David H Killop
Scraggy fingers grasp the sky
Their fleshy leaves now long time lost
Returned to earth from whence they came
A ruined crown now dressed with frost.
The tree now naked stands serene
While nature tries with snow to dress
Yet thus disrobed the beauty bides
The tree is still a tree no less.
On its axis spins the earth
And circumnavigates the sun
Moving to that place in space
From whither summer seasons come.
The buds exploding on the branch
Open up to summers rays
And winter nights are giving way
To longer warmer summer days.
The tree all green in glory now
Reveals to us some greater power
Which we may never understand
Until, perhaps, our final hour.
The Epic of Billy the Bum
On the Appalachian foothills our home was just a shack
With corrugated roofing and a toilet round the back
The family lived off the welfare so cash was always low
We played among the garbage we had no where else to go.
We had a conked out radio it crackled but it played
From all those fancy music halls the melodies relayed
Their voices were Hillbilly so we understood each word
Some songs were sad, others bad, others praised the Lord.
I was last of thirteen kids and dressed in hand-me-downs
By the time the clothing got to me it sure had done the rounds
Not knowing any better I never suffered shame
All my buddies at the school were dressed the very same.
My fathers brother Billy had left to go to sea
As I was titled after him I think he leaned to me
Having Sailed around the world and travelled near and far
When he sailed into Hawaii he bought me a guitar.
I persevered and practised 'till my fingers were so sore
At times I felt like giving up but somehow practised more
And then one day it hit me and suddenly it clicked
The whole thing came together and then I had it licked.
Now I joined the big time and found I had the gift
A very modest background ensured I had the thrift
After years of scratching I was hungry for the buck
So I felt I had to praise the Lord for giving me the luck.
So I started out well when my records did sell
And relaxed with a life filled with ease
It was a wonderful day when it all went my way
So the good Lord was given the breeze.
For an exceedingly long while I was living ln style
My life was secure and carefree
My terrible sin was I forgot about Him
And it appeared He forgot about me.
Nothing kills quiker than women and liquor
Mamma would tell all her brood
Watch how you live, beware, do not give
the devil the chance to intrude.
Mamma knew best but failed in the test
When it came to chemical war
I popped a lot of pills at first, well, no ills
I'd uppers ad downers galore.
So it wasn't the drink as some people think
'Twas the powder white powder called coke
It ruined my life, it cost me my wife
And soon I ended up broke.
Then my terrible fate I began to lose weight
And now I'm a physical wreck
Here I lie dying there's no use in crying
I just hope God gives me a break.
If this story is sad don't blame the poor lad,
I thought as he lay in the gutter
The story he'd tolled was sad but so old
Now his voice was only a mutter
"Is it not about time I gave up this rhyme?"
And he beckons my ear to come near
The smell of his breath nearly put me to death
As he whispered"I'd love one more snort."
In Memory Lies Hope.
There are many, many kinds of love
You'll Experience during your life
There's the love you have for your parents
And the love you have for a wife
There's the love you have for your children
And the ones that your children have wed
But the strangest love is for loved ones
long after those loved ones are dead.
For the memories are all of your being
They're the joy of the things of the past
Of the precious times spent together
That for ever and ever will last
Is this what makes loved ones immortal?
Is this why believing's the thing?
That sends from the grave the good message
That death has really no sting.
Yet one must think of the present
And what the future can bring
To make the memory important
And tell of that wonderful thing
So when it is time for departure
We take this message to send
to all in the world who are grieving
That parting is never the end.
THE PEN AND PENCIL SET
Writers have sometimes been asked where they found the inspiration for a story. I have no problem with this. The blame must fall fairly and squarely on the shoulders of one James 'Jim' Graham,. a celebrated member of our equally celebrated writing club 'Men with Pens'.
He arived with a big envelope and sugested that we each write something about one of the articles he withdrew. These appeared, to my recollection, in the following order:- Masking Tape, Evostick, Pen and pencil set. Book of Stamps, Guitar tuner and Calculator. I knew immediately that the pen and pencil was for me. The item raised pleasant memories of my friendship with Kenneth 'Ken' Wilson A marine engineer who had become a volunteer with the 'Friends of Summerlee' and who presented me with such an item.
I have named this story 'The Pen and Pencil Set' but it should be named 'Th Pen and Pen Set' as originally the set was of two pens; one, the well known ink and nib or the fountain pen while the other was of the ball point variety (properly reffered as a biro pen named after the person who launched it on to the market during the late nineteen forties).
However I digress!
Of the two pens the ball point was missing in that Ken had used it; nevertheless the other pen was something special. When I was given it I knew this was no ordinary pen. It was unusually weighty and on the top was emblazed the Mercedes-Benz car symbol.
Frankly I was somewhat taken aback when he gave me this and my Initial reaction was to give it back. This offer was wawed aside. It was given with generosity and accepted as such.
I had met Ken through our mutual friendship of 'The Friends of Summerlee' a type of social gathering which included those with something to offer in promoting the interest of Summerlee Museum.
I had nothing to offer personally in this gathering og the good and gifted engineers havving spent a lifetime counting little peices of paper and even smaller metal disc (I suppose someone has to make up wages and salaries and pay out as far as just, due and on demand). My contribution, if you will, was to take the cakes that Colina had baked to summerlee without bashing the meringues an insuring that the jelly on the strawberry remained on the stawberries.
Ken appeared on the scene sometime in 2002 after an outstanding careerin marine engineering. Yet he had a membership card which dated back to 1991. Clearly he had anticipated ahead for a time when he retired and could contribute his accumulated knowledge for the advancement and care of the machinery at Summerlee.
On his first visit his demeanour was one of a casual onlooker yet it was soon obvious, even to the cake carrier, this man was an engineer who was the exemplary Scottish engineer known and respected the world over.
Even the USS Enterprise had a Scottish engineer!
Ken had a great sense of humour, a sharp mind, generous in praise, but did not suffer fools gladly. There was little doubt he had run a tight ship.
In his final days, despite knowing the full extent of his illness, he never changed. He carried himself with dignity and always had a tale to tell and a joke to share.
His knowledge. his persoality and good company are remembered.
David H Killop
The darkness was sliced by flying snow
By a northern wind blown syorm
The man walked on like a half shut knife
In his mud caked uniform.
Through death like bloodshot eyes he walked
While around him screams of hell resounded
Still he pressed on to meet his fate
To the place where his life was ended.
A CAUTIONERY TALE FOR CHRISTMAS.
Christmas bells are ringing this time is oh so sweet
All those fancy tempting shops think it's all so neat
Tills go jingle jangle the money's rolling in
People overspending this must be a sin.
Time will come for paying by now the time is gone
To try to be more thrifty the budget's gone all wrong
The letter box is clanking the postman calls with grief
Today there's only eight demands so that is some relief.
And he will call tomorrow with another bulging hand
We only wish that we had thought of credit being panned
Cah will only stretch so far the stuff is not elastic
So when you have no credit it's time to rip the plastic.
Two battle weary soldiers were riding home again
Good men they've watched dying good men they have slain
They fought for God and country to win the war their way
One wears Union battledress the other rebel grey.
They fought for God and country, killed and maimed and cried
When men they'd known from so far off homes lay in mud and died
They saw them carried to a grave and quickly covered o'er
Then orders would come down again to go and kill some more.
But now the war is over, the battles have been won
And men from every walk of life have gone to feed the gun
and love ones left behind them have paid the price of war
The songs are not of battle now but song of war no more.
Two saddle weary brothers are camped down for the night
Across a flickering camp fire each sees the others plight
Was it right to go on fighting to go and kill and maim?
Each knows the answer and is sure this can't start again.
Those saddle weary brothers ride back to their home town
Very soon they marry and quickly settle down
Soon they have some children and they in turn have more
And all they are producing is more fodder for a war
In World War One and World War Two bugles blared once more
How quickly the memory blurred to the slaughter gone before
And then there was Korea and a land called Vietnam
Where killing was improving and no-one gave a damn
For the stuff they feed the guns on is the likes of you and me
It's the thing that they revert to when politicians disagree
So should it ever start again, don't be scared to say
Your kids are staying in today and won't be out to play.