David H Killop

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The Tree.

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.                                                                                    


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.


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.

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