Tag Archive | Glen Daly

Active Citizens 

As a spoken word poet I am rightly proud of our tradition of activism on just about every topic you could name. From Apartheid to Women’s rights poets have opinions on everything and not afraid to voice them. This is something we share with all performers, but in this poem I take a look at musicians both folk and pop, and in particular the protest songs written over the years to express support of causes and campaigns to document an important part of social history . Whilst some of the songs, I’ve incorporated in to this poem may be very obviously political others may initially at least  strike you as slightly less so but when you look closely at the lyrics you’ll see they may be more radical than you think . I’ve given it the title Active Citizens as I have  long held the belief that the creative community are often a government’s more effective critics. I hope you enjoy the read. 
Active Citizens
My journey started with McGinn of The Calton 

who sang of  a may day for the ordinary people

and women pining for the pill .

Glen Daly told the story

of a wild colonial boy 

whose spirit will always live 

in the hearts of rebels with or without causes

the Corries took me over the sea to Skye 

while the hills of Donegal 

and the fields of Anthery 

showed the other side of my family tree 

both sides displaced in the name of the great white sheep 

and generations later the Proclaimers 

lamented the industrial clearances 

when they sent a letter from America

and narrated Scotland’s story 

as a  land of migrants 

throughout our history 

our so-called masters have ignored us 

attempted to silence our voices 

in the name of their false unity 

but our community remains strong

writing and  singing  the protest songs 

that expose them and their cruel deeds

carried out in the name of greed and personal gain 

meanwhile though she took a train to Leeds Central in 1989.  

we are still  looking for Linda 

and when we find her 

she will know she is one of  Jock Tamsons Bairns 

regardless of where she was born 

you see  where you are from can only be the first verse 

the starting point of the protest song

what follows is the journey about where your going to

and  how we help you get there 

by listening to the lyrics 

and the lessons they teach us for the future 

we can’t afford to be seduced and abandoned

by falling for lies and false promises 

or ignoring the 1 in 10 

we need to send the selfish homeward 

make them think again on the consequences of their behaviour 

their attitudes that make me a very angry girl 

I come from the generation who dared to feed the world 

and ask when there would be a harvest for it 

a harvest we could share 

with west end girls and smalltown boys 

we can’t let politicians create 100 000 Allentown’s 

or hold back the years in a vain attempt 

to keep us in what they think is our place 

in the rat trap they’ve created over years and centuries

to preserve what they see as the natural order 

with those McGinn sang of at the bottom 

with independence lies the hope of a better Scotland 

though we will still have our problems 

and protest songs to sing 

in the hope of the finding solutions 

as creatives we have always been political 

critical of our establishment regardless of party colours

and as our future governments will discover

we will always be active citizens

speaking out on the issues that matter. 

.© 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