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Jim Hogg

of

Paisley, Scotland, UK

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Lines to Lynn

by

Jim Hogg

And if can remember
What I couldnít help but love
And if even part of that
Still holds as true
As when we knew each other truly
Then maybe I can bear to lose
The skin deep things
The qualities of youth
That work the initial
But not the lasting
Magic of love
For the silky smooth grows lined
The gypsy fades to grey
And time steals incessantly from the eyes
All this I know too well
When I catch myself
Unsuspecting
In a shop front window
Where you might be too
And not recognise or be recognised

But I suppose thereís a tender
Tragic beauty
In this fading and failing
And Iím not afraid
Of what weíll see - yet -
Should we meet again, my love,
Unless,
Weíve lost too much
Of the best we had within us once
I pray that Iíll still catch sight
Of the little things
That came from the heart
Depicting that inner balance
In which I longed to share,
The absence of affectation,
Your irresistible honesty.
And pray thereís still something here
To remind you
Of what touched your heart too
So long ago.

I tried to fix myself of course
By writing songs
You might be amused to hear
As if this was a disease
As if I could exorcise
The demons of lost love
By charming them into other rooms
Other ears
And sundry halls
By means of minor chords
And anguished words
To sicken them with endless recitals.
And drafted a lengthy tale
With you as principal,
Baffling the best brains on the planet.
All to no avail or worse
As every curative design
Seemed to breathe new vigour
Into these oh so seductive memories.

Eventually it came to me
Why charge up the past by fighting it?
Accept the beauty of what was
And carry it in its place
Which doesnít mean it matters less
If we met tomorrow
I would still be a mess

But still I wonder where you are love?
Walking on some nearby city street
With your languid elegance
Glimpsing the years
In that sobering window
And wondering too?
Or with your family
Round the table
Of a lifetime of love?
Long past what might have been
And happy now.
I hope so with all my heart,
But miss you still
No less than ever.

Jim 27 10 06


Saturday Night 1971

by

Jim Hogg

There was a light in your eyes that night
Outside the sun slipped out of sight
And your suitors were circling on the stairs
To the strains of the Bay City Rollers

You nodded to me and I crossed the floor
While they stopped to watch us from the door
As you looked me straight in the eye
With no faÁade, and no disguise

And we danced on into the night
With the full moon on the rise outside
It was nineteen seventy one
And Saturday night had just begun

Adrift in a dream we danced all alone
ĎTil the lights went down and the night had flown
Under a spell that would never end
A love that only love could rend

Then we walked hand in hand to your back door
Where we stood until it was almost four
I held you close and you held me tight
Until the dawn stole out of the night

And we danced on into our lives
With the full moon on the rise outside
It was nineteen seventy one
And Saturday night would soon be gone

Childhood sweethearts in love so fraught
In love so deep, in love so lost
We dreamt the dream would go on and on
And learned too late that our chance was gone

We met once more down on Hamilton Road
Where I kissed your sweet lips and let you go
As you looked me straight in the eye
With no faÁade and no goodbye

And we danced on into our lives
With the full moon on the rise outside
It was nineteen seventy one
And our last chance would soon be gone

I saw you last on a burning bridge
Just days away from wedded bliss
We lost ourselves in each othersí eyes
With no faÁade and no surprise

And now when I walk past the old Town Hall
I canít help wondíring if you recall
The full moon high in that summer sky
And the light of love in my eyes

And we dance on into our lives
With the full moon on the rise outside
It was nineteen seventy one
And Saturday night would soon be gone

Down On Hamilton Road

by

Jim Hogg

In the shade of the streetlights on Hamilton Road
In December nineteen seventy three
We talked of maybes and what might have been
As your sweet lips so gently touched mine

We arrived by the river, we were drawn by the sea
By rusting school gates where you waited for me
By the swirl of the snowflake preparing to yield
And all weíd resisted, all weíd revealed

Now itís hard to find words that capture our truth
As I kneel at this altar of romance and youth
To worship the sweet breeze that gave this life flight
The beautiful storm that brought me to life

But the passions of first love have to contend
With the traps and the trials youth can beget
And though you and I stumbled, you and I fell
Nothing could break that invincible spell

And so we met in our heartland in FOS 10
I was eighteen and so full of it then
Across the old bench seat we sidled up close
And my tongue was possessed by God only knows

Yet the heavens held station above us that night
True servants of romance awaiting a sign
As you in your fashion offered the dream
And I threw it all to the cold winter wind

Yes Iíd give all I could to take back again
Those few careless words that changed everything then
For the saddest moment that Iíve ever known
Was the sight of you leaving down Hamilton Road

Though the heavens re-formed without us my love
And all that unfolded was distance
The sweetest sensation that Iíll ever know
Was the touch of your lips down on Hamilton Road

Only you and I know what was broken there
Though our hearts hold the pieces so dear
All that love promised was thrown to the wind
Down on Hamilton Road, down on Hamilton Road

Renegade

by

Jim Hogg

We sealed it blood on blood
A thousand years ago
Swore allegiance to a code
When we were eight years old

We fought side by side
Under golden suns
For the honour of the tribe
With home made wooden guns

We learned the rules of life
With slings and bows and stones
We skated on the thinnest ice
And had no time for keeping scores

And we were young and free back then
I vowed to play it straight
I thought weíd live and die as friends
It all looks simple when youíre eight

And so we crossed the bar
And sailed the ocean wide
The game was lost before too far
I was first to choose the lie

And yes the choice was mine
For somehow I mislaid
The bonds I swore to prize
And all those vows betrayed

Now we nod and just say Ďhií
For all we had now ends there
And time keeps passing by
With no prospect of surrender

And we were young and free back then
I swore Iíd play it straight
I thought weíd live and die as friends
It all looks simple when youíre eight

Maggie's Gate

by

Jim Hogg

You were leaning out thruí your window and I stood at the fence below
Reflecting slants of starlight across the glistening snow
Your scarf in flames around my neck in the cool December breeze
We were refugees in waiting from the dreams that love believes

One long and tender kiss before I watched you go
And closed the door behind you a thousand years ago
But sometimes I taste your lips on mine as clear as yesterday
Your jet hair blowing in the wind with the words we couldnít say

Thereís a whistling in the crescent that echoes down the years
A secret sign the whole street knew was only for your ears
Old Maggie said I was off my head but our love was meant to be
In the crescent underneath the stars there was only you and me

And now I sit here thinking about the life we could have led
And how our humble choices broke our hearts instead
Iíd heard that you were losing your battle with the past
If wishes came true Iíd be back there too where all my dreams were cast

But thereís no undoing choices made or time thatís too soon gone
And I canít restore the old swing tree our love was carved upon
Were we lost in hopeless fantasy or just two star-crossed fools
The table tennis king and queen of the local junior school

But if youíd like to enter this dream before all dreaming ends
And wander with me one more time around that dreamswept bend
To linger for a moment outside old Maggieís gate
And hold each other one last time while itís not too late

I stop outside the village shop and first love comes to mind
Is it all a great deception meant to further humankind
Whatever lies behind love it hardly matters now
Youíre out of reach forever love behind a sacred vow

But I see your face in every crowd and through the falling snow
Youíre the bluebell beds in springtime and the honeysuckle rows
Youíre there between the evergreens and the swirling autumn leaves
Youíre this refugeeís return at last to the dreams that love believes

Oh the winding lanes of Inch and the echoes that refrain
Awaken every memory and remind me once again
Of gentler times and innocence and all the promise of our youth
And how much I would trade for just one moment of that truth

I dreamed again last night dear that you and I were wed
Walking in the crescent I heard every word you said
Blue blue eyes looked into mine as they used to long ago
And nothingís felt so much like home since the night I let you go

Well the moon is out and the night is a hush of glowing white
A lifetime on from Maggieís Gate, Iím there alone tonight
To say goodbye to you love, and all that might have been
And the crazy dream that someday it might all be real again.

Still the winding lanes of Inch and the things that havenít changed
Take me back to yesterday, to rescue me again
From this world of black and white where weíre strangers you and I
Where weíll never hold each other or say that last goodbye

The Winds of Time

by

Jim Hogg

The air was soft upon your silken cheeks
The sky was blue
The world was turning round
But so slow we never knew
We ran wild through rain or shine
If we fell, well that was fine
We were heroes in our dreams
And miracles were real

But the winds of time were blowing
Though not through our world then
We would all be there forever
And the fun would never end

The breeze was blowing through your gypsy hair
The clouds were few
And Iíd found paradise
When I was walking out with you
And the starlit nights we shared
I built my dreams upon
But wished the days away
And too soon you were gone

Yes the winds of time were blowing
Though not through our love then
We would always be together
And this love would never end

The moon skis through the clouds that skim the sky
We drift below
A band of brothers who
Never knew what they could do
We went marching off to war
With so many years in store
And the dragons we would slay
Became just dreams of yesterday

Oh the winds of time were blowing
Though not through our dreams then
We would all be here forever
And this life would never end

The barley bends before the gale that blows
The waves are high
The leaves will soon let go
And the birds prepare to fly
And though your eyes of topaz blue
Light a path down through the years
The rushing winds of time
Are driving on the end that nears

Oh the winds of time were blowing
But not between us then
And though we might not be together
This love would never end

The robinís song so pure
On the air so still and clear
And memories so sweet
Circle everywhere
And everything weíve been
Slipping from our grasp
As storm clouds gather round
To sweep away our past

Now the winds of time are howling
Through nameless fleeting days
And though we never dreamt of losing
Thereís no way weíll win this race

More Lines

by

Jim Hogg

The air was thick with it,
But being rational I couldnít believe.
Premonitions are for suckers.
But of course I went anyway,
Discounting an encounter I crave
Comforted by swarms of moments
Buzzing with your absence
Through numerous bleak years
And busied myself
Into forgetfulness
We simply wouldnít meet
And wouldnít know if we did
And even if we did
Iíd walk on and leave your life
Untouched and untainted
To keep the promises
I kept making to myself.

It was sunny and calm
And the granite was sparkling
With the threat of Christmas
Shoppers criss-crossed the precinct.
Smiling and civil
There was money abounding
In purses and tills
The bleakness, long dreary shadows
And boarded up shops
Had been fed to the past
The changes of thirty three years
Evident everywhere
The city had moved on.

Needless to say Iíd been looking
Just as I always do these days
Never knowing what Iím looking for
Never knowing what Iíd say.
But in all those faces
There was no serious trace
So, I drifted off
And soaked up the latest news for free
In Smithís,
In another world
Johnston was out of the running,
Brown was free and clear,
And, fuck, fuck, suddenly it was you
Right there, almost waiting.
Almost blocking my way
But some madness in my feet
Hurled me straight past
And out into the merciless street.
In bullet-proof idiot mode
I fetched about for a place to sit
Not there - arse wet potential
Right . . there then, in front of the door
I try and calm myself,
Look casual and sit down you clown
Ok, now look up and wait.
Christ, you were out and walking off
Side on and blinking the way you used to
Hair too goddamned perfect for my liking
And dressed to the nines.
I missed your eyes by an inch or less,
But, too witless to speak,
I sat motionless for moments,
Wondering as you wandered off.
A racing review of the data
Revealed the ridiculous truth
The prime computation: it had to be you
Everything fitted. As if I didnít know.
So I sprung up, made to give chase,
And somehow . . . you were gone . .
How the hell . . . ?
Suddenly I was on a vast race track.
With massive shops and streets
And faces in passing Ďbuses
Whirled slowly as I rushed
Through enormous empty space
All logic and promises
Abandoned to the pristine gutter.

In a sniperís position in the Piazza
I sipped tea
Breathlessly
Heart stuttering,
And scanned an ocean of features
(Waiting to launch an irresistible,
But as yet unplanned, ambush!)
Still reeling, still feeling cheated
By a perfectly timed episode of idiocy:
You popped up out of nowhere
I saw you and ran away.
I regrouped, saw you again
Dithered, fear-struck
And let you walk
Slowly out of my life.
Sound familiar?

That Night

by

Jim Hogg

That April night we went walking
Alone for the very first time
The moon and the stars came flocking
As we stumbled towards the sublime

The usual suspects were present
The delicate veils of ardour
The crescent over the crescent
And reflections of night on the harbour

chorus
We gazed at the wide sweeping beams
Searching from Donaghadee
For lovers marooned on the sea of dreams
Blind to what love cannot see

That summer night we went dancing,
Lost in Knights in White Satin
Lost in the rhythms of love
Like a part of some perfect pattern

Your chestnut hair fell straight and long,
Your eyes were shades of the moon
A vision beyond all music and song
And promise Iíd soon turn to ruin

chorus
We stared out into the moonlight
Its beam rippling white and forlorn
Over the channel and into the night,
Straight to the mountains of Mourne

That winter night we went strolling,
Thinking of all that might be
Fishermen stood in the shadows below
Casting their dreams in the sea

We stood on the edge of forever,
Entranced by the shimmering tide
Inches from the twelfth of never
Or the moment our path would divide

Chorus
Down that tempting and fleeting lane
We wondered if we should wander
Across the sea and back again
Before the dawn drove us under

We didnít know how little we knew
Or how much that knowledge would cost
As I drove you over the edge
And into the years you were lost

Your heart as pure as the driven snow,
But I didnít realise then
When we went strolling so free and alone,
One winterís night way back when

Home truths 1

by

Jim Hogg

1
"I left a woman waiting"
Quite a while ago,
But regret isnít the point
For now
And it isnít wholly
About first love.
No,
It was an inexplicable
Something so right,
Stumbled upon
In this rummaging
Something Iíd caught sight of
But didnít really see
Something Iíd fallen for
But didnít fully feel
A sum of qualities
"As they were meant to be"
Given to youth
But not to understand
"Save in the tapestry of afterthought"?
As compensation
And now sadly
I can boast to one and all
I sensed it once,
I saw it once . .
On a sober Saturday night
In the old Town Hall
With not a trace of understanding
As I was passing through her life,
But,
Not knowing then
I simply turned the page
And lived and loved in vain.

Back then I was a puppet
In a spiderís web of chains;
(Neither more nor less
Than you were,
And no less unaware)
My life out on loan
No happy ending in the contract
And the romantic prospect?
Deferred for all time:
"The bride had consented,
The gallant came late".
Of such was the wall of denial.built
And the foundations of the future laid.
Total commitment
To anything,
To shutting off
To cutting off especially,
Was the punishment of preference.
Valiant efforts
Took me well along the way,
Burning up the time
A dedicated disciple
Of the scorched memory tactic,
Staggering
From one distracting salvation to the next:
My refuge and vengeance upon myself.
The shadows of the past,
Of course,
Loomed larger all the while.
Seems it wasnít quite enough,
Against the force of nature
So one day I took the train
And fell behind,
And left behind,
The sea,
The crackling and charring
Of the here and now,
Home truths
Panting in the distance,
That perennial love
Least of all, and
Sprinted off
Into the future.

Home Truths 2

by

Jim Hogg

To make good my escape,
Predictably,
I built a castle of commitment,
On the outskirts of enshrouded memories,
Beyond a somewhat convincing moat
That separated
My ideals from my actions.
Ambition led,
I fled
To every battle
To prove my worth;
To be his equal
In courage and in truth.
But abstractions donít always
determine choices;
Nor should ambition
Pinch-hit for blame;
In the end, they say,
Forced moves or not
The choice is ours alone:
Folly,
Or the furrow of intangible reward
(The price of our dominion)
To fortify the soul,
Or bit by tragic bit,
To chip it all away.
And for what
Either way?!

So thereís no-one left to blame!
And if there was,
Heís gone,
"Over bank, bush, and scaur"
Looking better by the day;
As I fall ever deeper
Into this bottomless
Untying and tying off:
This unravelling of everything;
This chaos
Of criss-crossed lives,
Where the only one thatís real
Seems to matter least.
Anyway, somewhere too far
Into one cul de sac too many,
I finally found some feet.
But only half aware
And half prepared,
I turned to face,
I turned to chase,
The falling leaves;
To resurrect,
To search out and embrace,
The evergreens and the forget-me-nots
Iíd struggled to cremate.

Home Truths 3

by

Jim Hogg

In the shadow of the cliff above McTaggartís Rock
Skim Razor Bills in flight.
Itís no effortless affair.
Thereís a vague desperation there.
And in the beating of wings
A strange echo:
Of a symphony of symmetry;
Of a moonlit flight
Over paradise;
The haunting melody
Of a long lost Castle Kennedy,
Where cackling Geese,
In massive arrows,
Come cascading down
Upon cold rippling waters
Lapping snug against
Those irresistible,
Honeysuckle lanes.
Itís not by chance that Iím there again.
Every choice I ever made,
Every road I travelled,
However far I fled,
Eventually led me back:
To a skin of the teeth escape
Round the Rock beneath the Ravens
To that blitz of fearsome but handsome features
To "son that was a great piece of boat-handling" in 1969
To the fulmars at the foghorn point
To the black depths of Magillie
To the railway tracks to everywhere else
And the mystery of the Mull of Galloway
To linoleum squares in deadly flight
To a blood red sea encircling the Scaurs
To a small brown dog that "lost its head"
To Old Maggieís fateful gateway to the stars
To the White Loch and the winding lanes of Inch
To Heart of Gold, and Crossroads,
To How the Web was Woven,
And musical trails galore, all leading . . .
Into the ditch of yesterday
To the flotsam and jetsam
Of abandoned dreams
To the betrayal of a bond
Sealed in blood
To raven hair and a lemon cardigan
In the County yard
(When we were only 10 years old!)
To the bluebell beds in springtime
To the notion of a God of some kind
Found in flight so long ago
And reluctantly crushed forever
By fossils, stars and a wilful ego
To the treasure trove
In the trashcan of recollection
To a loom-full of sparking wires of emotion
To those blue blue eyes always
And my fingers through her gypsy hair
To stupid stupid words that changed everything
Down on Hamilton Road,
To the expiry of her patience
And the crashing of tin cans
Behind a limousine
To regret and capture by escapism
To "a trembling question"
To the shadows
Of Chernobylís murderous rain
To a vision of blindness, eventually
To the cold embers of bridges
As if I could ever forget
To a so what proof of the Big Bang theory
To giant snowflakes
Falling soft and slow,
In the winter of í61
In a clearing in Culhorn wood
To trotting fox cubs
Falling bloody
In a hail of flying lead!
To tiny blue petals on the pathside
As we walked to the Wee School
To a sudden stop . . . .
Where the hanging tree used to be . . .
And . . . worst of all,
To news of your regrets!

Itís the paradox of paradise
Itís the glory and sorrow of youth
Itís the unquenchable flame of first true love
Itís a gathering of ghosts
Itís sanctuary and Armageddon
Itís the court of final appeal
Itís the bittersweet aching beauty of autumn
Itís a chain of moments passing
Marking out the ways we passed
So gently from each other
To the arms that hold us now
Itís a slow motion transfiguration
Itís a pulsing bolt of lightning
Itís the madness of youth
As only age can see it
Itís the melancholy in merriment
Itís a monument to loss
Itís exquisite pointlessness
Itís the clumsy dance of memory
Itís the beating of broken wings
Itís the beating heart
Oh . . . Castle Kennedy
Oh . . . . love . .
My sweet, sweet love
It was a summerís night with you.
It was the leaves that left the trees
And all their promise for decay

Home truths 4

by

Jim Hogg

But,
Time passed
Through and over most of it -
Too swiftly by far.
Eventually,
Accuracy before emotion
Seemed to offer promise
And the calm that came
Came a little too late to be welcome:
A weird sort of balance;
A sense of acceptance,
Refracted
Through the prism of failure
And love of this life;
No storms lying in wait
(How boring would that become?)
And the promise of wasted years
Suddenly catching fair wind;
Safe passage
To bargain basement self realisation !
Beckoned from right in my face . . .
But, typically,
Turmoil called,
From various interesting quarters,
For example: that Rock beneath the Ravens -
One course leading
To the annulment of all regret . .
That universal acid
That vacuum bound in glass
And waiting to burst.
And the other?
To extended enjoyment of regret it seems,
Sometimes against the odds;
Because thereís no forgetting
That wall of water
Waiting under vast black wings.
Someday, I must go back
To that sinless savage splendour -
By choice or otherwise who can say -
To test those odds again;
In pursuit of the judgement of fate perhaps,
Or some imperative
Peculiar to man
Because:
All we choose
And all thatís chosen for us,
Excepting chance of course,
(Though is there really such a thing!?)
Herds us securely,
And justly,
Some of us might hope,
To the harvest weíve sown
So recklessly, and
So innocently,
Along the ways weíve shaped
Along the ways that shape us.

Home truths 5

by

Jim Hogg

Yes, Iíve scattered some blame around;
On stony ground I vainly pray,
And now try, too late,
To call it back
For bitter seeds
Breed hardy weeds.

And strayed from the paths of righteousness
Roaming especially
The byways of accommodation
Though swift moves the self-justifying imagination
When confronted
By the not to be denied
With the threat of vengeance
And forgiveness in train
And an army of innocent memories
Marching in relentless columns
On the fortress of my self deceit
Across that span of excuses,
Bridging the persistent gulf
Between my theory and practice
To spring a fatal verdict
On that structure raised on sand
My masterpiece
My sculpture
Of principles and rationality;
Beset by shadows
Of discrepancy and compromise,
And some careless chisel work,
Sustained across the years,
By a maze of false trails and
Unbreakable self esteem, against
That vacuum chamber
Bursting to implode
The wrong side of the windscreen
Waiting . . .
For the finger to point
Forward focus to falter
And tissue . . . waiting
For the rain to fall,
And the wind to tear,
Into a thousand pieces,
A thousand open secrets,
To leave me in tatters
Bereft of excuses and lies
At last
And almost home free,
In the windswept wastes
Of my castle made of sand

Home Truths 6

by

Jim Hogg

And so it came to pass.

For nothing built against it
Could withstand forever
All that led
To that innocent severing
Down on Hamilton Road
Sooner or later
All walls fall
And understanding
Comes so slowly
Comes too late
My sweet love

On the other hand,
Who amongst us
Lives close enough
To the moment
Between love embraced
And love forgone
To choose
Fully and freely
To betray
Or not to betray
True love.

And all the while
In that runaway life
My concerns were?
The trivial road Iíd travelled -
The little territory gained!
(As Dylan smote Everyman,
As Geldof launched himself from Lilliput
To smite tight wads and Presidents
And Mandela lay damned for his virtue).
The fire of time raged
As I fiddled and fanned the flames.
And now,
This pathetic plundering
For warm embers.
Itís in the eyes of aged souls.
Once, favouring the Fremenís
Long walk into the sand,
I asked: "what about dignity?"
Somehow I slipped
"Past that point long ago".
Theyíre not actually here:
Theyíre somewhere out there
On the nether side
Of the surging crest of time,
On evasive manoeuvres
Against the future,
Surfing on memories.
Speaking of which . . .

JH L XX

by

Jim Hogg

Park at the kirk of Inch
Walk south west past Torwood,
To where the hanging tree
Used to be.
Look right to Lochryan
And left to the new village
In the distance
Turn left into the wooded path
Alongside the railway tracks
And walk straight into the War

Nissen huts right and left
Swarming with squaddies
Hidden in the wood
German eyes on wings
A hundred yards above
Bomb holes all around.
Castle Kennedy
Waiting in the wings, and
You and I undreamt of.
Rifles and distant fears
Gleaming in the sunlight
Through the ash, the beech
The sycamore
Reaching for the fields, and
One towering Douglas Fir
Accents from everywhere
Echoing,
Young men waiting in line
To stand or fall
Against Hitlerís machine

Over the railway line
And down the field
A stones throw away
For the very few
With super fast arms
Magillie lies smooth,
Moody and secretive
Shielded from sunlight
By a weaving of branches and leaves

Slip on along the lost road
To where the village would be
Someday
And there on the left
The old swing tree
No children swinging free
No carvings of love as yet
To provoke a little wonder
In the hearts
Of tender passers-by

And in between,
You and I
And a hustle
Of hopes and dreams
Broken hearts
Burnt potatoes in the stones
Arrows through the shadows
Thrown by boughs
Swaying in the wind
Laden with traces
Of longing and loss

And me here,
Listening,
Drifting
And lost
In the midst of bewitching echoes
Of yesterdays unmarked
The swing tree felled and gone
But the tracks of that secret blade
Carved too deeply
To fade

Whispers in the Summer Wind

by

Jim Hogg


Whispers in the summer wind
Spoke of someone new
Your step so light and free
Told me we weíre through

Itís spring again for you dear
While winter pours down here
All we learned forgotten
Your smiles a cheap veneer

The blooms of love neglected
Never watered never fed
Your head so cool and clear
The dreams we shared long dead

I tiptoe round your secret life
As clumsy as a child
So much left unspoken
Gone to seed and growing wild

chorus
All those years we shared love
Somehow slipped your mind
And in someone elseís arms dear
You lost all sense of time

The fault was always mine
Somehow you couldnít speak
Some things never change
I made you feel too weak

Half of that is true I guess
I carried you too high
I showed you all I could
But couldnít help you cry

Now youíre flying high again
You live and breathe for him
Heís always on your mind
While youíre my every dream

Iím standing in your shadow now
Invisible and small
While Lies and alibis
Keep you standing tall

chorus
All those years we shared love
Somehow slipped your mind
And in someone elseís arms dear
You lost all sense of time

Tail lights in the distance
You hide behind the night
I wonder where you are
And who youíre with tonight

Is this the way love ends then
In this cul de sac
You driving off to him
And me here looking back

The last time we were here
Love was on our side
But now the wind is colder
And this time itís goodbye

Itís the agony of losing
Itís all that might have been
Itís what I might have done
To keep you here with me

Chorus
All those years we shared love
Somehow slipped your mind
And in someone elseís arms dear
You lost all sense of time

The time had come for leaving
I canít say I didnít know
And now Iím through with grieving
Itís time to let you go

For nineteen years together
We strained the bonds that tied
But someday weíll remember
When we walked side by side

Jessie McMeekin's Dreams

by

Jim Hogg


In the derelict cemetery
Sloping gently down through the trees
To the edge of the cold White Loch
In the paradise of Inch
Amongst tilting and sinking reminders
A fatherís desolate pride and remembrance
Scratched in a coarsely quarried stone
Persists. Son after son after son,
From Old Halls, Glenluce
Taken before their time,
And in their midst
Jessie
Aged twenty eight, who sailed
More than twenty thousand miles
To find her peace here
Beneath bluebells
And unsuspecting deer
The sparse commentary
Offers this: Died at sea
Latitude and longitude such and such
And if youíre moved enough
On reading the stone
Youíll find that
Jessie McMeekinís dreams
Carried her
Almost to Tasmania
In eighteen sixty three.

A Belated Reply

by

Jim Hogg

"You have really lovely eyes"
You said, from the seat behind,
Staring into mine,
As the Ďbus sped us home too soon
And I drifted, drifted forever
As you held my stricken gaze
Into those haunting sky blue pools
Beneath long black lashes
Against pale porcelain skin
And had no defence,
No answer,
And not the ghost of a chance
Against a face so free of guile,
And a heart so innocent

Your raven hair fell all around
And your smile made my heart dance
In ways that the language of love
Will never be able to catch

I confess though, that these days I fear
My hold on the past will fade
And in moments made hazy with age
Iíll fall for half truths
And intricate lack lustre lines
That summon a vision,
A passable version
I simply canít resist
But on this I have to be clear
Though Iíll always miss those blue eyes
And that tumbling gypsy hair,
Iíll never get over the loss
Of the heart of the woman behind them
A heart Iíll always hold dear

The Road to the End of the Road

by

Jim Hogg

What do you really believe in then?
I was asked as I pondered the world
And I thought of all the simple things
Like honesty, justice, peace and love
And tried to imagine just how
They could rescue times such as these
From violence and exploitation
And dogma that knows no bounds.

I said I believe in a better world
Though I could see no road leading there
Where these basic concepts are valued
And dreamers donít find themselves cursed
Where we keep our feet on the ground
But never lose sight of the stars
Where truth is respected by power
Regardless of whatís at stake
And where the unit of moral concern
If this life is worth living at all
Is not some unknown collective
But each and every one of us here

And itís there that the answers must lie
I eventually realised
Each of us must become dreamers
If weíre ever to bring about change
For democracy gives us the means
To harness the power of dreams

There is a better world waiting
Where justice and peace will prevail
But how do we get there from here
Where realpolitik holds sway?
Well, the dreamers must enter the fray
And stand up for what they believe
We must balance the consequences
Of every dollar we spend
Every vote weíre honoured to place
And remember, no matter what
The road to the end of idealism
Is the road to the end of the road

In the Distance

by

Jim Hogg

You stormed out of the shop and straight into the street
With your hands in the pockets of your blue overall
And caught me heading home from the half-four bus
"Iíve just had it out with that Elizabeth" you said.
Disarmingly, and I stopped, guilty and wounded
"Supposed to be my best friend but steals my boyfriend"
"What kind of friend does that!" You said, without offence
Without pleading, and I stood helpless and silent
Transfixed by your every endearing detail
As you waited, open-hearted and hurting
And with a witless smile I turned and walked on
I left you alone there . . standing alone there . . .

Weíd fought and we played, and we laughed and weíve cried,
We danced and we walked, and weíd worked side by side
I loved you much more than I could ever express
But turned from you then as if I couldnít care less

And it was August. And the sun was blazing down
I remember the warm breeze over the gardens
The warm stifling breeze and not looking round
And the silence . . . the unbridgeable distance
And a young girl giving me one more chance
Alone in the distance, the unbridgeable distance
With her hands in the pockets of her blue overall

And it was August, and the sun was blazing down

Love's Long Hit and Run

by

Jim Hogg

He wakes and looks across to where sheís lying fast asleep
The years flew past too soon and the learning curve was steep
"But weíve stood the test of time" he thinks, " and the future looks alright"
"The kids will soon be gone, and theyíre all doing fine"
He pulls out of the driveway as sheís waving from the door
He never says the words he should, but he never loved her more
"And through it all sheís been so strong, so steadfast, and so true
And to share the years that lie ahead, no-one else will do"

Chorus
But heís so busy with his life that heís blind to all thatís lost
Those words he couldnít say and the burning bridges crossed
He couldnít see her loneliness and the struggles she survived
And the love thatís fading silently might never be revived

She makes sure that heís gone before she checks the phone
Her loverís waiting down the road where she wonít be alone
This secret love knows no control and so she risks it all
Sheís lying to her children but canít hear her conscience call
She canít say how it came to this; it wasnít in the plan
It never crossed her mind that sheíd love another man
But now heís in her arms thatís where she hopes heíll stay
And to keep this crazy love alive thereís no price she wouldnít pay

Chorus
And though sheís busy with her dreams sheís not blind to whatís at stake
She knows too well that lifeís been fair but sheís not prepared to break
From the happiness she longed for through the struggles she survived
For the sake of love thatís fading and might never be revived

And here I stand between two hearts so broken by the strains
Of all the pressures love can bring and the struggle to make gains
But thereís no shelter from the storms of love, in its loss or in its joys
And the conscience I was proud of once is now without a voice
I could claim this love is such a force it broke my will to fight
But thoí itís been a dream come true, that canít make it right
And when I take the time to look around I know that I must find
The strength I need to right this wrong and leave this dream behind

Chorus
But Iím too busy being blind for thereís no price I wouldnít pay
For all these good intentions love will always find a way
No nothing seems to matter when I meet that hazel gaze
Though everything must shatter Iíll pledge this love always

Yes weíre so busy with ourselves we donít see the damage done
All strangers now to innocence on loveís long hit and run
Where the guilty and the victims see just what they want to see
All dreaming of the moment when true love will set them free

And Starlight Most Of All

by

Jim Hogg

Wooden swords and barking dogs
There was war on every side
The skyline lay beyond your eyes
But my attention was enrapt
I could hear the troops approach
And I knew Iíd have to act
So I said that you looked lovely
In your yellow cardigan
And prepared for your attack
As sparks of blue flashed back
"Who do you think you are?" You asked
"Speaking to me like that."
And a soldier brave
Came to my defence
To excuse my lack of tact
And my heartfelt compliment
And as the battle raged around us
You glanced sideways at me once
Then glanced away before
I caught you glancing back.

And so we started out my love
When we were barely ten
And Iím not ashamed to say it now
You had the better of me then

At summerís end in sixty five
They dragged us back to school
And this time you and I dear
Were seated side by side
No more combat hand to hand
It would all be page and pen
In the feud of daily testing
Your battle plan was simply
To beat me as and when
And every time you pulled it off
Youíd jump up looking proud

But the seasons turned and a softening mood
Fell gently in between
And blue eyes once so scornful
Sparkled the occasional hint
Of something sweet and sharing,
Strengthening within me
A sensational sense of change
The world Iíd known became
Woven through with wonder,
And starlight, most of all
Was utterly transformed
Every silver glistening point
Now sent so sweetly down
An incomparable thrill
To bind this heart to yours
Through all the nights of our lives
As head over heels I fell
And took to blushing and stuttering
When you were near at hand

By the spring of sixty six
We practised jousting tenderly
On a board of Sycamore green
With well worn wooden bats
And a small white plastic ball.
Weíd gaze into each otherís eyes
In rallies without end
As that delicate ball
Blurred back and forth
Between two hearts entwined
Until the spell was broken
By the end-of-lunchtime bell

One Moment of Mercy

by

Jim Hogg

My ambitions like arrows sped straight to their goal
Aimed without honour through eyes without soul
You stepped from the shadow into my sights
And I felt no regrets as they said your last rites
Now I stand here condemned by the same ruthless hand
Not by my choice but by inner command
Guilty as charged I fall at your feet
To confess not my sins but the comfort I seek
. . . from just one moment of mercy

You were the one with the golden embrace
You showed me your soul as I lied to your face
For reasons long gone though the scars still remain
A martyr to pride and a victim of shame
Now you stand here before me wearing a smile
And tell me that I was no more than a child
When I dealt you a blow that marked you for life
If only youíd taken revenge with a knife
. . . in place of this moment of mercy

The heartbreak of autumn, its shade of regret,
On highways and goodbyes linger there yet
I stopped not for doubt nor to count up the cost
Blind to all reason though all had been lost
ĎTil a spark from a heart keeping no track of scores
Scattered the darkness, corrected the course
Made this broken thing whole and brought dust back to life
When your soul touched mine through your smiling eyes
. . . in just one moment of mercy

She Was Gone

by

Jim Hogg

I went out into the world to see what I might see
I tried my hand at everything to see what I might be
I left her wondering somewhere and just kept moving on
And when I stopped to think of her, I found that she was gone

I thought that I would find a love, way beyond compare
All I had to do was search and sheíd be waiting there
I hardly gave a thought to the girl I left behind
And too late my searching taught me that love is truly blind

chorus
So, if youíre out there listening love, I ask you to forgive
A clueless guy who canít forget the things we never did
The love that I once left behind was way beyond compare
When I was lost in searching your love was waiting there

In my dreams Iím holding you, when you were free of ties
Or breaking through your castle walls to gaze on your blue eyes
But when the dawn comes falling thereís nothing there for me
And Iím left chasing rainbows thrown by these memories

Knife Edge Hill

by

Jim Hogg

And so youíre here again
Back where youíve always been
Through years that might have mattered
I must have been distracted
Or maybe I was blind
And kept your heart away from mine

It makes no difference now
I tell myself each day
That you wonít feel the same now
In this chain of choices where
We often lose our way
Until itís much too late to change

Our best belongs to memory
Wishes turned to ashes
And eyes that we once cherished
Burning low and burning slow
As midnight black decays to grey
While we tumble down

This bittersweet decline
To the foot of knife edge hill
Dreaming of its gentler side
The past become a refuge
As hopes that youth designed
Come knocking on my door once more

Promise pulverised by time
Now sand on Logan shore
And children who once danced
On the road at Damnaglaur
Are gone or lost at last
On tuneless journeys through the past

The eager flames of youth
Faded now to colder truths
But there were times at least
Of bliss and trepidation
Song and dance and holding
Sweet romance and closing

Worthwhile dreams fulfilled
But did we feel it then?
They never seemed more real
Than through disappearing years
Back down this trail to you, my love
On this vain search for innocence

Other kids seemed different then
Engrossed in simpler things
While I was lost on you
On a trail I still pursue
Waiting to no avail
In some enchanted hell

Haunted by a melody
Raking time-swept embers
Of a burned out Castle Kennedy
My soul infused with yours
A dream chained to a wreck
Beneath a sea I know to well

Loveís gorgeous open wound
That time could never heal
Lost beneath those substitutes
And meaningless distractions
Until it was never real
And I had lost the strength to feel

Waves of time come crashing down
All the highways that surround
These bridges into yesterday
From this vain war against decay
This clumsy dance of memory
To the thunder of yesterday

-Beneath the Loverís Leap
Round the Lily Pond in June
And the Castle falling down
In the paradise of Inch
Under a fiery sun
We crossed the old canal

Between the Puzzle trees
Our reflections bled as one
In that river running under
Between the Black and White
Through the nights of all those years
Beneath this superficial life

I think I saw your lass
In a shop the other day
I thought maybe I should ask
But the moment passed away
In a chain of moments passing
Marking out the ways we passed

So gently from each other
To the arms that hold us now
From the words I used to you
In tender moments far off down
That river running under
And spilling everywhere

The star of fortune falls
Merciless as memory
To Elvis serenading
Beneath a shaking streetlight
Lips touching one last time
As blue blue eyes looked into mine

Annie From Sandhead

by

Jim Hogg

Thereís no rhyme and thereís no reason to the distances between
The lives that fate allowed us and the life that might have been
We passed so close so often but could never quite connect
And though we may turn and we may twist, the future has been set

We longed for love but waited until our chance was gone
Though memories so sweet and blue dare to linger on
We circled and we searched, but we drifted out of sight
And itís so good to see your eyes once more, in this fading light

Chorus
Oh how could have lived and loved if we had only known
The steps weíd have take to capture love before itís flown
So if weíve tears for crying, itís time to let them flow
For dreams like snowdrops lost, underneath the snow

Iím walking in a circle now; the roads to love are closed
Weíve settled for the choices that destiny imposed
Thereís no saying what would happen if our chance came round again
But I couldnít speak the words to you my eyes were saying then

So weíll never be together, but weíll never be apart
While we can still remember the promise of the past
And in our eyes reflections of all we left unsaid
The tender aching dreams of youth, my Annie from Sandhead

Chorus
Oh how we could have laughed and danced if we had only known
The chains weíd have to break to capture love before itís flown
So if weíve tears for crying itís time to let them flow
For dreams like snowdrops lost, underneath the snow

The Rose Of Inch

by

Jim Hogg

Tonight I went walking in the moonlight
Through the leaves still falling from the trees
In the silence that comes rustling with the night
To spend a little time just missing you

I could see the village lights in the distance
But couldnít bear to walk there without you
Itís been so long since we were there together
Iím guessing that the folks there miss you too

I was talking to some old friends yesterday
We touched on all the changes that weíve seen
And just like me they wonder how you are dear
And wonder if you miss our fields of green

The frost is slowly settling for the evening
The leaves becoming fragile underfoot
Above the loch a mist is gently forming
And I canít stop myself from missing you

The scented lanes that wind along the loch side
Awash in spring with shades of every hue
Never felt so lonely in the moonlight
As if the lanes of Inch still miss you too

The haunted pond down by the ruined Castle
Holds a vague reflection of the moon
And shimmers in the mist as if recalling
The last time I came strolling here with you

Itís easy to imagine youíre here with me
In this paradise we took for granted once
When we were barely more than children
Before we braved the foothills of romance

Itís easy to remember what it felt like
To kiss the lips that once so softly kissed
And while the moonlightís shading into morning
To lose myself in love so sweetly missed

chorus
I know that you and I canít be together
I hope you know youíll always have my heart
And although I wasted every chance dear
Itís enough that I still miss you my sweetheart

Castle Kennedy, Scotland 01 12 06
(A tiny village in beautiful countryside in south west Scotland, with eight lochs within a radius of about a mile and a half. The White Loch, referred to above, lies about three hundred yards to the north of the village, entirely hidden from the view of the world that rushes past on the A75. Consequently itís fairly quiet. The scenery is a bit special! And haunts those who dare to move away.)

No Part Of You

by

Jim Hogg

You know the script by now.
Tea back here about five
Dishes done whenever
No telly. Boredom kills.
Second most potent weapon in the universe.
And Scott Walker in the headphones
You know the songs Iím sure
(And the cure . . . )
Gorgeous pain of release
Surfing on the mainline
In breaking waves of you
Bleeding down the need
Until I can function again
But every junkie
Needs an ever stronger hit
A shot of Elvis reminds me too
And itís a running sore point here
Where thereís nothing of yours
No scarf in flames
(Taken back remember!)
No scented leather watch-strap
No black and white smile for me alone
To kiss goodnight
No lock of gypsy hair. Nothing.
No part of you to hold.
Or hold me
Except in the night
When the sweet brush of your arm
In some fragmented dream
Can do the trick for days
And when I finally find
Something to cling to
How long my love
Before some scheme
Some deceit Iíve engineered
(Any one of many)
To touch your hand
To touch your hair, or
Kiss and hold you
Too lingeringly
Too publicly
Is triggered, and
(Best prognosis)
Blows it all apart
Iím a flickering flame
On the forest verge
Iím a boulder
On a tilting hillside
Iím Havoc in waiting
Iím Hell
On the tatterdemalion wings of love

Untitled

by

Jim Hogg

Your long red dress in the fading light
You stood alone in an empty hall
You looked away when I caught your eye
But I knew who you were waiting for

The devils of time spin the wheel
And donít care how the chips will fall
It isnít ours to choose how we feel
And I couldnít help but heed the call

And we danced, intense and slow
Both so sad, and yet so alive
There was nowhere that this could go
There was nowhere to go but lies
Temptation called for us to fall
The door was open to the ocean air
And you so young, you had it all
It was wrong but we didnít care

Soon crowds appeared and our time was gone
Other arms steered us out of sight
The music played and the dance went on
As you slipped out into the night

When the east wind blows across the Loch
And Iím alone on Wig Bay shore
I think of you and that Nilsson song
Your long red dress and the open door

Renfrew 11 12 06
(Wig Bay Sailing club held discos in their clubhouse on the west shore of Lochryan in the 70s. Usually very civilised and fairly innocent events. The old clubhouse is long gone. Replaced by a modern looking contrivance. There might be discos (or their modern equivalent) going on there yet for all I know, with love and heartbreak as fervent and prevalent as it was way back when. I hope so, for those were good, though sometimes painful, times. Mavourneen is an Irish term of endearment. A little poetic licence has been utilised here. The creature concerned was special beyond my descriptive skills).

The maid of Inishore

by

Jim Hogg

It all seems very strange now looking back
The drinkers sitting silently in rows
Every pair of eyes was fixed on you
As you were singing "thatís the way love goes"
You were Skeeter Davis in the spotlight
And I was seated twenty feet away
Your mum was close beside me sitting tight
And you were looking gorgeous dressed in grey

I still remember clearly how you sang
Sweet enough to break the strongest heart
And canít forget how cruelly my words rang
When I thought the time had come for us to part
The years slipped by and left us both behind
Though we bump into each other here and there
It always feels like stepping back in time
And your dark eyes seem to haunt me everywhere

I canít explain the choices that I made
Except to blame the blindness of my youth
And saying sorry sometimes causes pain
Yet still itís right that you should know the truth
They say that we should reap what we have sown
Perhaps thatís why I find myself alone
But still, itís my good fortune to have known
The fairest maid to grace dear Inishmore

Chorus
We were both so young and full of dreams then
It all comes back so clear from time to time
No, nothingís ever quite the way it seems
And lately darling, youíve been on my mind

Aileen Mavourneen

by

Jim Hogg

Your long red dress in the fading light
You stood alone in an empty hall
You looked away when I caught your eye
But I knew who you were waiting for

The devils of time spin the wheel
And donít care how the chips will fall
It isnít ours to choose how we feel
And I couldnít help but heed the call

And we danced, intense and slow
Both so sad, and yet so alive
There was nowhere that this could go
There was nowhere to go but lies
Temptation called for us to fall
The door was open to the ocean air
And you so young, you had it all
It was wrong but we didnít care

Soon crowds appeared and our time was gone
Other arms steered us out of sight
The music played and the dance went on
As you slipped out into the night

When the east wind blows across the Loch
And Iím alone on Wig Bay shore
I think of you and that Nilsson song
Your long red dress and the open door

Wig Bay Sailing club held discos in their clubhouse on the west shore of Lochryan in the 70s. Usually very civilised and fairly innocent events. The old clubhouse is long gone. Replaced by a modern looking contrivance. There might be discos (or their modern equivalent) going on there yet for all I know, with love and heartbreak as fervent and prevalent as it was way back when. I hope so, for those were good, though sometimes painful, times. Mavourneen is an Irish term of endearment. A little poetic licence has been utilised here. The creature concerned was special beyond my descriptive skills.

The Maid of Inishmore

by

Jim Hogg

It all seems very strange now looking back
The drinkers sitting silently in rows
Every pair of eyes was fixed on you
As you were singing "thatís the way love goes"
You were Skeeter Davis in the spotlight
And I was seated twenty feet away
Your mum was close beside me sitting tight
And you were looking gorgeous dressed in grey

I still remember clearly how you sang
Sweet enough to break the strongest heart
And canít forget how cruelly my words rang
When I thought the time had come for us to part
The years slipped by and left us both behind
Though we bump into each other here and there
It always feels like stepping back in time
And your dark eyes seem to haunt me everywhere

I canít explain the choices that I made
Except to blame the blindness of my youth
And saying sorry sometimes causes pain
Yet still itís right that you should know the truth
They say that we should reap what we have sown
Perhaps thatís why I find myself alone
But still, itís my good fortune to have known
The fairest maid to grace dear Inishmore

Chorus
We were both so young and full of dreams then
It all comes back so clear from time to time
No, nothingís ever quite the way it seems
And lately darling, youíve been on my mind

The setting for this was the Ship Hotel, Drummore, SW Scotland
in July 1974. The family referred holidayed every summer in Inishmore
in the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, Western Ireland. A place of frequent impromptu
ceilidhs and wild merry making. The singer was often invited
by the band to do two or three numbers wherever we were out socialising
(for good reason - and she had a beautiful voice). It was a very good year.


When Two Worlds

by

Jim Hogg

I think weíre in trouble
It all felt innocent enough
And, irresistible, as expected
The hinterland of the unfulfilled
Didnít appear to threaten
Distracted by fear
And riven by doubt
I couldnít see the clouds
Hanging over the skyline
Presaging the work of the ages
The unfolding
Of natureís ruthless plan

Two planets
Thrown out of orbit
Trapped by other stars
But still in thrall
Revolving
In the wrong systems
Is a recipe for surprises
Not least this one
But itís in your eyes
The set of your lips
The way you move
And when we passed
(In tense silence)
It was in my mouth
And on my tongue
It crept around my throat
Over my scalp and into my spine,
Left me swallowing and gasping,
And felled by the truth
The obvious bloody truth
(To any fool but this one)
Concealed in the gravity
Of innocent love
And on course to smash everything
And it canít come soon enough

Fallen Stars

by

Jim Hogg

Have you seen them?
Theyíre hard to recognise straight off
Sometimes theyíre not quite with it
As if their minds are shot,
(Though the opposite is true)
Their ambition long dead
But they watch the world and wonder
Itís likely theyíll have a straight
Though less than obvious answer
To whatever question we devise
Theyíd still beat us hands down at anything
If the notion ever took them, but it wonít
For the winning no longer counts
They probably still look good and move well
Though they might like too much drink or weed
Or be prone to some other indulgent distraction

If you havenít noticed them
You might recall what they used to be:
The ones who had it all
The thoroughbreds with looks, heart and intellect
Often envied, but always excelling in their youth,
Expected to achieve way beyond the norm
Regardless of challenge or adversity,
Without ever raising a sweat
Holding 3 conversations at once and never losing track
Walking about "as if they own the bloody place"
Climbing several mountains simultaneously,
Or high on humanitarian spirit, out to fix the world
In Africa with the starving or the broken
Or on some Indonesian island building boats
Effortlessly, and teaching children how to smile again
And suddenly, one day, while weíre struggling to climb
Our personal humble hill - though we will make it -
Theyíve become misfits, blown to bits
Washed up somewhere in the valleys, destined
Never to scale a single peak, victims of an affliction
That selectively snuffs out some of the best amongst us!
Due to a greater capacity for thrill perhaps?
Or a paralysing sense of utter futility, or what?
And when theyíre waiting out their anonymous lives
Might some of them be found at last on sites like this?

Pale Horses

by

Jim Hogg

Pale horses in the distance signify
Nothing but vagueness now.
Arouse no bleeding wonder
Inflame no fevered passion
Vague mists of sadness linger
Your face, our phase, rolled over
Tamely foreshadowing all
All thatís lost and all thatís still to lose

A vibrant rainbow staples
Receding banks of the Nith
Fixing east to west, holding
Fast against slippage, and
Issues promise near and far
Bracing the flow; the scene
Crowded with possibilities
Of cheap joy and all that brings it to us

Coins tossed in the crosswinds
Grey strands on Criffelís cheeks
The fondest dreams of Burns
Betrayed by Burnsians
No weeping, no memory.
No values, and no regrets
Except a dormant fading
Until the rainbow river runs dry

The far River

by

Jim Hogg

We, who cannot take you there
Have played and toiled in those sands
Swam and lazed in that far river
Walk backwards from it all now

We, who cannot take you there
Have shivered the breezes of spring
Have been the scent of bluebells
Will never lose the craving

We, who cannot take you there
Have sailed the seas of darkness
Have been dissolved to harmony
By love, and seek it always

We, who cannot take you there
Dare not poison the future
Dare not offer you weakness
By mapping out or carrying

We, who would travel with you
Clutch at lifeís slender threads,
And learn too late that hard times
Soon become the best of times

A Simple Game

by

Jim Hogg

And is this all we are?
A recipe in the making
Tested in the battlefield
Of Natureís simple game
Extinction versus survival
A work in progress

Millions of years and
Endless chains of choices
Brought us here for this?
Trammelled us here
Wove impossible temptations
To defeat us pointlessly
On the sweetest tool
The anvil of joy

Vain children
Who believed everything
And narrowed it to nothing
Stand confused now
Letters crossed in love
- Tracer bullets in the moonlight -
Absence and naivety
Made the heart too fond,
Too full, and folly followed
Parachutes failed, and scars,
Uncertainty and deepening lines
Tell all now, as walls close in
The recipe like a broken spell
Irrelevant to age
To unwinding

Yet still we dream,
We wait, for miracles,
Carried by momentum
Into darkening danger
Where more is revealed
As less appeals
And still we wait
Still we hope
As joy persists
To become something
To become ourselves
Gently unleashed
Before the brink

From Ruins

by

Jim Hogg

Old squares of thought lie open to the sky
Dreams composed of hope and brave intention
Live on alone here nestling in the stones
Intruding tenderly in the curious

Breathing sacred air we stand silent within
Voices which were vibrant once still echo here
Bridging time as they flit from dream to dream
And heart to heart within these falling walls

Home, this was home once, for living people
Who struggled and laughed here, loved and died
Who never imagined this dereliction
Or that somehow only dreams would live on

Live on by the banks of the river Cairn
In thoughts turned to ruins of tomorrow

By The River Blue

by

Jim Hogg

Iíd played my cards and lost
Packed my hand to walk away
But stayed there standing-by
Chained to "maybe someday" . .

I filtered out the future
I closed my eyes to truth
Devalued almost everything
Except the call of youth

I charged at all the walls
Condemned our moral laws
Turned sense upon its head
And damned my strength as flaws

Though letting go comes slowly
Itís been coming for a while
The only consolation
Is I went the extra mile

And from there I saw the end
Of this holding on to you
Except by winter starlight
Down by the river blue

Dancing With The Bear

by

Jim Hogg

Conceived in the self-same instant, youíve never been much of a friend
More like a fiendish twin instead, devoted to plotting my end

Part parasite and avenger, you wait and you watch for your chance
Closing, as time does its business, with an invitation to dance

Iíve always been stronger than you but now the tables are turning
You creep like a thief when I sleep to dance me into your burning

No rhythm nor resonance draw me towards your abysmal din
When I push my luck you circle, when I doubt you beckon me in

Iíve seen your numbing prospectus and itís not a compelling case
But since we are forced to dance dear bear letís do it face to face,

Iíll make and take my chances on love and play the game to win
And when you beat me eye to eye you can waltz me gladly in

Knowing where I stood on love and in losing still valued the cause
Knowing the tear youíll see me shed was shed for the ultimate loss

The Fire

by

Jim Hogg

Old Ha (younger than we are now Iím sure)
Would carry out the boxes and papers each week
And empty corn beef tins which never burned
To build a sizeable fire in the county yard

A sprawling outpost of abandoned decades
Broken windows, pipes, inconsequential things
Estranged from that modern world of the sixties
Irrelevant to the flux we chased and played in then

Heíd heap the rubbish up and scratch the box
And if the wind was in the west, kneel to the job
The papers would flicker and the liquid flames
Poured back and forth across the pages and edges

Until it gained the upper hand. Slowly, the spreading heat
Would capture us, as we huddled together up wind
And gazed, into the dancing kaleidoscope
As if waiting for the unveiling of an unguessed at secret

In ourselves or in the strange quiet of the burning
If we talked, the flames would keep their hold;
Weíd angle our heads slightly to the listeners
And talk into the fire, never breaking the eye to eye

With the scorching deep heart that had the power
Ha would stand with a stick, and, every now and again,
Exactly at the right moment, poke some slacking,
Some dying patch of flame, and goad it back into life

Always avoiding the hot hypnotic heart of the blaze
The perfect impenetrable part that fixed us there
Until the precise moment itís hold began to falter
When suddenly, he would go at it with abandon

Master of the flames again, he disappeared to the shop
Unyoked, weíd disengage, but as if hungover,
Would stand for minutes, glancing vacantly at the tins,
Lying at strange angles, mottled black and grey

As the ash, light as air, vanished on the wind