Tag Archive | Stories

Runrig For Millennials

This poem was inspired by a comment from my friend and flatmate Janette whilst we were watching at my insistence the Scottish Traditional Music Awards (aka #NaTrads) On  seeing the band Tidelines and being more impresed than she thought she would by them (It has to be said traditional music is not Janette’s usaul area) she claimed they were the world’s first Gaelic boyband. It has to be said that this set me thinking and I’ve written this poem which I’ve titled Runrig For Millennials. I came up with this title purely because of the enduring popularity of Runrig over the years and I can assure you it has nothing to with the looks in which Tidelines definitely have the edge I hope you enjoy the read. 

Runrig For Millennials 

I  saw them at Na Trads

my flatmate called them a gaelic boyband

they can sing in two languages

stardom beckons within the traditional music world

and if enough girls follow them

they could be Runrig for millennials 

shining a light on the future

with songs for the 21st century

with positive progressive lyrics

and an identity shaped for the modern age

they will help to make our ancient language

relevant for a new generation

multi culturalism isn’t just confined

to gaining knowledge of Polish or Arabic

sometimes it can be found closer to home

in the understanding of our own language, culture, and traditions

so often mocked by those who beg for privilege 

and call our culture feinian talk

the colonials who walk in the loyal marching season

give no reason for their misplaced allegiance

I question why they give their loyalty to another country

but ugly shouting as all they’ve got 

meanwhile a new band shows the way forward

promoting understanding through stories told in songs

they cannot change the wrongs

of a past written before they were born

but instead tell the stories of this time 

their time to shine

like the stars you see

shining on a hebrideen sunset 

© Gayle Smith 2017


Kindred Spirits

On Halloween I post a seasonal poem to celebrate this important day and the beginning of the Celtic winter. Bearing in mind the ghostly goings on that this night will hold I’ve given it the title Kindred Spirits. I hope you enjoy the read. 

Kindred Spirits. 


 the last day before the Celtic winter starts 

the time when  spirits walk among us 

on the evening of the day of the dead 

this is why we use disguises 

in the shape of masks and costumes 

to keep ourselves hidden from those 

who would do us harm

only those who guard us will know the real truth of our story 

they keep us safe as children when we go round the doors guising

on in later years 

when as adults we party with friends in  city centre bars

all they ask from us is 

that we hold them in our hearts

thoughout the coming year 

and get ready to celebrate the gatherings winter will bring 

remembering the coldest of seasons 

 is a time when the warmest of hearts join with loved ones 

to cherish memories made by kindred spirits

in stories songs and friendship

© Gayle Smith 2017

Butterfly Bonds

Hey everyone. This poem was inspired when I attended a performance event at Glasgow Women’s Library in which North American trans woman  read their stories and explained what it was like to be a  trans woman in Canada and the United States. At the end of what was an excellent evening of entertainment  I realised that though there are bound to be some slight differences in our experience of being trans we have a lot more in common than what divides us  I’ve titled the poem Butterfly Bonds I hope you enjoy the read.

Butterfly Bonds

On a cold November evening
I gathered with trans Atlantic trans sisters
in the safety of a woman only space
to hear what it is like for them
on the other side of the pond
we share common bonds
created by years of shared pain
dreams, and ambitions
as we transition from moth to butterfly
I know it wasn’t easy for me
or other west of Scotland types
skirts, tights, and dreams of white weddings
reserved  for sisters
or those with what nature declares to be
the correct biology
it is with honesty I say this
I don’t do air kisses for dramatic effect
It isn’t my way
I am and will always be
a woman
24/7 every day of my life
words like girl, daughter, sister , lover, wife
are mine to claim
I do so without shame
I  am not  to blame
for the attitudes of others
I discovered myself
on the day I threw a tantrum
for not getting a doll like my friends
I am not pretending to be someone I’m not
but delighting in being who I am
leaving my sorrows behind
looking forward to a future
where I am leading lady
in the story of  my life
it’s the same for all of us
every  trans woman who has ever faced prejudice, fear, and ignorance
we want that starring role
in the movie or a play
we have tales to be told
and things to say
which will surprise, shock, or maybe amaze you
we tell our stories like they are
in full colour with brutal honesty
the road to equality
is a long one with many traps and diversions
I learned on a cold winter night
being trans in Scotland
may be slightly different
from Canada or the USA
but as I listen to their stories
I value the common bonds we share
as we travel the road
from moth to butterfly.

@ Gayle Smith 2015

A Citizen Journalist Knows The Time When A Story Has To Be Told

Hey everyone I start this post by quoting a line from the  Moody Blues hit Nights In White Satin. The line is ‘Letters are written never meaning to send’ The reason for my quote and subsequent contrition is that as my fellow poets will  know i am a terrible hoarder and there have been many articles which i have kept from newspapers and magazines both this year and in past years which i have meaning to write a post on.

The topics for these articles are a bit like my life in their variety, reflecting as they do a wide range of subject matters. Though many if not most will be from The  National, they won’t all be on Independence or even on Scotland. Many will reflect my views on a more general range of subjects from the environment to gender, from global affairs to local issues.

Of course i do have  have other sources of news, in particular the Guardian and the Observer, plus quality women’s magazines and stories which my friends and  contacts have shared with me in the virtual village that is the internet and that includes my network of other bloggers whose support i find both inspiring and invaluable. I shall be starting on my back catalog of stories with my next post when i shall be  looking at a column in The National from earlier this year by co-convener of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie on why we should value our benefits system. This is a topic which has been in the news a lot recently due to the Conservative government’s agenda to reform the system and i believe that Harvie’s thoughts on the issue are even more relevant now than at the time the article was originally written

So what has stopped me writing on this article sooner if I found it so thought provoking at the time? if i’m honest i suppose it could best be described by paraphrasing  the words of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister ‘Events, dear readers, events’  Well that and the knowledge that there will be a time when there is such a thing slow news days. There  also some stories which need to be told and as a blogger it’s my duty to tell them. You see to me being a blogger is more than than being a direst on computer it’s about being a citizen journalist and that involves not only telling your stories but saving some for rainy days sharing them when they can make the biggest impact.


Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X