Milngavie, end of April

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Siege mentality
frowns in town all round
hoods up shoppers hurry
while above the banal collage
of benign suburban roofs
distant green fields halt
their spring advance midway
the Campsies cloaked ice-white
implacable cliff faces
deathly chorus line
cold northerly breathing
down quivering necks
necklines plunging mercury
violent voile of mist
ruff collar sheer shift
eyes turn grey and steely blue
the clouds regroup
consider every hue.

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Valediction

Oil on board, 1989Don’t look for me I am gone
beyond all which may be known
lost in the hidden places
fallen between pages of yesterday
forgotten as the dust in our pockets
on a day we never met or kissed
I am the light on a distant roof
the cloud a church spire points to
accusing that which may never be
called to account too late
I am a door closed a moment
before you got there the keys
still swinging in the lock
in the wind of never was
the train not caught
a letter unopened
soaked in the rain of tears
fragrant erasure of love
unreadable on an empty pavement
remember me but treasure more
what we could have been
when you find me I’ll be dead
then you’ll understand
the mirror’s message written
on our palms crossed with thunder
of rained out summers whispering
now you’re dead too.

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Trains

suburban train

TRAINS

Some nights
closing my curtains late
I glimpse a train moving through
our sleeping town
and all the suffering world
is drawn aside by a higher hand
who whispers here is order
beauty that man and woman
were put on earth to do
connecting and collecting
blossom and seed
the fruits of good works
scattered in harmony
to gather and to grow
Take heart you who are part
not separate from the whole
but numbered and enfolded
within my vision all is forgiven
anticipated and known
work hard and sleep
keep my earth’s garden
and let all the shining trains
come through.

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Skywards

It’s not just treesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
that writhe and strain
towards the light and rain
but buildings too
frozen mimes of stone
locked in silence like
the gentle dead who built them
nonetheless enact
the secret whispers in our head
chaste proxies for our souls
express our longing
for more than sun and air
but order also, harmony
stability, beauty, eternity
see there the distant steeple
over drowsy roofs
between the canyon streets
seeming pointing where
all the clouds swirled about
reveal a clear blue
eye of sky. I can no less see
the world like this
than a wall can will to fall,
a memory of love or life
contrive to die.
Our arguments with gravity
accuse the sun, make shadows
of our fears, conducting
lightning’s symphony down
bring the very stars to tears.

Little Church In Woodland

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News

Sleep Corporation-160815Time I think for an update here of some bits and pieces. An excellent review has just appeared over at the British Fantasy Society website of my ninth book “The Sleep Corporation”, a collection of 31 short stories from right across my life to date, starting from when I was a mere boy in my early twenties.

Returning to the present, two new short stories of mine have recently appeared in interesting new anthologies. One is called “Bird Brains” and appears in the compilation  “Existence Is Elsewhen” from Elsewhen Press. It starts out as an essay on drunkenness, heads off into particle physics and evolution then concludes by revealing itself as a rather provocative allegory for recent terrorist disturbances in Europe and the social division which fuels them. existence elsewhenOccasionally authors stumble into accidental predictions of future events. I was disturbed to discover six months after writing this story that it correctly predicted the location of recent terrorist attacks and their places of origin. Intuition is an interesting word in English: it does not necessarily imply the supernatural, only a subconscious grasp of factors and forces beyond the conscious reach.

The second story is called “A Dream Of Blue Sunlight” and is based on a very weird dream I had and my attempt to describe it in an email to friend and fellow author Jet McDonald. This one has found it way into a little gem of a book: “A Galaxy Of Starfish“, an anthology of modern surrealism from Salò Press, edited by Sophie Essex.Starfish

Today, a poem of mine about architecture called “Rebuilding 18 Park Terrace” has appeared on the website of Stanza here, who held their annual poetry festival at the start of March in the beautiful seaside town of St.Andrews and apparently even had transfers in local shop windows of some the lines from this poem.

Finally, following the death of my eldest brother the painter Ally Thompson, I have created a new page here on this blog with a mini-gallery devoted to the very best of his work. I hope to increase awareness of his remarkable talent and legacy over coming months and years.

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Discontinued

In the fog of uncertaintyportrait of the artist
a train carries me
through the discarded husk
of your ended life
your studio keys in my pocket
your diaries in my haversack
open in front of me:
so many of your appointments
never to be kept
friendships left cut in mid-air
and somewhere ahead;
a whole room of paintings
faces turned to the wall
like sulking children
waiting to turn and tell
their story of a life
of a man who tried and failed
as must we all but went down
fighting like no other
my brave hopeless brother
the blood on the walls
you taught to sing.

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In Memoriam Ally Thompson 1955-2016

Crail_March

THE EAST NEUK

What am I without him?
who opened these eyes
shaped my every perception of this world?

As yesterday we drove the coast
of our childhood: the red tiled-roofs
labyrinthine streets of longing
a past from which my heart
may never find its way out
towards the glittering sea
high on the horizon at the end
of every vista.

The old park behind Crail church
where you dazzled the local lads
with your incredible football skills
when we reluctantly accepted their challenge.
The churchyard whose unquiet voices
chilled my soul each time I was sent to retrieve
the overshot ball.

High in the sky like a sun
that ball will never fall now
the whispers of the dead a promise
all too eloquently fulfilled.
The seagull that attacked us
swooping over the church:
we joked it was a dead sailor
from our father’s naval folklore;
I see now it was you
an omen from the future
your restless soul crying out
for the love that life could never give you.

But I can find it for you at last
a little longer now, be patient
and I will return to you
my brother.

 

(The East Neuk of Fife is an area of Scotland characterized by ancient fishing villages of narrow winding streets. The obituary of my brother Ally Thompson can be read in The Herald newspaper here.)

Isle of May

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