Christmas Time.

Christmas time…………………84

Xmas tree green an bright stawnin oan the flair
awe things hingin fae the limbs sparklln the room
red an white black and awe angels swingin oan
covered linen oan the table pure as driven snaw.

Boxes oan the bottom wrapped in merry paper
wae corners wore awa an some nearly open
the heavy wans an bright big things lay quietly
daring any hawns thit wid want tae touch thim.

An oan the windi sill oot ben the back lies waitin
ashets clean an ready tae be yazed wans mair
a dumpling lies wae thrupenny bits steamin there
enough tae feed an army maybe even the weans.

The screw taps oan the table furr the uncles tae drink
wae cartons oaf smokes thit awe kin go an hiv a draw
an talk wae a mention oaf things good an bad an laugh
oaf where the coal fae that welcome fire really came fae.

Aye xmas time in oor wee hoose awe wiz stull an quiet
wae reflections oan whit might hiv been it anither time
if the dice had landed right wiey up doon it the pitch an toss
an we wurr awe the gither tae talk oor memories awe day.

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Joh Stokes.

A Bad Day.


A bad day…………………………..52.
General warren ahn hiz kind wae personal effects trundled doon
wae his portable cast iron bath ahn ither things tae comfort him
the baggage train wiz so lang it needed mair protection ahint
ahn Colenso wiz forgone fur lack o’time thiy wur defeated while.
The boer dug in ahn waited thim fur thiy hud awe day fur that
seein fae the spion kop they might ahs hiv weel sent ah paper
fur botha wiz readin bibles ahn said it wiz ah gid sign indeed
ahn pitched ah tent ahn waited fur the imperial government.
Bit thorneycroft ahn his mounted infantry saw it awe unfold
wae awe his generals fawin doon exitin command tae him
ahn nae support fae warren busy wae his bath ahn sink
forgoat tae send thorneycroft wati’r ahn some rations.
Ahn the quartermaster wiz fun oot fur derelict negligence
they held ahint a thousand spades ahn gied ony twenty
wae ah thousand men watchin idly diggin intae rock slate
ahn awe the canned beef thiy threw awa oan the climb up.
Whin the mornin fog hud lifted in thir trench thiy waited still
bit the quartermaster never showed wae ah drink o watti’r
a thousand boer wae machine guns ahn naval shells screamin
ravaged the trench thit thiy dug ahn buried thir remains.
The boer wiz roundin up surrenders bit thorneycroft saw that
ahn ran wae sword tae botha’s men confrontin thim heid oan
tae the 2nd battalion cameronians fell ahn sorted it he thanked
tae live anither day he waited oan fur warrens great command.
Thorneycroft hud entered in his dispatch book he intended whit
noo he wiz ah general fur he wiz promoted oan that deathly hill
telt the runner thit it wiz bettir tae hiv six battalions doon the grun
thin loast thim awe wae the wounded boys lyin oot thir still.
Warren hud ah bath ahn shave ahn turned tae look ootside
ahn saw the tide wiz turnin tae git acroas the swollen river
he took his rubber duck ahn lay it oot tae dry drinkin coffee
thit came fae fortnum ahn masons whit his wife sent oot.
The story nevir ended thir fur some wan hud tae take accoont
ahn tell the queen that the generals deed wae splinterd heids
the adjutant done the joab ahn mentioned it tae warren sayin
If yi hud left yir bath at hame ahn used whit wiz provided sir.
The boer widnae hud haulf the time tae welcome us ahn take
oor naval guns ahn awe it’s shells tae yaz oan us fae colenso
thit smashed oor boys oan thit hill thit wiz undefended ahn sir
ah no ahm no welcome fur writin this oan ah government report.
Bit truth tae tell fur awe yir kind thit hiz such ah joab tae dae
yi could aht least hiv issued spades fur ah thoosand men
ahn empty oot yir cast iron bath sendin thim the watti’r ahn
aye yi wull be judged oan awe this it some future date from
ah jiner fae burnbank ahn passed it oan tae thim thit listen.
The above was written for Historic Hamilton by John Stokjes

The Hero

The Hero…….

Ah yazed tae be a hero
wore the tartan trews
camped in far flung lands
an marched alang wi you.
We used to be twa hunner
but that wiz wars ago,
the sniper and the orders
through clouds of fire we go
some were left ahm sorry tae sae
so far away fae hame.
But ma freen your niver
too far away from me.
When that postin wiz dun
we marched across the world
camped at hamiltoon barracks
and drank till the sun went doon.
The heilen men were rampant
causin quite a stir, fur boys from Troon
they kept their time before they went to war.
They slept ootside the gates of course
such was their delight
We cut their hair and marched them oot
when we thought them fit.
Tae shoot a gun an march awe nicht
tae holmwood green an pitch their tents.
The sergeants men of honour tae
were camped at the Tillietudlem bor
alang wi auld yins who they say
fought the whirlin dervish and at Waterloo.
We remember the men from Troon
an awe thir tales o’ hame
of how their mithers were so proud
when they came marchin hame.
We used tae be twa hunner
but now we are so few
we bit oor tongues fur a better life
Oor reward wiz a in the pits
at least we were dry and warm
and in that place alone at nicht
my thoughts wid turn to them.
The strike we had to do fur the hoors were long
awe this talk from fighten men
workin roon the clock
The sojers came wae bayonets fitted
an cried when they saw we were
The men that trained them how to live
in some far off holy war.
Noo were the wanes who sleep ootside
fur the kings shillin wiz all gone.
When ah walk the back roads ah sometimes see forever
wee Davie Tam and shuggie marchin as in youth
fine athletic men were they and prood as ever can be
carved in Granite on the banks of Auchentibber.


The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by John Stokes.

The Cooncil Man……….(To Hugh Hainey)

The cooncil man dressed in black garb
came noakin at oor front door
hiz point wiz vague fur us at furst
yasin forty wurds whin twa wid dae
Mah grannies broo goat furried when he left
oor days at the jungle wur no tae last.
Auld gran paw di had deed a miners wae
wae lungs awe black an riddled wurs thin
ony bullet scorched hero’s he dragged back tae hiz lines
when they asked him tae save oor souls back then.
aye a miner fur the Bardykes men
they pied us oaf wae lumps o’ coal and dust
the wains wur gone and merrit then
the hoose wiz big and lost its soul.
The cooncil man wiz good enough at furst
then spied hur goods and offfered his concern
aboot hur tea set from china wiz wurth a baubee or twa
she could sell fur hur furst weeks rent
gave hur a flat in scunner place Hillhoose
nae coal wiz needed nae gairdin either
wae electric light and a meter.
The means test man come tae pick at crumbs
to document all she had and wurth
to balance cooncils books wae pennies
taen fae mah grannies purse
Awe this from a wuman who reared seven wee yins
oan a miners piy she pied fur a lair tae rest hiz bones.
and watched them awe get called to war a second time.
The pennies the cooncil man took helped them to wurk
in a cozy nook up scunner st
tae look doon their noses at oor like
while they took the reserves warm seat
to offer support the best they could
who took their wurthless shilling tae provide
fur able bodied men to dee fur them
then take mah grannies pennies wan mair time
Mah Grannie telt us awe the day
the black garbed cooncil man hid cawed
and took oor life away.
So ah took mah bawe and dribbled oan
ah left behind awe that wuz mine
the silver river ah rode doon and settled in anither toon
oh ah look back awe right wae pride of course
ah never let oor side doon
ah fought in battles too cruel and wan
but the cooncil man won honds doon.
The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by John Stokes.

Ah Wiz Back……….

Ah wiz back and past your hoose
mair corrs were parked than tumchies
in an Auchentibber field
Nae wains on boggies runnin loose

Ah noaked yir door and yir Maw came oot
She wiz jist the same and welcomed me
and talked with pride how you had done
your merrit noo wae wife and son
tae a lassie that you met in east kilbride
Yir pals urr awe the same she said
and some are deed and some alive
still drinkin at the same old pub
stuck in time in the graveyard shift
och it is a sorry state tae tell
they are not as weel as they might think
and old as men who think too much
bad drink has caused them much neglect

whits left is waste dereft of thought
ah left her there jist by the sink her time wiz runnin oot
my tears wir hid behind a smile as we said oor last goodbye
ah dribbled mah baw tae the toon

The street wiz wide and clear just like it always wiz in 1954
the wains are safer now i thought a place to play but i forget
about those who grew to auld and forget are now the sayers of
their truth without respect

ah looked in a bar and laughed what a sight
the patrons all in garrish wear wi track pants oan and trainers tae
competin fur whit ah say…the next drink
some wans mither telt me the toon wiz awfy quiet
she laughed at this and said nae heed
furr thae same folk urr living proof
that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat
the cooncil men it must be said are nae bodies fools
so they wear suits and ties but that’s because of self respect
they plan for the wains to live in peace from corrs something wee awe should not forget.

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by John Stokes who lives in Wellington, New Zeland.