Liberty Line

Crocodile caravan coming our way

Barred before

Harried behind.

Stumbling, tumbling

Plunging, floating, sinking

Stinking boats, stalled trains, shanks’ pony

Shanks long, short, aged, infant

Powerfully pounding the tarmac

Painfully limping the dirt track

Rattling along the rail track

Tottering hopefully into the Hauptbahnhof.

The Airt o Declaration

Wabbit fae the bloody fecht, caul and weet fae weather

Liggin laigh fae peel tae peel,  joukin in the heather,

Seekin freens in whitna airts a puckle fowk can fin them:

Flanders, France, the Hanseatics, Danes, the Halie Feyther,

Pledgin tae nae earthly maister, laird, or thane or king

In fear he’ll strike ye doon, or in howp tae gain likin

But tae a thocht, an abstract dream, a hauf-misshapen greenin

Wintin a better nation.


Heartened fae the campaigns, caul and weet fae weather

Mairchin  toon tae toon, forty thoosan thegither

Seekin freens in whitna airts a stateless land can fin them:

Norway, Ireland, Catalonia, Iceland, the twinty-seevin

Pledgin tae nae politeecians, procurers o power or labour

In fear they’ll tak yer siller, or in howp they’ll gie ye favour

But tae a thocht, an abstract dream, a lang-estaiblished  greenin

Plannin a better nation.

Voyagers 2003

Twinty-five year

And a licht hour fae hame

Birslin up the interstern causey

Brandishin images

Clean-cut Americans

Adrift on orra quasars.


An inch alang ma pinkie

On a finger-neb o bane

Birslin up the internuclear causey

Brandishing images

Baggit-eed mimmerkins

Adrift on orra quarks.


Warlds birl in eternity

Ends tryst in infinity

Solar stour on the cosmic shelf

Galaxies in a pinkie skelf.

Gin we canna fin life in outer space

Inby is a yet mair unkent place.

Nae Quarter


Roon O



Wah Wah

Heid like a neep

Waarm and wee

Pink bud asleep

Oan wur tree.


Here Ah strunt, the warld’s room’s mine

Richt on sang, gallus, free!

Ah’ve aw the plans an aw the time

A dizzen cities beckon me

A score o different weys tae wend

A hunnert fowk tae mak ma freen.

A thoosand new-farrant thochts tae send!

The heichs are blue, the glens are green.


Ah ken bi noo Ah’m likely through

The middle merk that ligs atween

Though sun’s still high, twaloors is by

The morra rings in douce yestreen

An yet, as Ah gang sloomin doon

Fae salad days tae glen o greetin

Ilk morn wi rosy hope is croonit

The daw yet sends the grey cluds fleetin.


And noo, hauf-hoodit in the haar o Time

The Baddies come ridin in ower the faur lea.

They’re aye in the distance, a blearie wee line

Kickin up sic a stour, they hide fae the ee.

Ah noo an again gliff them; they’re ilka ane there

Arthritis, Angina, the aul Werr and Terr.

Their daithly braith jeels me, Ah tell masel, Naw,

A wee tummy twang, it’s naethin ava,

Jist a wee sniffle, whaur’s the cough cure?

Need a new telly, soond’s affa puir

Nae faur intae gloamin, nae muckle tae fear,

But naethin’s mair siccar and naethin’s mair clear

Amang thae pale riders a black-hattit ane

Has whittled lang syne ma name on his gun.


Was coorie in

Canna lang last

Nae muckle future

Bit …..whit a graun past!



Mary McCabe