Balloch House Hotel Open Mic (in abeyance)
December is a month of diverse festivities, celebrations and devotional acts. Ann, George and I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone well, whatever their faith, belief or creed.
Below is a selection from some of the regulars at the Open Mic. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Ice on Loch Lomond Catriona Malan (photo © Mike Taylor)
That was the winter the loch froze over
stealing reflections from the hills,
and laying its pale shawl on their shoulders.
Islands, feeling they were trapped,
huddled sullen in the cold as the wind
shaved the bracken of their skin.
But the postman skated that squeaking plain
sensing, beneath his blades,
the slow drift of sleeping powan,
bit icicles of breath from his moustache
hid red hands beneath his scarf and laughed
later about how he had walked on water.
Christmas, not the turkey , overdone! (from a memoir – Maria is not her real name) Mary Irvine
Greeting me in her usual enthusiastic, effusive even, way Maria led me into the cool of her kitchen which abounded in cloths – all matching and all displaying the same motifs of seasonal relevance: jolly little fat men dressed in red, or angelic, cherubic children. Red and green flourished everywhere. The curtains had been changed to ‘match’. This theme continued in the living area with a plastic variation of 3D greenery, the same angelic, cherubic children and a large, kelly-like, jolly fat man dressed in red. A truly un-realistic tree in one corner dominated the room. I was conscious, how could one not be, of the flashing lights, rivalling Joseph’s coat, but wasn’t sure, at first, that I was hearing correctly. Yes, there it was again – co-ordinated with the flashes were the computerised strains of international festive music.
Maria smiled expectedly. I lied. It was Christmas after all.
CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE LOG WITH IRISH CREAM FILLING
Children cover your eyes. I am a grown-up’s pudding.
Dark and tempting
that after babes have gone to sleep
share me with those who keep
and yes, a little wine to drink with me
dessert of course, ah, can you see
my gorgeous curls which snap and crack
as knife is plunged into my back
and lo I am lifted high and placed
like royalty on doilèd lace.
A perfect circled Catherine wheel
whose chocolate tramlines neatly seal
the flavour of a queenly pud
There is something wondrous about good food
Hogmanay Clydebank Margaret McGrath
Like Eliot’s three wise men, on we go
up to our knees in winter’s first snowfall
holding our bottles in case they smash
on the frozen slush.
Shoes full of wet snow
slow down the troops
our bags weave to and fro
Looking for taxis instead of stars
snow covered eyelashes, snow covered cars
stiletto shoes, no feeling in toes.
Singalongs waft from nearby tenements
Oh for a drink and some Sloane’s liniment.
Bearing gifts of liquid gold, coal and black bun
Midnight approaches we are down to the wire
Hogmanay beckons and we will miss the fun.
God, send a taxi, my dad cries
Miracle of miracles I see one.
Journey Ann MacKinnon
An owl flies,
white against black sky.
echoes the wings’ shape.
peek through dark’s cover.
like owl’s down
and lie, icing
on a newborn cake.
Feet shuffle on
the christened ground.
on travellers’ heads
as they journey
And another wee poem from Ann to lift all our spirits – emotionally or in a glass!! Stay safe…
Rainbow of Hope
I saw a rainbow today in a grey
sky where clouds hung
like whites on the washing line.
But undaunted the red rang true
and the orange made me pay heed
while the yellow promised hope.
Hope that someday the green
will win through and under a blue
sky we’ll opt for the different indigo,
instead of the shrinking violet.
We’ll come out singing all the
colours and the grey sky will lift.
- Hannah Lavery Creative Conversations
- The World I Fell Out Of – Melanie Reid
- Vivian French and The Giant’s Tea Party
- Believe in Scotland Virtual Burns Supper
- A Virtual Burns Night Edinburgh Castle
- Paisley Book Festival 2021 – Online
- Creative Conversations: Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Multi-talented and Versatile – Laura Turnbull Fyfe
- Balloch Open Mic – Vale Lad ‘Done Good’ – again
- Balloch House Hotel Open Mic (in abeyance)
- Balloch Open Mic: Charlie Gracie
- Weird Pleasure by Jim Ferguson review of the launch by Pat Byrne
- Rymour Books: Cultivating the Literary Arts
- Mary Irvine’s Blog: A Year to Remember – or forget..
- Book Launch: Weird Pleasure by Jim Ferguson
- Damian Barr, Creative Conversations
- Creative Conversations: Anuradha Roy
- Creative Activism: 20th Anniversary of Scotland’s Repeal of Section 28
- Cambridge Literary Festival – Winter Festival Online
- Big Book Week Scotland Quiz 2020