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The Glory And The Dream (A Poetic History Of Celtic Football Club )

On the day my club win the treble of Championship , League Cup, and Scottish Cup I take a poetic journey on Celtic through the ages from our formation in a church hall in the Calton, to a treble clinching Scottish Cup Win at Hampden this afternoon. I have given it the title The Glory  And The Dream in tribute to Tom.Campbell and Pat Woods who are the co-authors of the best ever history of our club .I hope you enjoy the read .

The Glory And The Dream

In a church hall in the Calton

a football club was born 

to feed the people of Glasgow’s East End

 who had fled famine and starvation 

inflicted on their nation 

by a cold and callous imperial United Kingdom 

but though founded to assist the Irish catholic poor 

our founders made sure no-one was excluded 

on the grounds of colour, creed,  or religion 

we would make it our mission 

to play up and play the game 

Willie Maley was the first man to claim 

the manager’s chair

moulding  teams with passion and flair 

which would be the Celtic way 

from our earliest days 

we would start as we meant to go on

attacking play to entertain the fans 

on terracing and in the stands 

this would be of paramount importance in our club’s story 

we play not for wealth and riches 

we play for the glory and the dream 

right from the early years 

when Maley built our first all conquering team 

set records not equalled till Stein 

made legends in green and white

Sunny Jim Young, and Jimmy Hay 

had their days in a trophy laden side

Quinn, and Gallagher added their names to the legacy 

that will be forever Celtic 

as did Johnny Thomson the bravest of the brave 

who went to his death to save us from defeat against Rangers 

and James and Willie McStay 

played a part in our story 

and even now when you mention Jimmy McGrory 

fans still know a name which  like so many others 

is immortalised in the songs we sing 

the post war years would bring us difficult times 

trophies like food still rationed in paradise 

as in the period between the wars 

we faced challenges with only occasional success

one off trophies were what we did best 

Exhibition and Coronation Cups 

both decked in green and white 

in the early to mid fifties whilst still  single 

my dad had in his words a team worth cheering 

a double built on that coronation victory 

fashioned by a half back line of Peacock, Evans, and Stein 

and the wing wizardry of Charles Patrick Tully 

who when he scored direct from a corner  

was ordered to take it again 

he did and placed it

 in exactly the same spot of the Falkirk net 

In 1957 and not long married came a memory

the old man would never forget 

when Lambhill’s finest Billy McPhail 

played a part in Hampden glory 

in a game forever etched in our club’s story 

as Rangers were crushed 7-1 in the league cup final that year 

as our fans cheered Hampden success 

we would be tested once more 

and for seven long seasons 

the trophy room would have none of the major honours 

to display to our faithful support 

the turning point came with the appointment of Stein 

a tactical genius who built teams to play in the traditions of the club

the man who had spies in every pub 

built a team capable of winning the European Cup 

and breaking down Inter Millan’s rock solid defence 

relentless attack was the plan 

which would take the team to glory 

on the greatest night in Scotland’s sporting history 

as with pride in the jersey 

and fire their hearts 

bhoys became men 

and lambs became lions 

under the Lisbon sun 

we won everything we entered 

that golden season 

including the second of nine successive titles 

Stein would create three sides during this time 

some of the football sublime to watch 

it was the way the game should played 

as names  like McGrain , Connolly , Hay and Dalglish 

gradually replaced the heroes of Lisbon 

with Atiken , Burns, and McCluskey coming later 

fulfilling potential under Ceaser 

the man who captained our club

 on the greatest night in our history 

now in the gaffer’s chair 

he crafted a team built on guile and imagination 

the inspirational skills of Charlie Nicholas and Paul McStay 

showed that we will always put talent before age 

if your good enough to play the game 

 Celtic Park will be your stage 

as it was for McClair , McGarvey , McAvennie, McGhee 

Provan and McLeod 

in the dark depressing society that was 1980’s 

there free flowing football did the hoops proud 

though rewards were thinner on the ground 

than a team of their talents deserved 

a centenary double was won

with a McAvennie brace at Hampden

 in the sunshine of a may afternoon

the fitting reward for a club in the mood for a party 

but just when we thought we were flying  high 

the next nine years reminded us 

that sometimes even great clubs 

have barren years 

hopes were soon replaced by fears

then in 1994 our fans made a stand  

and by their actions saved the club

we love 

we demanded changes

the board had to be replaced 

and a man in a bunnet saved the day 

Fergus believed in the Celtic way 

and slowly but steadily we were back on the road to recovery 

we were playing great football under Tommy Burns

the bhoy from Soho Street 

who when he played was a poet with a ball at his feet 

whose twists and turns had those in the stands

 jumping up from their seats 

and the jungle chanting  his name 

but unfortunately the trophies never came 

and with Rangers equalling our  nine in a row 

we had to make a change 

heartbreaking though it was

It was the right decision 

though when we brought in Wim Jansen 

from Dutch champions Feyenoord 

some of our fans said oh my god 

what have we done 

but cometh the hour cometh the man

and our Dutch master had a plan 

he signed Marc Reiper to shore up our back four

he bought in Burley and Lambert midfield men who could score 

but the best thing he ever did for Celtic 

was sign a bhoy called Henrik 

and with the addition of one or two others

discovered we had a team 

capable of writing an important chapter in our story 

we stopped 10 in a row I was there to see it done 

when at 4.31 on the 9th May 1998 

Harold Brattback was fated to be the man

 who brought the title home 

and sparked scenes of celebration 

from our fantastic support 

Paradise was a sea of green and white

we were back where we belonged 

champions of Scotland 

then as sometimes  happens

we didn’t build on the progress of that season

Wim was allowed to leave 

and for a couple of years we were underachieving again 

until Martin O’Neill took the reins 

in  his first old first old firm game 

we had a beautiful Sunday which brought a 6-2 victory 

we were_3-0 up in just 11 minutes

personally I thought we let them off lightly 

 like all our fans I was delighted with a treble won in style 

football with a smile has always been 

the way we played the game 

yes we’ve had heartbreaks along the way 

Seville was a hard one to take 

especially as we watched 

our greatest rivals claim the treble 

but it fired our determination to succeed 

and in the main the early years of the new millennium 

have belonged to us 

Sutton , Hartson , and the Hooperman 

provided, goals to savour

and Petrov and Lennon the engine room for our success

Lubo’s artistry was something I was blessed to watch 

in the years since then  players and managers have come and gone 

but the glory and dream lives on

and in this history making season

a team unbeaten, in all domestic competitions

won the treble with flair and ambition

by playing the Celtic way 

now there are new heroes

who in years to come will be named 

when this generation are grandparents 

as they remember Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogic Moussa Demeble, Craig Gordon, and Scott Sinclair 

they will talk of Kieron Tierney, Leigh Griffiths,  and Scott Brown 

and the 5-1 thrashings handed to Rangers at home and away. 

by the team that Brendan made

they will recall with pride the days we dug deep and ran on  empty 

because we are Celtic and that is what we do to win

for our  ever faithful fans 

it is the spirit of the club 

the beating heart of every Celtic team 

we play up and play the the game

and we do it  for the glory and the dream 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Tears At The Bells

Hey Readers

In this my first poem of 2017, I think on new year memories and why as, I celebrated Celtic’s hogmanay victory over Rangers at Ibrox I wept as I thought of my dad in the early hours of ne’erday. I’ve titled it Tears At The Bells I hope you enjoy the read.  

Tears At The Bells

I have to admit there were tears at the bells
as I looked to the sky and thought of my dad
It’s always the same at the New Year
especially if we cheered the hoops to victory against Rangers
they all counted but for some reason
the ne’erday  game mattered more
my dad knew the score
we would always be underdogs in this city
for as long as Scotland remained a British colony
equality wasn’t something they would ever do
the we are the people brigade
deluded themselves they were the chosen few
and still do even though the world moves on
and the empire has no chance of striking back
the union jack was never a comfort blanket
not for our kin
we play the only way we know
the Celtic way isn’t just to win
it’s to do in style
I think he would be proud
of the team we’re building
though he wouldn’t hear talk of Dembele  being the new Henrik
Celtic would always need different players for different times
each would be heroes in the hoops
as long as they wore them with pride
played with passion and gave our fans there all
he would have marvelled
at some of our play
but bemoaned our careless defending
whilst I would accept it
as a risk we have to take
because of the team we are
the team we will always be
a club like no other
if you know the history
and history was something
he taught me well
last night as I listened to The Wild Colonial Boy, Scottish Breakaway, and The John MacLean March
my rebel heart was lifted
I should have resisted
not listened to Flight Of Earls but as I did so
I thought of him
and I knew they’d be Tears At The Bells.

@ Gayle Smith 2017

Flag In The Wind ( A Christmas Message For The Comfortable Tendency)

Hey Readers

On day 7 of Blogmas I’m getting ever so slightly political as I send an uncompromising message to those Brexiters who are in the I’m alright union jack brigade., You know, the comfortable tendency who seem to think that the only threat to the Britain they love is whoever the Tory press tells them it is rather than realising they will never get the change they seek by supporting the establishment and demonising people whose only crime is to move to this country as migrants have always done in search of a better life.

It was to get rid of these xenophobic attitudes I voted yes to independence 2014 and to remain in the European Union earlier this year. You see I recognise the contribution that migrants have made to both Scottish and British society. Indeed a few generations ago some members of the paternal side came over Ireland to settle in Scotland and it’s with those roots firmly planted in my heart that I say no to the Brexiters and their toxic anti immigrant views. I have given the poem the title Flag In The Wind I hope you find it a thought provoking read.

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Flag In The Wind.

Britain must ban migrants

says a man who;waves his flag in the wind

standing isolated on the edge of the cliff

he tells me we’ve started to win

our country back for its citizens

I listen not wanting to reply

before hearing him out

he tells me about our glorious history

of the magna carta and defeating the Armada

I politely inform him his story is English not British

the United Kingdom didn’t come to being

till long after these events

he seems nervous as if I’ve shattered his contented view

of this mythical green and pleasant land

he was brought up to believe in

I say as a Glasgow girl I have different priorities

and excluding those he calls foreigners

it not amongst them

he claims it’s disgusting what they do

says he believes in the red, white, and blue

I ask him how he came to this conclusion

he countered it’s the right solution for our country

If we don’t get rid of them

things could turn ugly

after all they are stealing our jobs and our money

taking our homes and not contributing to our economy

no wonder our country’s in poverty

he stops for breath as if collecting his thoughts

I inform him there are many of us

who wouldn’t agree with his beliefs on migration

people from other nations

have always done their bit for our economic health

done the jobs natives felt beneath them

as a Glaswegian I know my city was built on immigration

the beating heart of the nation

and the empire’s second city

imported workers to fill the jobs

in heavy industries like coal and shipbuilding.

the Irish turned parts of the city green

the Italians, Poles, and Lithuanians

filled the gaps left by Scots

who ventured to Canada and Australia

Immigrants are not money grabbing failures

they are made out to be

by UKIP, Britain First , and BNP

and the Conservatives and the Labour Party

should not be pandering to this belief

when the evidence supports the opposite view

we don’t need to teach anyone British values

or Scottish ones come to that

Diaspora’s have generations of success

to use as examples to the Romanian family in Castlemilk

or the Syrians who settled in Shettleston

and see that Baby in Bethlehem

he was a Palestinian

I challenge him by saying

If you’re going to call yourself a Christian

then act in the way that Jesus would want

don’t haunt the hearts of the gullible

this country may be in trouble

but it’s not the so-called foreigners who cause it

I know there’s unemployment

but it’s Tory austerity that’s causing the issues

the man then says Scotland should let Westminster decide what’s best

I tell him attitudes like that

are the reason I voted yes

and though we didn’t gain our independence

we got a large enough vote share to make the city nervous

but why you would want to leave us

he asks without a trace of irony

not realising that Thatcher and Blair left a toxic trail

Jesus was nailed to a cross for less

but this member of the comfortable tendency

still refused to blame anyone but those the daily mail demonises

I tried mentioning the House Of Lords

making him aware of how much of his money is spent

on this unnecessary white elephant

the only purpose of which is to gift the wealthy elderly

the chance to sleep indoors

rather than face the cold they gift to others

less fortunate than themselves

he shakes his head refusing to understand

his poverty will never be cured

by the establishment he defends

they have no interest in him

to pretend otherwise is to lie only to himself

and wave a flag in the wind

which will blow him away on the coldest night of winter.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Kitchen Of Hate

Hey Readers

I wrote this poem in a state of shock, horror, and disbelief. You see whilst I was tucking in to a lovely meal with good friends some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens were being refused one of the most basic of all human needs. These Glaswegians were being discriminated against by a far right organisation on the grounds of race and ethnicity at a whites only food bank.

The idea of such an organisation being allowed to peddle their hate in this way is something I find so ridiculous, offensive, and disgusting that it is beyond the comprehension of any decent citizen. I’ve given it the title Kitchens Of Hate I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Kitchen Of Hate

Shocked
stunned
and horrified
I couldn’t believe
what I read
the headline said
the was a whites only
food bank
at the weekend
whilst I tucked in
to a lovely meal
in the company of friends
discrimination was taking place
in our city centre
the far right Brits
better together never talked about
during the referendum
were dishing out parcels of ignorance
preying on the most underprivileged
no doubt hoping to recruit
the less politically aware
to their brand of Britishness
which I know my unionist friends
will condemn
no matter how much I disagree with their views
on Scotland’s future direction
I know those serving
at the kitchens of hate
do not, have not, and will never represent them
in the words of George Michael
I say it’s time to listen without prejudice
in this new Scotland
it’s important not to go back to the past
the empire is dead
we have to realise that
the days of apartheid
died with the victory of Mandela
there will be no golden dawn
with the politics of evil
only false ones
national affronts
we can live without
as we move on to tomorrow
and refuse to taste the poison of bitterness

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Three Shifts For The Cause (The Story Of Election Day 2016)

Hey Readers As you will no doubt be aware Thursday was election day as Scotland went to the polls to elect our new parliament.  As an active member of a political party in my case the SNP I decided that after I went out to vote I would go down to the hub and see what needed to be done.

On arrival at my polling station I was greeted by my two local Labour councilors and I enjoyed a political chat and personal catch up’s with Jim Coleman and Marie Garrity. I joked with them that the last time I saw the two of them together on the day of the 2012 council elections I ended up with such bad sun burn it was still with me till Burns night and beyond  and I think it’s  safe to say history has repeated itself and as yet again I turn a deeper shade of red than any of their party’s policies. Yes I know it’s a cheap shot but there is a strong possibility that Marie may be reading this which makes it too good an opportunity to miss.

On casting my votes both for the SNP I made my way to Parkhead to a very busy hub where our campaign manager and very own version of wonder woman Alexis Deans was ready to place me on polling place duty almost as soon as I arrived. Little did I know it at the time but this would be the first of three shifts I would undertake in the name of the cause.  Well Alexis did say I would be well used during the course of the day and believe me this is a woman who keeps her promises.

My first stint was at St Michael’s school in Parkhead which is just a five minute walk from the hub. I was sent there with another volunteer as intelligence had reached us that there were no fewer than eight Labour activists on patrol. This turned out to be ever so slightly wrong and there were actually no Labour activists at the school. You see the people concerned were actually members of the Unison trade union who were holding a picket line at the entrance to the school in support of school janitors or as its known in Glasgow Justice For Jannies. On assuring them that I as a former unison member would never cross a picket line on the grounds of principal I wished them well with their campaign and was now ready to start mine and leaflet as many voters as is possible during my time on duty.

My report card from this polling  station was that it was looking good for us and even in the early afternoon our supporters were confident of victory. During my short stint I encountered a lot of positive progressive Scots who have been greatly encouraged by the SNP and our vision of a better fairer and more inclusive society. Whilst on duty I also saw a couple of familiar faces who stopped to chat before going in to cast their votes and it was nice to enjoy a catch up with them before getting on with the business of winning more votes for my party.

It was during this stint that I had to deal as delicately as possible with comments from someone who described herself as a non voter. The woman in question said she wouldn’t vote for any party because immigrants were given all the jobs and were also given preference in housing allocation and that we were being flooded by what she referred to as these people.

Chatting on such difficult topics is always challenging and can be potentially explosive if you are in any way caught short with your answers or appear to be either aggressive or patronising in your tone. Fortunately however I listened to a woman who had experienced  her own hardship giving the chance to articulate  her views and then to the best of my ability attempted to give her the answers she sought.

I explained to her that Immigration was a reserved matter which was still under the control of Westminster. This I said was important as it meant Scotland had no control over our immigration policy. I then explained why immigration is good for both the economy and society and that the people who preach the toughest line on this are those who own our press and media many of whom live most of the year overseas.

As her initial comment was made about Syrians, I decided to make their story a wee bit more personal to her. I did this by explaining that as someone who has faced hardship herself, she would appreciate the difficult circumstances the vast majority of refugees found themselves in having to travel across both countries and continents to escape not only hardship but the horrors of war. Needless to say by the end of our chat the woman agreed with my sentiments especially when I pointed out that there is more than enough room in our country for all who want to live here and that austerity was not necessary but the deliberate choice of a Westminster government which would sooner make those on low income pay for the mistakes of the rich who they refuse to tax.

As we ended our discussion she said that she may consider voting after all as I had taken the time to explain things to her without talking down to her. This potentially difficult conversion was I think a triumph for my diplomatic skills and a vindication of the women for independence approach to politics that we do politics differently from men.

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Eventually however after an hour or so I was called back to the hub to be sent after being refuelled with coffee and cake for duty at a much larger polling place and that is it turned out was my local polling station St Bridget’s which is located in the heart of Baillieston and less than a five minute walk from my home.  During a busy a couple of hours in the mid afternoon sun I saw many familiar faces as they came to play their part in the democratic process.

It is I think interesting that an  older voter  asked me if I thought  it was right that to use their words weans at 16 should be able to vote. This is a question I have often been asked by this particular demographic group  and they are almost all universally shocked when I reply that they should and further enhance my support of the idea by saying that many of the young voters are far more clued up on the issues of the day than their parents and grandparents.

Now I don’t know why the majority of the older generation look stunned at this comment but in my experience the inescapable fact is that they do. I must stress however that this is my personal opinion and other people may have a very different story to relate.

To me, my support for this cause has been long standing and is due to the fact that I believe in the political evolution of our society, and the educational progress of our younger citizens. I say this in the sense that with a greater number of resources at their disposal including access to both smart phones and the internet this generation has a wider range of more effective educational tools with which to undertake their research on political and other matters and therefore the capacity to be far more politically aware.

As if to prove my point one of my highlights of a glorious sunny day was when a young voter challenged me on fracking saying the Labour Party said fracking was bad and they were going to ban it. I stated that I wasn’t 100 percent sure this could be done but that the SNP had introduced an ongoing moratorium which meant no fracking could be introduced whilst the moratorium was in place. On explaining this to the girl concerned I said that the difference between my evidence based answer and Labour’s empty slogan, was the difference  between a party of government and a party of opposition who had no real hope of winning the election and could therefore promise whatever they liked without ever having to worry about their policies being subject to scrutiny. This answer seemed to please the girl concerned who made her way to the polling booth where at an intelligent guess I would say she may have voted SNP in the constituency ballot and probably Green on the list. Of course I can only guess what she may do in the privacy of the polling booth but that would be my guess based on our conversation.

Though I was based at my local polling station one voter I didn’t see was my friend and flatmate Janette who as I found out later had went down to vote just after two o’clock which is it transpires was around the time I was told where I was going to be placed.
All things considered this was a very enjoyable shift and yet again I was very encouraged by the positive reaction as many smiling voters said they didn’t need a leaflet as they were going to vote SNP anyway. 

Shift completed I returned to the hub where I enjoyed a roll on sausage and another slice of cake
as I caught up with friends and fellow members of team Shettleston. Among the team members I spotted at this time were our brilliant branch secretary Laura Doherty, our amazing branch organiser Jennifer Layden,  and a number of faithful party stalwarts  including Bob Bothwell, May Findlay, my good friend Steven Tierney, and one of party’s rising stars Alex Kerr I also chatted to my two local councilors Austin Sheridan, and David Turner, Carlton councillor Greg Hepburn and the woman he succeeded as councillor after her general election success when she became the SNP MP for Glasgow Central The Right Honourable Alison Thewliss MP.

During my time with my friends and comrades  I sensed a team who were focused in our determination to get the best possible result for our candidate and our party. Believe me our hub was a good place to be as we readied ourselves for one last push in the early evening sunshine.

In the name of that push I was sent to Swinton Primary where I enjoyed a busy and productive shift and yet again bumped in to a few familiar faces. Chief amongst them was Jane Sharp who came to vote along with her husband Graham and her two dogs. Unfortunately the dogs were not to vote as their names were not on the electoral roll. Having heard a few of our activists raise concerns about turnout I was delighted that turnout at this polling station appeared to be brisk with many voters turning out in the final few of hours of the evening and many like Jane using their right to vote to give their dogs some much appreciated evening air.  In fact there was a period at around 8 o’clock when there were so many dogs in attendance I was waiting for the TV cameras to turn up to film an episode of That’s My Dog.  Honestly I saw more dogs in five minutes than I did Liberal Democrat voters all day.

It’s at this time of night that the candidates and their teams turn up to gauge voter turn out and how their party may have performed.  On this occasion I enjoyed good chats with Labour candidate Thomas Rannachen and his  Conservative counterpart Thomas Kerr. I found both guys and their teams to be very pleasant and a credit to their parties, though I have to say I found the Conservative far more confident of making gains when the results came in. Indeed the bold Thomas said that his party would hold Ayr, whilst gaining Eastwood  and Dumfries from the Labour Party and making significant gains on the list as he claimed the Tories were the only true protectors of the union. 

If Thomas Kerr was a new face to me his Labour opponent was slightly more familiar as we had met last summer when he was his party’s standard bearer in the Carlton by-election for Glasgow city council. As we shared some memories from that day, he informed me that my favourite member of his party (yes he does mean you Rebecca) had  been asking about me and  had been down at Reidvale school since 7 am or as the great Christy Moore would put it before I saw the light of morning.  I told Thomas to pass on my best wishes to a fiery wee fighter who is responsible for one of my most personal political poems and I believe that Jaffa Cakes And Sausage Rolls should be read by activists of political parties. Being the decent guy he is Thomas assured me he would send Rebecca my good wishes just as he’d delivered hers to me.

Just like the last time we met Thomas wasn’t short of company and amongst those who accompanied him on his tour of the polling stations was one Anas Sarwar with whom I enjoyed a cordial chat  on both the impending election result and the upcoming European referendum campaign on which I said we would be on the same side as we campaign for the UK to remain in Europe. Anas joked that though it would be good to have a cross party campaign we couldn’t have the Tories involved as the last time that happened it was quite problematic. Now I don’t know why but I couldn’t resist having a wee secret smile on hearing this. Anyway he wished me well and  said he hoped I enjoyed my dinner when I got home as campaigning is hungry work. Believe me never has my chicken balls , chips, and curry sauce ever tasted so good.

At ten past nine my lift came to drive me the short distance to my home and so ended my contribution to another election. Maybe it was because of the sunshine or the knowing smiles from the voters which suggested that a good result may be on the cards but this was an enjoyable day and a day on which I did three shifts for the cause.

On arriving home I noticed Janette crashed out on the sofa and remembered where my real priorities lay. As regular readers of this blog will know my flatmate and friend has severe depression and it is to give  a voice to her and others disadvantaged by a society which puts far too much emphasis on individualism and nowhere near enough on community that I joined the Scottish National Party to fight for a better fairer more inclusive nation. It is why I campaigned for the SNP for more than two decades before finally becoming a paid up member of the party in April 2010 just three months short  of my 49th birthday. I am and I’ll see this openly very proud of my party card and of the many fantastic people I have come to know as friends and as members of my SNP family.

I have no doubt that some of those names may be familiar to you, but for every one you recognise there are many others you won’t. Yet without this unseen army of unpaid volunteers my party or for that matter any party would be a shadow of the forces we are and democracy would be a privilege for the few rather than a universal right for us all.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Land Of My Heart

Hey Readers On day 12 of NaPoWriMo I write on the topic of
Xenophobia and The British establishment’s traditional fear of foreigners as other. In this poem I challenge those attitudes and I have given it the title Land Of My Heart I hope you enjoy the read

Land Of My Heart.

We I am told are an island race
in Europe but not of it
a happy land we prefer to keep
a respectable distance from it
we won two world wars
as the channel kept us free
we are an island nation
and that is the way we should be

We I am told were united
since pre Roman times
the misreporting of facts
not perceived as a crime
we are one nation Britannia 
we are loyal and true
an imperial kingdom
wrapped in the red white and blue

we I am told have never got on well with others
we don’t tend to like them
the French the Germans the Russians
British is best I am told from Westminster benches
the problem they face
is that I have a cultural identity

I dispute every claim they have made
I find them abhorrent
friends of all nations
are welcome in my future Scotland
the Irish, Italians, and Indians
all played a part
in shaping the country I love
that lives in my heart

@ Gayle Smith 2016

John Wayne Won The West

Hey Readers On day 10  of NaPoWriMo I take a walk down memory lane to recall childhood memories of those early 1970’s Sunday’s and the viewing habits of my dad on the what was the only day he really got to watch the telly. Like many men of his generation my dad was a massive fan of Cowboy movies and anything to do with the wild west. It is with this in mind I have given this poem the title John Wayne Won The West I hope you enjoy the read.

John Wayne Won The West

Sunday’s were my dad’s day
to pick the programmes he wanted to watch on TV
every week he would be tuned in Bonanza  or The Virginian
Imagining the wild west as his dominion
this Glasgow adventurer who taught me
that native Indians were the only real Americans
and that all others were immigrants
in an international melting pot
Irish, Scots, Germans, Italians, Mexicans
to name but a few who pursue the illusion
that anyone can make it
in the land of Uncle Sam
the fact that many are doomed to fail is never mentioned
in a country where God has had more reinventions
than Frank Sinatra had comebacks
meanwhile my dad would roll back the years
as he sat in his comfy chair
and John Wayne won the west
just like he had the previous week and would do again next Sunday
the wild west was his dominion
as Bonanza and The Virginian
got my dad in the mood for the movie

@ Gayle Smith 2016