Showing posts from May, 2011

The Sunday Post

Hullo ma wee blog,

Drifter. {1950.}

The long net, tassled with corpses, came
Burning through the water, flowing up.
Dogfish following it to the surface
Turned away slowly to the deep.

The Daffodil squatted, slid ahead
Through the red kyle* with thirty crans*
Of throttled silver in her belly.
Her anchor snored amid its chains.
And memory gathered tarry splinters,
Put shadowy sparkles in her bag,
Slid up her sleeve the hills of Harris
And stole Orion and the Dog.

I sat with that kind thief inside me;
I sat with years I did not know
Heaped on my knees. With these two treasures
I sailed home through the Gaelic sea.

Norman MacCaig.


Hullo ma wee blog,

It's nice to get a comment or two on something you've published. Most comment comes from those readers who're kind enough to regularly share their thoughts or reactions to what's been posted but occasionally I'll get a comment from someone as a new visitor or someone who follows but hasn't commented before. Normally, as is probably the case in your own blogging experience, most readers don't comment one way or the other, which is fair enough.

This week though I had some contact that was a bit different. A lady in New Brunswick in Canada emailed me to say her husband had stumbled onto 'Crivens Jings' while looking for some information about a relative killed in WWII. They'd been hunting for some time with limited success, partly hindered by lack of information about her relative and partly because records weren't available in Canada and gaining access in this country seemed a convoluted rigmarole of red tape. The situation…

Why I should never re-read Old Postings

Hullo ma wee blog,

I should never re-read old postings because..........

As far as I'm concerned there are few rules to blogging. Think what you want, write it down, bung it out there. That's about it as far as I've ever considered what I've written. Sure, it's nice to get a comment or two. Aye, even better when you get to know a regular commenter and fellow blogger and there develops a bit of banter, a mutual understanding. Shared thoughts, themes, values are batted back and forth between us, mutual appreciation and encouragement given, questions and challenges made and deeper understanding develops. That's the good side.

There's a concept about blogging I never really came across before today though. You see, when I post something, I generally do it like I am just now, off the top of my head. You know the stuff; brain cell engaged; thought occurs; post done; hit spellcheck; quick read and then 'bang' it's gone, out there for all to see. That&…

Ritual Smugness....

A Jackdaw lands on the roof.
Hullo ma wee blog,

Mornings, especially early mornings, are my time in the house. This is particularly true for Sunday mornings like today when I wake rested and ready to go at 5.15am. Today the sun glints soft gold into the bedroom through the bottom of the cracked open velux window. Birds are singing and there is a definite feel of freshness and vitality to the air. Despite this I try to resist the allure of morning as I've had a rare settled night and have slept for at least 6 hours, which is luxury. I reach out and touch the soft skin of the Lovely G lying fast asleep beside me and lie for a moment or two connected by this touch before brushing a few strands of her thick black hair away from her face. I see her pout in her dreams and am content for several long minutes to just watch her sleep before gently easing myself out from under the covers and, collecting my clothes from the untidy, half-heartedly semi-folded pile at the side of the bed, make…

The Sunday Post

Hullo ma wee blog,

Goat. {1956}

The goat, with amber dumbells in his eyes,
The blase lecher, inquisitive as sin,
White sarcasm walking, proof against surprise.

The nothing like him goat, goat-in-self,
Idea of goatishness made flesh, pure essence
In idle masquerade on a rocky shelf -

Hangs upside down from lushest grass to twitch
A shrivelled blade from  the cliffs barren chest
And holds the grass well lost; the narrowest niche

Is frame for the devils face;the steepest thatch
of byre or barn is pavement to his foot;
The last. loved rose a prisoner to his snatch;

And the man in his man-ness, passing, feels suddenly
Hypocrite found out, hearing behind him that
Vulgar vibrato, thin derisive meh-eh.

Norman MacCaig.

The last byte!

Hullo ma wee blog,

It's been very quiet this week in the house of 'Crivens Jings'. A quiet week tinged with sadness as I come to terms with the passing of a close friend. This friend - who's name isn't important - was a confidante in the wee small hours when things are sometimes at their worst. A friend, never judgmental, no matter what secrets were told, trusted with treasures and important things to hold for the future and who could always be relied upon to be entertaining when needed, serious when it mattered, able to be called upon when insomnia and worries kept sleep from me, always able to give me a view of the world that showed me that things are rarely as bad as you fear and that a smile can come from the most unlikely places.

Thankfully I was there at the end and in the end it was quick and probably painless. I tried resuscitation but it was not to be. So, gratefully, I'm left with photo's, songs we shared and letters we'd written. Things I can…

The Sunday Post

Hullo ma wee blog,

This weeks Poem is dedicated to blogger pal Big Swifty, a keen poet and avid walker who loves the highlands and who is in Scotland at the moment raising funds for charity with a poetry performance in the most remote coffee shop in the country in aid of Leukemia research.

All the best Swifty.

Climbing Suilven. {1954}

I nod and nod to my own shadow and thrust
A mountain down and down.
Between my feet a loch shines in the brown,
Its silver paper crinkled and edged with rust.
My lungs say No;
But down and down this treadmill hill must go.

Parishes dwindle. But my parish is
This stone, that tuft, this stone
And the cramped quarters of my flesh and bone.
I  claw that tall horizion down to this;
And suddenly
My shadow jumps huge miles away from me.

Norman MacCaig.

The Curious tale of the Dog and the.......

Hullo ma wee blog,

I sit in the car waiting for the lovely G  to come back from her shopping, idling away the time by people watching. Close in front of the car is a bench seat and a fairly young mother is sitting there with her back to me. A push chair type of buggy with a very young child in it is in front of her and this is getting all her attention. A small blond haired boy of maybe six or seven is sitting beside her but separated by a couple of feet and at his side is a Labrador dog. It’s facing him and is paying him rapt attention.

As I watch another young mum comes along and they greet each other as friends and start to chat. Greetings are exchanged with the wee boy and then the two ladies bend animatedly over the buggy, getting deep in what can only be baby talk. The little fella beside them is clearly bored by all this but possibly he knows that he shouldn’t interrupt and he certainly seems to know to stay by his Mum as he doesn’t try to get away or even mindlessly wander fr…

VE Day 1945/Operation Manna

Hullo ma wee blog,

Today's the 8th of May, also known as V.E. Day. V.E. day marked the end of hostilities in Europe in WW2.  It also marked the final 'operational' sortie flown by my father in Lancasters of 153 Squadron, Bomber Command.

A year ago today I was on the point of completing a series of posts on the blog following him and his squadron during the last few months of the war. Since then these posts have proven to be some of 'Crivens Jings' most popular in terms of hits and I've been contacted by people across the world who have a link to the men who flew those missions and served in 153 Sqdn and others of bomber command. I've never re-posted a complete entry before but here's what I posted a year ago. The page had been getting multiple hits over the last week and the anniversary of the end of Operation Manna explains why.  If you'd like to read more of their expoits click on 153 Sqdn on the labels list below my profile for a list of them.

The Sunday Post

Hullo ma wee blog,

Street Preacher. {1962}

Every Sunday evening at seven o'clock
He howls outside my window. He howls about God.
No tattered prophet: a rosy bourgeois, he lifts
His head and howls. He addresses me as friend.

One day I'll open the window and howl at him
And so betray his enemy. I'll call him brother.
Who'd laugh the louder, the Devil or God, to see
Two rosy bourgeois howling at each other.

When he goes coughing home, does he speak to his wife
Of the good fight well fought, the shaft well sped,
Before he puts God's teeth in a glass and, taking
His sensible underclothes off, rolls into bed.

Norman MacCaig.

Late night music.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Sitting doing social work reports prep into the wee small hours for a hefty set of childrens panels next week and listening to some music to help the information sink in.

I thought I might as well subject you to it as well. Headphones on. Volume high. Malt whisky to hand - check!

Time for bed.


The Cat Who Stares At Postmen

Life's tough you know
Hullo ma wee blog,

Jess was in mischievous mode. She'd been a pain this morning wanting attention all the time when I have things to do. She kept me awake half the night too, tramping on my head and vulnerable bits whenever I tried to fall asleep while she was determined that I would be more usefully employed as a cat masseuse. Each time my hand stopped for more than a moment she would nudge it, slide a nose under it and try to force it back into its position on her neck and shoulders. If this was unsuccessful she would stand and walk meaningfully up my side to look me in the face where she would decide whether to walk on my head or just apply a judicious splat with a splayed paw. Once or twice she rested her paw on my cheek as if to remind me that she could just as easily be doing this 'with' claws as 'without'. Sometime during the night my groans and pushing her down the bed had won the battle if not the war and she had settled herself …

The Sunday Post

When he speaks a small sentence,
he is a man
who presses a plunger that will
blow the face off a cliff.

Or: one last small penstroke -
and the huge poem rides
down the slipway, ready
for enormous voyages.

He does more than he does.
When he goes hunting
he aims at a bird and
brings a landscape down.

Or he dynamites a ramshackle
idea - when
the dust settles,
what structures shine in the sun.

'Hugh MacDairmid'
By Norman MacCaig.