Derek's Dominion

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I've included this poem Childhood Memories of Tollcross Park by my friend Isabel McEwing

Allan Scott Cuthbertson: A Valediction©

A man of erudition, intellect and wit
A lover of words and the origin of words
A writer of verse , he insisted, verse not poetry,
But a poet he was and much more besides.

A teller of tales - stories and monologues
In dialect, Scots and English, in a beautiful voice
That intoned and resonated with the rise and fall
Of line, recording the speech of ordinary folk

A man of enthusiasms, of the intricacies of things
The purr of the engine of his beloved MG,
A describer of detail with a deep imbued sense
Of the rightness of words.
A lover of languages, both the living and the dead.

Of more, much more could we bear witness
Much more in our memories will he survive
Much more we did not know- much more we had hoped for
But for the moment I'll let this restless pen rest.

A sadness descend in the sense of our loss
Farewell, our Allan, your voice will be missed
Sorely and sorely your voice will be missed
But the writing you left, and the smiles and the laughter
Will remain in our hearts when our sadness is past.

Derek Read March 2005


The Wounded Healer ©


I lost my way, holding onto a semblance
of respectability, thinking I had to endure
that which was painful, destructive
and in losing my status, my job, my position
I found again words.
Words, and people who loved words,
and sometimes they were difficult words,
difficult people.
But there was a strength in their fragility
a tenacity in their, and my, vulnerability
and I opened myself to the pain,
and the joy of it




The Spirit of the Park ©

Old hoary horse chestnut oldest living thing here in this oasis.
You spread your branches like open arms
you spread your fruit for mischievous weans.
Absorb the love - deflect the hate,
deep your love - deep your wisdom.

You have seen many changes - many lives,
nibbled by deer in the days of the Corbetts.
Saw, heard, sensed the last one shot
(was it in Wellshot road ? who knows, who knows.)
But if you could speak - what would you say ?
What would you caution, what convey to this troubled generation?

And yet maybe you do speak and we do not listen.
Maybe you're gladdened by new life and regeneration.
Maybe your spirit smiles over this place
You embody hope - and a grace we would be wise to heed.
Your Lordship
Your Hoariness
Your Dryadity


Poetry in the Park ©

We started quietly; friends gathering in the Old Courtyard
Some curious looks from passers-by
Peeking through the shadowed gateway on a sunny day
To gawk at the assembled pied-pipers
Sitting in a circle, each waiting their turn
To spout poetry to the birds and trees
And Magic the Horse.

And it went on, a summer of verse and song and fun
And sometimes it worked and spells were woven
And sometimes we didn't quite connect
(Like a dismembered workshop of one talented child
amidst chaos and brass bands and noise)
But even then wee Meagan produced a poetic stream
To gurgle down the Tollcross burn
And then the leaves began to turn
Gold and scarlet and brown

And on National Poetry day the bards gathered
Large and wee
to celebrate with fire and earth and water,
shouting to the cooling air Under the trees,
stories of ghosts whispering, singing, sighing
An idea of Halloween sparked in the fire
And three weeks later we laid those ghosts to rest

A phoenix rose.
To celebrate a new beginning
The Winter Gardens illuminating
Our path from past to future
And back again to present, as we gather here
With memories and hopes to kindle the flame.


Childhood Memories Of Tollcross Park © By Isabel McEwing

City of Glasgow famed for its green places
Of them all Tollcross is my own special oasis
As I stroll thru' the park
Childhood memories return
Of old wooden bridges and soft flowing burns.

Remember Cock Robin. Slain by an arrow
That came from the bow of that rotten wee sparrow.
That moth eaten deer that guarded the door
The beady eyed birds that looked ready to soar.

The warnings that read " don't walk on the grass"
And we patiently waited for Erchie to pass.
The power mad parky always blowing his whistle
If he caught you just looking at a wild growing thistle.

Exotic flowers, the shrubs and the fishes.
Hard earned pennies spent on unfulfilled wishes.
Taken for granted and often neglected
But loved and needed, I've always suspected

This is Tollcross Park.


Isabel McEwing



My Window ©

The window looks out onto the street. The High street - Tollcross Village - passing by in all its business as the traffic rattles the inadequate double-glazing. The unwelcome lorries, leviathans on a rat run, are trundling by.
I look out and see folk gossiping below (and not just the women, the men too, passing the time of day). The queue at the Post Office on Monday mornings is less animated, desperate for the largesse of the of the Giro book to feed the weans, or feed the Waverley, or the Provi or the Cally, or the loan shark or the catalogue. It's not all dark, though. People have time for each other, notice things, everyone recognises a face, spots a new face, ventures a smile or a wave or a nod. The pace is different and though there is poverty and drugs and occasional violence after drink fuels rivalries, at its heart it's still a village; precarious maybe, with furred arteries, but still a community of souls who care.
I like this Village, except when lorries rattle the windows: except when voices are raised in drunken anger. Then, I retreat behind my blinds, shut out my window on the world and wait for the storm to pass.



Sapientia Janua Vitae ©


Somehow I didn't get beyond a certain stage
In Latin - couldn't parse
Lost my feet in the trochees
My footing in iambic pentameters
And yet, some wisdom remained
Though Ceasar's wars passed me by
As I footled away at the back of the class.
I was a "soft-lad" - loved music, not rugger
Sang Glorias in the shower
After cross-country house-honours hell
But I wasn't a target, ran well
I dreamt away much of my youth
Girls, alien creatures across an invisible fence
Didn't join the tostesterone charge at the end of term
And ayway, they didn't figure
Mine was a furtive, if common, pleasure
Reaching down between lessons
For a quick feel of another's treasures, giggling with bravado
At home, too, the truth of my indiscretions, hidden from view
Schoolwrok suffered, Latin slumped
While my libido and confusion grew

It took a long time to realise a dream, catch a wisdom
To start to be content with myself, my difference
Echoes ring round an abandoned assembly; snatches of memories melody………

"……..gather, homing at sundown
back from the length and breadth of the world
…………….the wisdom, each one will have found
Sapienta Janua Vitae" *

*extract from Wirral Grammer School for Boys, School song Sapientia Janua Vitae (wisdom is the gateway to life)


Reflections on a Painting of Waterlilies ©

The white and gold above the depths
Of murky green
Depths above depths
Sky blue florets of hope

There is an agitation in the waters
A restlessness
A wind over water
Wind in grass
Waves of sadness, winds of joy
Waves of unrestrained emotions

In an act of creation
something comes of nothing
an idea, a sedd, a germ
and grows
and takes on its own life form

These moments come back to us
In the stroke of a brush
In the scratch of a pen
A haunting tune
A gesture of dance
Recreating each with different eyes
Different moods
But sharing the same moment

And so I make my Garden of Hope
My Picture of Serenity
Naming the flowers
White, gold and green above the depths




Hot Hallowe'en Cake ©


A sweat-lodge of a day

as the light recedes

weird misplacement of seasons

leaves of gold reflecting sunlight

presages of evil

dark forces denied, repressed

the time of waiting

the time of germination

delayed by ill-placed reflections of summer

deceived by denizens of darkness

like guising youngsters

entering each house

with mischievous shafts of sunlight

instead of wands of starlight

more unsettling than mistiness,

dark, cold dampness

an Indian Sambain, a sorrow-sun;

but maybe we're looking gift-horses

in gap-toothed and blackened mouths

we should perhaps take the apple offered

but be wary!

it might be poisoned.






Prisoners ©

And they said:
"This is the way
this is the truth
this is what we say"

And they said:
"you will do as you are told
you will not question
you do not count
you are worth nothing"

And they said:
"it is written
the words are ordained
we will not listen
to what is not written
we will not listen
to what we do not hear"

And they said:
"we will beat you
beat you to submission
you will be beaten
you will listen
you will hear our voice only
you will not hear the voice of dissention
you will bow
you will not sing"

And they said:
"you are not as we are
you are 'the other'
you are not human
you smell
you stink
you utter obscenities
you scum
you shit
you excrement
you effluent
you abortion
you devil's spawn
hell's creatures
remnants of Beelzebub
leftovers from the blood-feast
the gore and the grime"

And they said:
"you do not fit
you are not fit to lossen my shoelace
to kiss my arse
you follow the wrong sun
not of my own race
you answer not my creed
suffer and be damned

And so we will blame you
Brand you and maim you
We did not ask you to question
To query, refute our theory
To stand out from the crowd
To be bloodied, unbowed

We did not ask you
To be different from us
We did not ask you
To share our crust"

And then they said:
"who are you anyway?
who are your fathers?
where are your mothers?
why do you bleed?

Don't look at us that way
Don't plead with your eyes
Do not look, do not stare
Do not raise your head.
Don't you understand?"

We haven't an answer
Our postures not certain
Our futures unfounded
Our prophets confounded

And then they said:
"who are you anyway?
No! that's not possible,
They died out an age ago
The dream of the golden one
Legend of equality
Before kings were invented
And a throne raised above corn"

the stone catches the sunrise
and bars let in the light.
Who is the prisoner?
Who knows the right-

These ilusions of freedom
Cluster around
A tree on an horizon
A hologram of sound
Substance and sacrifice
A justified cause
The armies of petrified juggernauts
Grinding slowly and inexorably
To a long extended pause
Slide into the morass
The mud-encrusted pass
Which will not be breached
The stench wrenches the senses
The "enemy" is within reach
But somehow eludes us
Like a game of hide and seek
When we forget whom we were seeking
And what's hidden from view
The witch's mirror
And faqirest of them all
Cinderella's coachmen
And the midnight ball

Il ne passeront pas
Khyber and Khasi
Bin Laden's army
Twin tower and twin peaks
Who cares and who speaks
The communion and comedia
Of unspeakable evil
The communion and confederacy
Of angels of mercy

so they say:

On and on
Seeking an answer in blood and bullets
Seeking an answer ion words and hatred
Seeking an answer in music and mindfucks

And the rest?
The rest
.in silence
and silence
rest and silence
and a lung full of air
just breathing




Meditations on Mannequins at the Olde Burnt Barns ©


Two half-human staues adorn the L-shaped room
Images of bygone eras in this old, Olde Inn

Lascivious Neptune rescued from the sea
Arms back in gay bandon
P'haps sporting an erection
Concentrating on its hardness
Hard on the column neath the spume
Nelson's column, mayhap
"Kiss me Hardy,
kis me hard, Hardy"
the stench of the sea feeds the imagination
and the versatil reputation of sailors everywhere

At the entrance stands a village Red-Indian
Transported from duty outsdie tobacco cabin
Skirts round the stars and stripes
Wearing a political statement to cover
His modesty and betray his tribe
The wooden, exaggerated pose
A totem to cultural supremacy
And the warrior's disgrace

And yet other evidence is here
Of unbroken human spirit
And cultures that unite
Che Guevara Lynch, rooted in Galway
Green and red banners fluttering in the wind
That blows across the Bay of Pigs
Collens and Cadres united in grief

These images, memories, ghosts
Connect in a song to unite the human race
We are family
A rainbow of diversity
A complicated fusion of Salsa, Waltz and Kabuki
Koh and Creole, Wagner and Picasso
T'ai Chi and Dervish, Kathakali and Calypso
And "green grow the rashes 'o"
Over drums from Biafra
And flutes from Belfast
The beat from New Orleans
The melody from the spheres
The dance of the queers
The dance of wild women
The dance of the dispersed and the despised
Here now before your very eyes

Won't you join us?
Won't you join us?
Won't you join us now?

In the wedding of the year
In the union of tears
In joyous celebration
Of the banishment of fear


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