke slow, so that a could unnerstaun,
Granda, a miss yer voice, a miss yer haun.

The stanes o this auld dyke are free,
yet each depends upon the ither.
It is the dyker’s skill that binds them,
his een provided the mortar.

Run yer haan alang its rough side,
feel hoo each boulder plays its pert.
Feel its simple strength, abune aa,
feel the years pulsin through its hert.

Thir are those
Wha seek meanin
In the alignment 
O staunin stanes.

Wha line up
The stars an mune
An track the shaddies
Imprintit by the sun.

Thir are ithers
Wha accept a mystery
Fir whit it is,
Beyon an answer,

Perhaps it is eneuch
To staun an look
Within these places.
The stanes become

Question merks
Embedded in
The deep pages 
O the lanscape.

Sumtimes, wi can
Dig too deep,
An tapple too
Mony unknowns.

Thir is space eneuch
Tae leave alane,
Tae wunner an dream,
As wi search

Fir yon lane stane
We ken is oot there,
But is alwise
Jist oot o reach.


Welcome to my blog “Photos-Poetry-Haiku”. I hope you enjoy your visit. I am an Amateur Photographer / Poet from Dumfries in beautiful South West Scotland.

Evening Sail

I enjoy Minimalist Photography, sometimes single images, sometimes multiple images on a theme. Most images here will be in colour but I’ll include black and white images too.

Dalton Old Kirk

My poems tend to be short, I’m a Scot after all and words are precious things! I also write in Scots dialect. Whether Scots is a separate language or not, I’ll leave to others, I just like to write.

The above probably explains my interest in Haiku and its associated forms. I agree with the statement that syllable and line count are not vital in contemporary English (Scots!!!) language haiku. Many writers produce fine haiku using the 5-7-5 syllable count, however, I feel that counting English syllables in this way can make the haiku too long and can loose the essential quality of the form. Haibun are prose poems that use embedded haiku to enhance the overall effect, although the haiku should be able to stand on its own without referring to the prose. Haiga combine an image with a haiku in the same relationship as the two parts of a haibun.

Anyway, enough of the arty-farty stuff. Please use the menu to navigate, I’ll add and update as I go on, I’m still new to this! Also, please feel free to comment, one of the main points of this is to connect with like minded people.


Sea and Stone

The air is full of the sea. I can feel my feet sink into the sand at the tide’s edge. In my hand I have a stone. My eyes are closed.

A woman is helping her child to walk down a rocky shore. Where the water begins they stop. Before them lies a whole sea, stretching all the way to the sky. The child is a boy, no more than four years old. He is full of wonder.Now the woman is talking to the child, she is telling him of the times her mother brought her here to share the sea;of how the sea has many faces; of how the sea comes and goes as it chases the moon; of how the sea will always be.                                                                                               The woman bends down. She runs her hand through the stones at her feet, she is searching. She picks up a stone, lays it on her palm and examines it for a while. She closes her hand around it and stands up. The boy is watching. The woman smiles, then she throws the stone into the sea. The boy watches the arc of the stone, he watches the splash, he watches the ripples spread out to shatter the reflection of the sky.It is the boy’s turn to bend down. He does not chose just one stone, he gathers up handfuls of small pebbles and shells. He straightens and takes a step towards the water. Then, instead of throwing his bounty, he scatters them like seeds on the very edge of the sea. His mother smiles. ”0ne at a time”, she says, “one at a time”.The boy does not understand.

I open my eyes and cast my stone. I watch its arc, anticipate the splash…

ripples trying to fill the sea one stone at a time                                                                                                                                  

Remembrance Parade    
                                                                                                                                                                           I remember my grandfather, remembering. 

The black coat he wore, the hat with the small feather. How he merged with the other black coats that lined the route of the remembrance parade.

The Boys Brigade, at the back as usual. Following our ex-army leader, with his cap at just the right angle, his polished swagger stick, his constant "“Lef… lef… lef… “

Standing at attention at the memorial, with the rain washing the dye from our pill-box hats down our faces.

The company flag, hanging there. Thinking how faded it looked and how it smelled of mothballs when we found it in the Kirk Hall basement.

A glance at the cemetery on the way home.

war graves
In neat rows
young men’s names.

Auschwitz I remember reading that no birds sing here. Yet, here I am, walking down the infamous ramp, listening to a bird I cannot see. Perhaps it is afraid to show itself. Perhaps it thinks its song is inappropriate but it cannot keep quiet. I am glad of its song. I need something to hang onto.

empty huts – gravel crunching – beneath my feet



I am walking
along familiar paths,
listening to bird song
drifting down
from the same old sky.

Yet, there is a change
in the air, a shift,
a new old same old.
Beneath that tree,
a broken shell, a feather.
Winter Jetty

There is a beauty
In the cold,
In the white loch,
In the sparkle of winter.

This is a time
When all stops, 
All holds its breath,
Water is held still.

Here is a moment
To pause for a while,
And then to listen
To nothing...nothing at all.

I miss the sound of the sea,
as it unfolds upon a shore,
the chatter of shell and stone
as the tide pulls and flows.

And when I’m free again,
I’ll renew along the edge
of land and sea and pledge
never to presume...
                   never to forget.
Whitesands, Dumfries (May 2020)

The Nith is low for this time of year,
Small islands have appeared midstream,
A heron guards a dawdling Caul.

The windows are barred on The New Bazaar,
There’s a light burning in The Piccalo,
A bus coughs from an empty bus stance.

A young couple descend the Auld Brig steps,
Their laughter disturbs a stubborn gull
That skips to another patch of tarmac.

Just beyond the deserted car park,
A shaft of light strikes the Suspension Bridge.
Clouds are clearing, the sun is coming out.