Thursday, September 23

A poem for Thursday.

"Public toilets have a duty to be accessible...poetry does not".- Geoffrey Hill.   Many thanks to Jim at "The truth about lies". I'm on a winner here, even I don't quite understand what this one means!

We often used to travel back and forth from Warrington to Belfast via the Stranraer Ferry.As my brother was always interested in the maternal side of the family tree, being perverse, I decided to search out the beginnings of the McClelland clan my father's side. So we found Balmaclellan village on the map, as we knew that it was in the Galloway area.
We found an ancient castle, still standing, still lived in, all be it then by a Swedish Count.
He invited us in to look around once he knew that I had been born a McClelland.
The original tower structure was 12thC. and other parts had subsequentially been added in the 1700s. It was quite small as castles go, but impressed me and gave me a sense of generational history. My part of the family had left in the 17thC. and when I wondered how they could ever have left such a beautiful part of Scotland, I was told that they were probably thrown out as cattle thieves! Oh dear...then another in the village told me not to worry as they were all cattle thieves on the borders in those days.... a necessity of life.
So that is where this came from and the thoughts going through my mind at the time.


Birth and death still join their hands
with living in between.
And imperfection rides the land
like some Imperial Queen.

There, Warrington and Belfast
are mixed up in a stew,
And boiled together on the flame of life
'til each imbues
 it's flavour on the other one.

For one is birth ,the other death
 and one is death the other birth.

Those stories we were told
while small
and at the mother's knee,
Of black and white
of birth and death
No longer lie so easily
in regimented
homely grooves.

Now I have lost the meaning
of so many of those truths.

Hmmm... the place is up for sale and I feel a personal loss..just a bit far for a day out!


  1. Great poem, could we all club together?

  2. Have you seen how much per month? The kidlets would love it ...what do you think?!

  3. Fab poem Gerry.. intrigued by some of your stories.. Thanks for sharing xxx

  4. No, don't worry about the cattle thieving. According to my Grandparents one of my ancestos was a pirate.

    Very much enjoyed the poem. It works very well for me.

  5. When I read those opening lines:

            Birth and death still join their hands
            with living in between.

    I envisaged three people posing for a photo: Birth on the one side, Death on the other with their arms linking behind Life. Not sure if that’s what you had in mind but I thought I’d let you know.

  6. Thankyou Jim...I feel what is written here but sometimes I wonder if others think that maybe it's a load of words!! I love how they feel in my mouth and head and ears! does that nmake any sense at all?

  7. Hi again, for what it's worth, I thought I'd add another four pennyworth and say I thought the same as Jim. What you say in reply makes perfect sense, particularly the suggestion - if I've read it aright - that feeling comes before thought and words for you.

  8. We're not responsible for out ancestors, so worry not. Must mention, I love McLelland extra strong cheese! LOL :) Enjoyed your poem, an' all...

  9. It's a good job that we are not to be held responsible Jinksy...don't you think! Thanks for popping over to the site. I appreciate all of the comments.


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