Blog Mental Health Musings Philosophy Poetry

Shocks to the System

Poetry is beautiful and I couldn’t live without it. Sometimes though it feels like an isolating pursuit because generally I tend to read and meditate on poetry in solitude, particularly when I’m getting to grips with the subtleties of Gaelic poetry which I have to look up in the dictionary. It can feel doubly isolating when you feel as if you have been ostracised by your peers, not in all circumstances but in certain aspects. Yes, poetry can be a social activity and there are plenty of events happening in the literary world which one can go to, if there is the opportunity, unhampered by responsibilities or financial constraints.

Isolation is a state which causes vulnerability to the knocks which life can sometimes hit you with. Shocks to the system are best handled when you have a nurturing and supportive network of relationships such as family, friends and colleagues, in short, a community. And community is really important, perhaps even as important as poetry.

Philosophy Brings Strength

The Heretics – Indigenous

I’m very grateful to have been asked to do a 10 minute reading at the legendary Heretics night which will be at The Waverley. I’m not often able to do readings so please feel welcome to come and support me or just if you are curious. Here are a few more details about the night from the Facebook event page:


September’s instalment of the Heretics, hosted by Joss Cameron and Marcas Mac an Tuairneir celebrates 2019 being the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages.

We welcome a host of performers, working in the marginalised indigenous languages of Scotland – Gaelic, Scots and BSL.

There will be open mic slots at the end. If you have a piece to perform in any of those languages, we would be pleased to give you a two-minute slot.

Keep any eye on the Heretics page as performers are revealed.

Musings Nature Philosophy Poetry

You Are Close to Nature Wherever You Are

Regardless of where you may find yourself you are always close to nature. Even if you are in a big city or some industrial landscape, nature herself is inescapable because wherever you go you take nature with you. The great winds of the sky blow through your lungs into your body and they dwell inside you. The seas, rivers and streams are always circulating inside your arteries and veins. The rocks and mountains are in your bones and the soil that rests upon them in your flesh. The fires that light up the dark nights or even propel the cars around us are burning deep within our cells driving the life force within, just as the electricity in power cables can be found in our own nerves and brain.

In one of W. B. Yeats’ most popular poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, he concludes:

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

W. B. Yeats, whose poetry is full of the hermetic mysteries, knew of the Macrocosm and Microcosm and that the external world of nature was also reflected in the inner world of the “deep heart’s core”. So if we are to live in harmony with nature we must also live in harmony within ourselves as the natural forces inside us which we sense internally are also just as prone to moving out of harmony and out of balance as the Earth’s systems. By listening to the voice of our inner nature we may learn by extension to live harmoniously with the nature surrounding us even in the least “natural” of environments, such as a city with its built landscape, noise, bustle and pollution. It might be difficult however it would do us all good if we could stop and listen for the quiet sounds of nature within the “deep heart’s core” every now and then.