personal rebellion

Mibbees Aye

I’ve niver thought o’ masel as bein any kind o’ rebel an I canny mind o’ a time when I rebelled against anythin. Mibbee I’m a wee bit “thrawn” as ma mither used tae say but then she always hud a front fur folk. Dinny be yoursel, behave, dinny show me up!  Repression wis her byword. Like when I wanted ma ears pierced when I was forteen an ma mither prattled on aboot “if the Lord meant you tae huv holes in your ears you’d be born wi them” and mair nonsense aboot it makin you look cheap.

Continue reading

Miss Myatt, Rebel Teacher

This is the story of how a very unmotivated, naughty student became a teacher.

On my teaching course – my PGCE in Nottingham – I felt like the odd one out. I’d spent a lot of my school years doing anything other than studying. However, I felt my somewhat shady background would make me a good teacher. And it did. Former students – some now adults themselves – tell me so, anyway. I hope they’re right.

Continue reading

Remembering my mother in St Clement’s Church of Rodel, Isle of Harris

‘I sank beneath your wisdom like a stone’

Leonard Cohen

Remembering you, it’s perfect
finding in my pocket
tiny periwinkle shell, ember-red

with right thumb
brush off
cling of sand, crumb

let fall
single wind-made
blade of Marram

set down spiral-drawn shell
on stone sill
over bountiful

swell of gifts:
two and twenty pence pieces
sheep’s wool twists

Continue reading

Rebel With a Cause

Secondary school art
Threadbare Jesus sandal 

Oh no you can’t

All arches and space
Lines hiccupping

Oh no you can’t

Sole foreshortened
Lost my perspective

Oh no you can’t

Art teacher
Telling tales of tea parties with Hitler

Oh no you can’t

Took one look
At my graphite frenzy

Oh no you can’t

‘You can’t draw’
Rubbing me out

Oh no you can’t

I resisted
Like wax under watercolour

Oh yes I can

I had seen the dark rainbow
In the raven’s wing

Continue reading

The Angela Merkel Challenge

I’m on the bus, after another dispiriting day at the office. At home, trite TV, back chatting teens, dinner drudgery and an unresponsive partner await to sap me further. Out the window I see a row of beleaguered plane trees, their stark, clipped limbs burdened with Christmas lights and decorations. I feel like one of those pruned trees these days. These years. And rather than making me stronger or healthier, I feel only the snap of disappointment and how close I’ve come to breaking. I sigh. Could I catch an airplane?

Continue reading