My Wee Gas Mask and other poems

In last month’s issue of the Voice we had a post filled with poems that had been exchanging both locally and across the world via an email Poem Exchange. The poems have kept coming over the past few weeks, so we have included here another post (in addition to our usual Poem of the Month) with some of the ones we have received. We have been really happy to have been sent some self-penned ones too. Enjoy them all and look out for some more in the June issue!

My Wee Gas Mask
by David Willis

In my wee gas mask, I’m working out a plan
Tho’ all the kids imagine that I’m just a bogey man
The girls all smile and bring their friends to see
The nicest lookin’ warden in the A.R.P.

Whenever there’s a raid on, listen to my cry
An airy-plane away-up-a-kye
Then I run helter-skelter but don’t after me
You’ll no get in my shelter for it’s far too wee

From Bill Trotter, in Samye Ling, who recalls this “Old Scottish song from my childhood”.

Poem 2

It has been some time since I saw your face
You over there and me here in my space

Only memories exist now of time gone by
Me with a smile and you a twinkle in your eye

In Samye Ling you potter about
Me in my home with texts, books, cats lying about.

Lockdown is indeed a prison term
I prefer to see it as retreat as we learn
Of attachments, longings for me and for you
And dreams where you said
‘seconds away, round two’

Ha ha ha!

Poem 3

When your joints were supple and your eyes were keen,
Your mind was sharp and your lens was clean
Your bones were strong your voice so clear
Those were the days so full of cheer

But age creeps up and joints get stiff
And if you smoked, it would be a spliff
But hey ho! Memories are keen
Imagination strong
And you can remember every word to old songs

Memories might fade, but love is still strong
And with wavering voice can still sing those old songs

Life, love and laughter are yours
And after the lockdown I’ll be knocking on doors..
Well, ringing your door bell
Standing on your rug
Giving you the biggest warmest hug…

Both Poem 2 and Poem 3 written by Jean, for Bill.

SOUL FOOD
By Christine Quarrel

LOVE
HOPE
KINDNESS
SPREAD
GENEROUSLY
AS
IF
OAN
TAE
A
BIG
THICK
PLANE
BREED
OOTSIDER
WAE
LURPACK
BUTTER
AN
BRICHT
RID
STRAWBERRY
JAM

Sma Poem

ma auld
faither in law
Wull
Miner Man
frae age 14
born 1912

aye talked
aboot
his neebour
doon the pit

warking in
hellish conditions
trust wis paramount

yon guid neebour
on yir shift
might huv
tae save yir life
or Wull save his

behove us aw
the noo
tae remember that

Neebours

ma auld
faither in law
Wull
Miner Man
frae age 14
born 1912

aye talked
aboot
his neebour
doon the pit

warking in
hellish conditions
trust wis paramount

yon guid neebour
on yir shift
might huv
tae save yir life
or Wull save his

behove us aw
the noo
tae remember that

Soul Food, Sma Poem and Neebours, from Christine Quarrel in Glasgow – Community Solidarity At This Time Will Push Us All Forward. CMQ c2020

Good News from a Rough Year
By Alistair McIntosh

And we laugh!
such fulsome laughter!
we catch each other’s eyes
and know
and overflow
and this love is the life that matters
this ecology of requiting relationship
this acceptance of surface reality
and its holdings in the deep beyond…
here is our dance
and our awakening is
the small dream opening
to the great
as flowing out
we wink back to the stars
our sanity affirmed
our hearts are confirmed
‘stardust….and golden’
some good things
have happened
this past year
and all shall be well
‘and all manner of things’
shall be very well

From Jane Davidson

Four Quartets from Little Gidding
By T.S. Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
No known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always –
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned know of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

From Elisabeth Rodeck, in Richmond, Surrey

Extract from the Waste Land

by T S Eliot

The river sweats
Oil and tar
The barges drift
With the turning tide
Red sails
Wide
To leeward, swing on the heavy spar
The barges wash
Drifting logs
Down Greenwich Reach
Past the Isle of Dogs.

From John Maxwell, in Birmingham, who said of the extract, “When I was a child cargoes were still being carried in barges under sail and this evokes romantic memories of the Thames and Medway.”

Wilbur is a Funny Pup
By Connie McKie

Wilbur is a funny pup
He likes to be cuddled
He will grow just like a horse
Maybe we will ride him

From Connie, age 6, of Lamlash, written on the arrival of their Great Dane puppy Wilbur.

Extract from ‘Hope, Faith and Love’, also known as “The words of strength”

By Friedrich von Schiller in 1786.

Have hope, though clouds environ now,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow,
No night but hath its morn.

From Alice Maxwell, in Lamlash.