Happy Hogmanay

Happy Hogmanay

Och the loch, another year
out stays its welcome,
and I will forgive a tear,
as I drink a wee dram to toast
what leaves and what draws near.

Now even Sassenachs,
tuther side of Hadrian’s Wall,
will be singing Auld Lang Syne,
though they never toss a caber tall.

Knowing only a few words,
not knowing what they mean,
but I will not begrudge them
in my kilt of tartan brown and green.

Robbie Burns was a Lowlander,
but I can forgive him that,
up here in my Highland croft
where no field is ever flat.

An Irishman once told me,
he saw a haggis hopping in the glen.
A rare sight, I told him,
and wrote down the where and when.

I will drink to my bonny Flora,
she still makes my bannocks burn.
I will play the old pipe tunes for her,
till she grinds me like a quern.

Though mist may gloom the mountain,
and rain may flood the brae,
I wish you not thorns and thistles,
but a happy Hogmanay.


Ordinary Days

Ordinary Days

I like ordinary days,
when nothing special happens.
No memory of them stays,
forgotten when you draw the curtains.

On ordinary days,
you can get back to normal,
back to customary ways,
relax and not be formal,
mention only the weather
in your journal.

On ordinary days,
nothing much is reported on the news,
you buy no new batteries or shoes.
On ordinary days,
you can focus on your crossword clues.

Most of the days in your life
are ordinary days,
so in them you should find pleasure.
Some are winter grey,
others summer blue,
each one a gem treasure.

When I look down at my feet,
I see my path, clear and narrow,
for my journey to complete,
learn a lesson from the sparrow,
sat content upon a branch,
free of the fields to harrow.

On ordinary days,
you have time for dreams,
to wish they will come true.
On ordinary days,
my dream is to spend
each one of them with you.

Song For The Sparrows

Song For The Sparrows

Thank you sparrows for staying,
for not going with swallows and swifts,
for chirping in my garden,
while the cold wheel of winter shifts.

You are taken for granted,
so common, not a surprise to see.
Bird watchers search not for you,
you are not a rare sight on a tree.

Humble and ever alert,
you scout out your kin in the air.
I thought I’d just like to tell you,
I am very glad you are there.

Well, I’m getting myself together,
to reform my one man band,
so I can take any rough weather,
so I can make a strong stand.

Maybe this is the middle,
I don’t know how this story will end.
I listen to the sparrows,
as with rain branches blacken and bend.

This song is for the sparrows,
few are faithful and humble as them.
When you admire the flower,
remember the root and the stem.

Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Philip Dodd

Layered Pages


I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Philip Dodd to today to talk with me about his book, Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle. Philip was born in 1952, lives in Liverpool, England, has a degree in English literature from Newcastle University, and has been writing songs, stories and poems since he was twelve. His first book, Angel War, was published in April, 2013. A work of fantasy fiction, rooted in The Bible, it was chosen as a finalist in The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards in 2013. His second book, Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle, was published in March, 2015. A work of light-hearted science fiction, it was chosen by indieBRAG as a Medallion Honoree in October, 2015. His third book, Still the Dawn: Poems and Ballads, was published in October, 2015.

He has had poems published in his local newspaper, the…

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Lullaby For Bethlehem

Lullaby For Bethlehem

I was told I was part of a war,
to decide which side I fought for.
I laid aside whatever armour I wore,
to be a spirit naked and pure.

Was this the way?
Is this the way we came?
Is that the street?
Or did it have a different name?
How did we get lost?
Who now can we blame?

Remember the flower and the stem,
the lullaby for Bethlehem?

Yes, I do.
And as I ran, I said:
It’s all true. It’s all true.
The world is cold,
still on its slide from its fall.
Some words I recall.

The shepherds hear the angels sing,
bring tidings of a new born king.
Sure as the flower and the stem,
a star shines over Bethlehem.

A child lay in the golden straw,
a mother kneeling down before.

Yes, they are some of the words.
There were more.

He walked upon the waters wide,
he gathered many to his side.

This is the way.
I remember that sign.
Now we know where we are.
So good we are together,
so glad you are mine.
Still there is Bethlehem,
the flower, the stem,
the stable, the star.



A ship slips from harbour
with no captain or crew on board.
It seems in dreams,
the heart has no shelter,
the soul cannot be shored.

A church stands with no bell,
its priest wears white but serves no lord.
It seems in dreams
no reason is given,
conclusions are obscured.

Wind wake, spirit stir.
Cathedral builds in the air,
I think of it and I am there.
In the nave, I light a candle,
my mind on your name,
my prayer flickers with the flame.

Stone angel blows his horn
above the balcony,
clear as the organ pipes,
seems to say to me:
We know there are hearts to heal,
there are souls to save.
The sea is deep and wide,
but we watch every wave.

Later, I leave the cathedral.
Behind me, the candle I lit for you,
unmelted, glows in the nave.



Green Owl

Green Owl

Green owl I have never seen
for such a bird has never been,
listen yet to my true word,
a bunch of leaves on a tree
shifted to form an owl
with eyes and feathers green,
so wild in my garden tame,
watched through my window,
soft, low, I heard it hoot your name.
To maps of lands that never were,
that never could be,
to other worlds, strange kingdoms
green owl clutched the key,
will remain the lure
to reach your longed for shore.