Thursday, 28 December 2017

Stuff that is happening now

My computer seems to be predicting the end of days.

However I am confident some poems of mine will appear in Ambit 231 which is out January 2018.

You can find out more about Ambit here.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

New work

If you are interested in new work from me this year:

  • Check out a fresh and multi-faceted magazine The Blue Nib edited by Shirley Bell which the Southbank Poetry Library made me aware of - I have some poems in Issue 13 here
  • A couple of poems in The Eildon Tree - the wonderful and unique Scottish Borders publication driving the arts forward throughout Scotland and globally through the agency of Carol Norris, Sara Clark, Julian Colton and Iona McGregor
  • If you missed it, I had a poem in Open Mouse - btw I suggest you subscribe if you missed it because this is a fantastic almost daily treat of online poetry curated by Colin Will
  • I have a poem appearing in the Abridged Wormwood issue (I can't tell you how natural a fit that topic was - Greg McCartney the editor has a knack of coming up with the most addictive themes for poets and artists; not to mention the impact of the photography throughout the magazine series); there is a preview here
    The physical version of Abridged "is generally available at art galleries and arts organisations in Belfast, Dublin, Derry, Galway. Usually for a limited period as they go very quickly". Free PDFs are also available from the website.
  • I have a poem in the soon to appear Issue 20 of Under the Radar - copies available from the website; take a look at the range of poets featured in previous issues and you will understand why it is well worth getting a copy sooner rather than later as they sell out quickly.
  • If you like a more regular dose of p&g can I suggest you go over to where I post photos taken with a Windows Phone most of the time

Thank you to all the editors and teams for taking the time to read and publish these. Delighted to feature alongside some great poets, artists, writers and photographers.

Bridget Khursheed me and my webcam

Other news: I am doing an MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics at Edinburgh Napier University and still doing my regular geek day job. As usual I am confident I can do all of these things and still write the poetry I want to. It is part of my practice to work and write. A theory borne out by presidential/solder/mother/doctor/lawyer/publisher/priest/spy etc poets everywhere and throughout history. Poetry doesn't stop things happening. It makes things happen.

Mermaid - Louise Morey Bowman

Louise Morey Bowman 1882–1944 is recognised as Canada's first imagist poet.


Fra Lippo Lippi's women had your breasts,
And your great curving forehead - but your ears
Are delicate crinkled shells God must have clapped
Upon a mermaid's head on either side
When he created her in deep sea-caves
Finishing with a lovely sea-green tail
But your white limbs are purely Eden made.

When your veined eyelids droop, then Lippi paints
Your portrait til you lift your gaze again.
Such eyes are far beyond Fra Lippi's power.
For Eve's were not so simple and profound
I think and Lilith's not so darkly grey.
Yours are the eyes that, in those green sea-caves,
Reproachful, stared at God, and at your tail.

Found this in a wartime anthology of Canadian Poetry (Pelican Books 1942); compiled by Ralph Gustafson it has some dreary fare indeed which I hope was at least comforting for soldiers, sailors and airmen thinking of home. The pages have almost disintegrated as it is on ration-quality paper. The book even has its old adverts.

This poem by Bowman stands out: although at first it seems cut from a swirly Browning cloth, it slips out of the Victorian Romantic stream into something quite different and arrestingly sensual. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, 11 August 2017

#Hawickfest review

Our friend from the west poet Rab Wilson has written a fine review of #Hawickfest spokenword in the National which you can find here:

All we need to add is: good times were had.

More photos are available on our Facebook page here

p&g is already looking forward to next year. Thanks Thomas Clark for organising the clamjamfry and Julie Witford and the Cornucopia Magazine for hosting in their lovely venue.

Friday, 4 August 2017

#Hawickfest spoken word 5th August 2017

Looking forward to #Hawickfest spoken word sesh 1-3pm Cornucopia Room (opposite Heart of Hawick) - see you there to enjoy the words of the very talented Jules Horne Tom Murray Anita John Sara Clark Brian Holton and Thomas Clark. p&g will be reading too.

You can find out more about the Heart of Hawick Music Festival here

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Dorothy Wordsworth on the Scottish Borders

Monday, September 19th.—We rose early, and went to Melrose, six miles, before breakfast. After ascending a hill, descended, and overlooked a dell, on the opposite side of which was an old mansion, surrounded with trees and steep gardens, a curious and pleasing, yet melancholy spot; for the house and gardens were evidently going to decay, and the whole of the small dell, except near the house, was unenclosed and uncultivated, being a sheep-walk to the top of the hills. Descended to Gala Water, a pretty stream, but much smaller than the Tweed, into which the brook flows from the glen I have spoken of. Near the Gala is a large modern house, the situation very pleasant, but the old building which we had passed put to shame the fresh colouring and meagre outline of the new one. Went through a part of the village of Galashiels, pleasantly situated on the bank of the stream; a pretty place it once has been, but a manufactory is established there; and a townish bustle and ugly stone houses are fast taking place of the brown-roofed thatched cottages, of which a great number yet remain, partly overshadowed by trees. Left the Gala, and, after crossing the open country, came again to the Tweed, and pursued our way as before near the river, perhaps for a mile or two, till we arrived at Melrose. The valley for this short space was not so pleasing as before, the hills more broken, and though the cultivation was general, yet the scene was not rich, while it had lost its pastoral simplicity. At Melrose the vale opens out wide; but the hills are high all round—single distinct risings. After breakfast we went out, intending to go to the Abbey, and in the street met Mr. Scott, who gave us a cordial greeting, and conducted us thither himself. He was here on his own ground, for he is familiar with all that is p. 256known of the authentic history of Melrose and the popular tales connected with it. He pointed out many pieces of beautiful sculpture in obscure corners which would have escaped our notice. The Abbey has been built of a pale red stone; that part which was first erected of a very durable kind, the sculptured flowers and leaves and other minute ornaments being as perfect in many places as when first wrought. The ruin is of considerable extent, but unfortunately it is almost surrounded by insignificant houses, so that when you are close to it you see it entirely separated from many rural objects, and even when viewed from a distance the situation does not seem to be particularly happy, for the vale is broken and disturbed, and the Abbey at a distance from the river, so that you do not look upon them as companions of each other. And surely this is a national barbarism: within these beautiful walls is the ugliest church that was ever beheld—if it had been hewn out of the side of a hill it could not have been more dismal; there was no neatness, nor even decency, and it appeared to be so damp, and so completely excluded from fresh air, that it must be dangerous to sit in it; the floor is unpaved, and very rough. What a contrast to the beautiful and graceful order apparent in every part of the ancient design and workmanship! Mr. Scott went with us into the gardens and orchards of a Mr. Riddel, from which we had a very sweet view of the Abbey through trees, the town being entirely excluded. Dined with Mr. Scott at the inn; he was now travelling to the assizes at Jedburgh in his character of Sheriff of Selkirk, and on that account, as well as for his own sake, he was treated with great respect, a small part of which was vouchsafed to us as his friends, though I could not persuade the woman to show me the p. 257beds, or to make any sort of promise till she was assured from the Sheriff himself that he had no objection to sleep in the same room with William.

My insta ego

Well thanks for that update p & g. And for making me sounding like a total ego-head.

In response, I guess that is what insta and possibly being a maker of any kind is all about.  On insta you are making photos and clearly creating an illusion even if counter - intuitively an illusion that everything you put on there is spontaneous. At least one account I follow does appear to do that.

The clash between what appears and what is has been central to everything I write. Blame George Eliot, Hardy, James and above all Dickens if you like. And countless A-level and uni exam questions on Appearance and Reality from Little Dorrit onwards. And then blame life and experience. For example, the idea that the borders was once a highly developed industrial centre exporting wool to Flanders in mediaeval times and cloth globally tends to get lost sight of - especially as the general electorate has gone back to forelock-tugging the Tories. How can rural be industrial? How can empty space - the dull landscape that Dorothy Wordsworth dismissed - be full?

A couple of Sundays ago I was walking around near Harestanes by Ancrum and found more ramsons and bluebells growing just a few metres off the A68 than seemed believable. A burn raced by and growth was luscious. I had come with a friend. All good. But when my eye is in I always catch sight of the old wall overgrown by ivy. The space where a huge beam once rested. And after that it started to be quite easy to pick out channels and pools where the water had once sped through and turned the mill wheel. The random mounds and pits were engineering spaces. The beauty. The lushness. Perhaps at some level they still fed on rich soil from the old mill midden.

So I enjoy insta: for example, the work of Ben Lingard mentioned below, parkour heroes and concrete firms, beautiful cups of coffee and some work going on in general. Everything reduced to a column of boxes and that of course the schematic I also find rather appealing.

And for that final touch of the ego glad to have a poem coming out in Under the Radar in Autumn - thanks guys.


Yes we now have an insta account so if you have an interest in the life of Bridget Khursheed and others as roving poets, technical authors, geek interests and judging from what in there so far lines and shadows, please follow.

You can find us @poetandgeek

Other accounts we like belong to:

Let us know if you have a suitably geeky insta you would like to share in the comments.

Friday, 24 February 2017

New post new poems

p&g2 is here and we are seeking poems to put on p&g mag. We have become slightly self-referential in that the blog is the mag. But then you get to interact with the poems a bit more. So maybe this is cool.

Send us your stuff and be the first to grace these pages...

A few new developments: you can find us on insta @poetandgeek and confusingly we are now on Twitter @poetogeek. This is not a typo. Our account got suspended. Why? Who knows....

Otherwise the usual mix of woodland, bubble searches, goth days, poetry punk, Emily Bronte, zajal, poet's houses, etc.
Glad to be back...please subscribe for more of this nonsense. Send poems to poetandgeek at


Yes we are back.