When not at work
you played The Stones on a red Dansette.
Your rooster strut and pose just like Mick Jagger,
chequered shirt loose around your shoulders.
When you upgraded to a Philips stereo,
you pushed back the three piece suite,
took my hands and birled to Mantovani.
While mum prepared dinner, you performed
magic tricks, made pennies disappear and
recovered them from behind my ear.
You made me a ring from an old shilling.
Told me it was illegal to deface the crown.
I was awestruck.
You carved me a sword out of soft wood.
Rab MacMillan broke it. You repaired it
with a matchstick and Araldite precision.
You made sure I learned the words to Four Green Fields;
the rebel record you smuggled from Belfast. I felt safe
when you and papa got red faced with the troubles in Ireland.
You taught me how to dig out weeds, how to reach
beneath the roots so they wouldn’t snap,
told me off if they did.
Kevin Reid is a dad, who travels and works between Scotland and Greece. His poetry can be read in various online and printed journals including Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat and Tears and Under the Radar. A mini pamphlet Burdlife (Tapsalteerie) was published in 2017 and his latest pamphlet Androgyny (4word) was published in May 2018. A new pamphlet will be published by 4word in 2020.
(for Dad, and his new joint)
O, give me the firesides
of farting old fuckers, whose
crumpet kicks off
with cocoa and jam.
Eighty? He’s mine!
I’ll slot in just fine — take me home.
The Doric for socks?
I don’t give a toss, but I see
that they’re thick, and stuffed
into boots, which are scarily fuzzy
with Nik Wax. So who
is this codger who climbed
Cotopaxi, and is pictured with people
strung out on the Picos?
This rampant old grandpa swings
monkey ring things, high
Tarzans the lengths at the baths.
So soon, he’ll be stripping
off mockings of surgical stockings,
he’s ditching his crutches,
he’s clipping on crampons —
The Hipster was first published in Seagate III (ed. Andy Jackson, Discovery Press, 2016).
Beth explains that this poem was written about her Dad (86) as he approached his 80th birthday … and a hip replacement. She adds that, despite having subsequently broken his hip and femur, hillwalking in the Canaries, he probably walks more each day than most of his neighbours!
Beth McDonough studied Silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art. After an M Litt at Dundee University, she was Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Her work connects strongly with place, particularly to the Tay, where she swims year-round. Her poetry is published in Gutter, Stand, Magma and elsewhere. In Handfast (with Ruth Aylett) she explored experiences of autism, as Ruth examined dementia. Beth’s solo pamphlet, Lamping for pickled fish, is published by 4Word.