Donations are essential to keep Write Out Loud going    

I would appreciate your honest thoughts please

95% of what I write is for comic effect, hopefully with an underlying message. But the other 5% is a little more serious, like this poem for my Father in Law who has dementia and now lives in a residential home, but has had the most astonishing and vivid life:


Over the shimmering Foyle
Flying south like two stray geese
We blether, excited together
Him, fiery haired, brows heavy
With thought and responsibility
A future minister if ever there was
Said my father, with that celestial smile
Of parochial satisfaction
And me, freckled, slim, summer brown
Pedalling frantically;

A cletter of chickens scratching
The grooves of the old stone floor
The hearth, always lit, smoky smell of turf
Kettle, black and heavy as the family Bible
Irons like stone hand axes, also black, black as the bog
with their dark, rubbed wooden handles
Gleaming brown jars stand and wait to be filled with flour or filled for bed
My grandfather and grandmother’s room in behind
Warm limed walls, cold white sheets folded
Fresh baked wheaten, tobacco
And farmyard stink intertwine
Irwin, all smile and sinewed arms
With shirt sleeves rolled above blackthorn elbows
You’re back boys, will we get the stumps out?

The cows wait for milking
Where the scuffed, seamed ball
Heavy in my hand
Slams against roof joists
The old pine table
With its wide creased boards,
Gouged, knotted, reflects the evening sun
Josha - you’re with me tomorrow.
The boy and I will take our brochan early, Katie
My Grandfather’s fingers;

Market Day
Seven long miles on the cart
A long time to be still with the old man beside me, clicking, nudging the reins
Listen Josha for what those boys want for yon heifer
So I stand solemnly listening to the strange country voices
Concentrating on important business
Men in dunchers, shoulder to shoulder
Red faced, talking in low tones at the rail, tapping their pipes,
polished walnut on iron;

Armed with the intelligence I tactically retreat
To the comfort of the tweed flank
A whispered incantation
Now the signal, eyes narrow
Over the grey moustache, gaunt, expressionless
As the red faced auctioneer babbles and knocks triumphantly

The journey back with beast in tow
Granda smiling, sleepy with stout
Granny Craig’s thin voice
Will you comb my hair Josha?
And as I comb the long, grey and white strands of silk
She smiles and mouths softly;

And so each summer
Dave and I
Farmed furrows of faith and family
And learned to play a straight drive with a straight bat
In a narrow byre

And now the hands that gripped the rubber handle and the leather ball and the warm fleshy teat

Are claws, locked like rooster’s feet

Sun, 26 Nov 2023 02:55 pm
message box arrow
Immensely enjoyable for the word pictures it paints, sucking us
seamlessly into lives and places so that we are like guests among
the gatherings. More please.👍
Sun, 26 Nov 2023 05:40 pm
message box arrow
I’m pleased you enjoyed it MC. I felt privileged to interpret the stories which are so clear (& important) to my father in law 80+ years on. You have encouraged me to try more!
Sun, 26 Nov 2023 08:25 pm
message box arrow

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message