On non-Independence Day, for Camp Stupid in Court, an anthem.

To be sung:

Camp Stupid.

We are the vanguard of the Yes campaign,
Never beaten come snow wind and rain,
We’ve got no brains we’ve got no sense
We live in trailers and in tents
We are all booted and shell-suited
We are the Scot Nats at Camp Stupid

The bleak midwinter’s getting bleaker
No-one sees us attention seekers
We’re the heroism that we hanker
As Rick doesn’t say to Ilsa in Casablanca
Here’s looking at me – not at you, kid
We all love ourselves at Camp Stupid

We are a clan of a friendly sort
Using Holyrood Park for outdoor sport
We can get close up and toasty
In a sleeping bag nice and cosy
Tommy says it’s even better than Cupid’s
Let’s get it on at Camp Stupid

Get used to us, we’re going  to stay
Ignored here till independence day
And our job is not going  to  be done
Till damned Eck’s rocks melt in the sun
We’ll get what we want just by getting drookit
We‘re a monument to idiocy – we’re Camp Stupid

© Peter Russell 2016

By Order (based on 34 years experience as local government officer.)

(with apologies to Leon Rosselson)

Keep off the grass,

No litter, No bottles
No cycling, no scooters
No dogs, No horses or ponies
No alcohol, No picnics, No smoking, No spitting
No motor vehicles, No motor cycles or mopeds
No burger vans, No ice cream vendors
Only food from authorised vendors may be consumed.

No skating, No skateboards
No organised games, No ball games, No running
No professional trainers or fitness classes
No sunbathing, No nudity

No loitering, no soliciting, no importuning

No swimming or fishing in the boating lake
No unauthorised boats in the boating lake
No portable stereos or beatboxes
No musical instruments, No transistor radios
No fires, No fireworks, No camping
No model aircraft, No Frisbees or Boomerangs
No unaccompanied children
No prams, no pushchairs, no buggies

Remember at all times this is public property.

© Peter Russell 2016

The Night They Buried Labour

They dug up John Smith and Clement Attlee
Bevan, Barbara Castle and John Wheatley  –
They put their  heads on pikes to mock
On the night they buried Labour

They buried the Levellers and Chartists
The Diggers and Tolpuddle Martyrs
They burned the radical history books
On the night they buried Labour

They buried the General Strikers
The steel workers,  dockers  and miners
They gagged the trades unions workers’ voice
On the night they buried Labour

They buried the Rochdale Pioneers and shops they made
The dividend, honest measures and fair trade –
They looted and burnt down the co-op stores
On the night they buried Labour

The nationalists laid the body in its grave
And grinning Tories sold them the spade –
They robbed the corpse and stole its clothes
On the night they buried Labour

They buried our past comrades good and true
And with them the bond between me and you –
They strangled solidarity with a saltire
On the night they buried Labour

They trampled on the red flag and set it alight
But we’ll not stay down without a fight –
Because unity is always strength
Even though they’ve buried Labour

They can’t bury the NHS and Welfare state
Council houses, Minimum Wage and equal work for equal rates
As long as we achieve more together than alone
They’ll not yet have buried Labour.

Poem For National Poetry Day.

Chania 2015.

(For Rudi and Hildegund)

Under the

Moon                   in a

Greek                  taverna, part of a

Turkish                house, in a

Venetian             city, with an

Arabic                  name, ruled centuries-long by the

Ottoman              Empire, outside the

Jewish                  synagogue, by the café bombed roofless by

British                   aircraft in the

German               invasion of May 41, we dine, one of us

English                 and one of us

Scottish                with our best friends from

Bavaria,                to dance, drink and laugh in a

Realm                   of human joy and do our bit to repair a

Universe               of damage done by

Nations                 created by man and

Borders                 which are after all invisible from the

Moon.

© Peter Russell 2015

Prize winning Poem – 40 Hours In Hell

40 Hours In Hell.

It’s Friday night, it’s the end of a week
In an inferno of rivets and sockets
It’s pay day tonight and it’s heaven we seek
With the wages of hell in our pockets

The pay packet’s more than the worker’s price
It’s all under God that’s true
A weekend pass to paradise
On a ticket from Kalamazoo

But wages won’t deliver us from evil
They’re fruit on the serpent’s tree
Because all foremen and bosses are devils
Tempters who tell us we’re free

Aye, we’re free to ruin our bodies and eyesight
We’re free to break our sore backs
We’re free to be told we’ve got no rights
And free to strike and be sacked

So when Friday comes and the hooter’s drone swells
And the gates swing wide in reprieve
We’re men who’ve done forty hours in hell
Yon Dante could never conceive

Friday night’s heaven’s a haircut and a pint
Saturday’s the game and a glass
Then a dance, a drink, a winch and a fight
And Sunday’s a hungover Mass

Next day at seven and it’s the hooter now warning
We’re late for the clocking-in bell
Inside the gates, it’s good Monday morning
To the next forty hours in hell.

© Peter Russell 2015

Mining Poem – Elegy.

Elegy.

The conservatory glows softly, the lantern of Jordanhill
While outside prickly curiosity in the winter grass strains
The blackbird’s tedious tug of war with the worm
That unravels the lawn like runaway knitting to reveal

Miners marching up from our Edwardian colliery below
An invasion of names like Tedesco and Trewick
Who still argue about the price of tin from the Phoenicians
And the Morgans who are headed up to the new Fife field from Wales –

From the inkline valleys to drill miles beneath the Firth of Forth.
Now there’s a male voice choir on the landing, and a brass band on the stairs
The bathroom is a pithead shower flooded with black faces and reverse panda eyes
Our books are lent out and read for the Institute library

The kitchen houses Kentish troublemakers from Snowdown and Betteshanger
The cellar is full of near naked men, sweating  together with picks and shovels
The hall is full of crusading scarlet banners from the Durham Gala cathedral service
The living room television is switched on, and Gormley in black and white

Is saying  “Who governs, Ted? Well it bloody certainly isn’t you!”
But the band is playing the Gresford hymn out of tune
And the choir has forgotten the words and is no longer singing Joe Hill
But ‘ERE WE GO as Arthur declaims from the roof and Mick shakes his head

Watching pickets, scabs and bosses coppers break heads in suburban gardens
Then they are smaller and fewer and now all gone God knows where
Leaving the house empty again with only this cage of light in a shaft of night
And the pit out there is a void capped with the grass playing field crust

While a set of grimy pit-boot tracks trips across the pastel hall carpet
To the cellar which is empty too and where the only sound is a tinny pick and
The exhausted creak of lonely pit props a mile down and a century away.