A poem I wish I had written.

MAGPIE by Sian MacKay.

I heard the Magpie.

The word on its tongue


Magpie is the tarot card.

We counted four, four

For a boy, we

Counted, we counted

Three for a girl.

Magpie you are like

A witch.

You cackle, you cackle,

You boil your broth,

Collect your treasures.

Swiftly swoop,

I do not believe you.

Steal all of the eggs,

I do not believe you.

Magpie the deceiver,

Piano keys your structure,

You do not whistle in the wind,

You are not gentle like the dove,

You are not wise like the rook,

Like the rook,

Big black book.

Keepsake style,

The silver, the silver.

The yolky smile,

The stealer, the stealer.

I heard the magpie.

The word on its tongue




The Magpie.

Oh! What an elegant bird

So good to look at,

Wearing his formal clothes

But then,  they make that awful sound

That is so bad to hear.


Oh! What an imposing bird

Did you know, that when

He takes a wife,

it is for life BUT

he is so noisy to hear.


Oh! What an iridescent bird

Known as the Devil’s bird who

Sat on the cross of Christ

And unlike the Dove, shed not a tear.

His shrieks are shrill to hear.


Oh! What a superstitious bird

They collect in trees.

In Nursery Rhyme books we

Count them to see if we are to

Lucky or unlucky!

It is just his sound, so awful to hear,


Magpies, One for sorrow

              Two for joy

              Three for a girl

               Four for a boy

               Five for silver

               Six for gold

               Seven for a secret never to be told

               Eight for a wish

               Nine for a kiss

               Ten for a surprise you should be careful not to miss

               Eleven for health

               Twelve for wealth

               Thirteen beware, it’s the Devil himself.


(We saw 14 in a nearby tree – from our bedroom window.)


The Woods in Late Summer.


The afternoon sun lights up the trees at the edge of the wood.

Trees just beginning to turn a yellow colour are glowing.


The sandy gravel path leads you into the deep darkness.

The taller mature trees have a denseness that blocks the light.


I look at the slender edge of the wood trees, they are reaching

Out to each other, their branches arching over the pathway.


In another couple of years, they will have formed a tunnel,

Like Guards of honour at wedding stretching their arms.


Arching over, just as the silver swords protect the bride and

Her groom, I feel these young trees too, will protect me.


I walk, hearing the gravel crunching under my feet, the smell

Of wet leaves, and a peatiness. I am aware of birds singing.


I approach the older trees, they are hanging onto their leaves.

They know autumn will come soon enough, drying leaves rattle.


Within the older trees, I feel menace, they know the woods secrets.

They are not sharing them with me. Feeling fear I pull my coat around me


I walk quicker now, twigs snapping under my feet, fox yaps in the distance.

Suddenly I am out of the trees, in front of me is a lake, a beautiful lake


Birds are swooping, eating insects, small animals drinking. I relax and sit

On a fallen branch, I feel the wood has shown me its secret. A special place.


SHE.     Rondeau Redouble.

All her life she had worked with men

Young, old, fat and thin, some single, some wed.

Sometimes they are funny, sometimes a pain.

Their main aim is to get you into bed.


You can clean, you smile, you make bread,

working long hours at a full time job, Oh Men!!

“A woman’s’ work is never done”, it’s so hard.

All her life she had worked with men.


The mans’ workday done – off to the Pub again!

“Wives are expected to stay at home,” he said.

“But cheer up, I’ll be home by ten!”

Good riddance to bad rubbish”, she said.


She complained to mum, who said

“You’re just fed up and miserable about men.

You’ve got to straighten your head”,

She would never ask her mum again!


Work was no better, the boss said “when,

are you going to get yourself together

and earn your bread?”

She sought out her friend, they talked until ten

She didn’t get an answer. Won’t ask again.


Sitting at home feeling sad and unloved

He opened the door, surprising her when,

In his hands was a bunch of roses red

She had not thought he’d seen her dread

His main aim is to get her into bed.


1st October 2017 – Grandparents Day.

On the radio this morning, they were

talking about pet names for grandparents.

Some eleven years ago when our

grandson was about two years old.


He, without knowing it created a

A collective noun for my husband and I.

to him, we were “The Banmars”.

Grandad was always Grandad

who had to be looked

up to and obeyed.


I became Grandma Beep Beep, because

of the sound, the smoke alarm made when

it went off, I ran around like a mad woman,

waving a tea towel in the direction of the

offending noise, while shouting at it.

So terrifying the small toddler who had

to cling to his mother for safety!


His Grandma on his father’s’ side

became, Grandma Bic Bic, because

when he visited her house, she fed

him on biscuits, so she was his

favourite Grandparent.


Later, I was to be ‘Silly Grandma’

when I put his shoes on the wrong

feet! That was a mistake that took

a very long time to live down.

It is surprising how the tiniest child

realises that he/she knows more

than the offending adult.


I am happy to say, our teenage

grandson is our friend and helper.

Now, calls me Grandma!

We look forward to his visits,

he will join in with all our activities.



S = Song.

O = Organ.

U = Euphonium.

N = Nurses.

D = Dogs.

S = Shoppings.


SONGS = Songs people sing,

birdsong, whale song

Choirboys sing Hymns, sometimes solos’

Choirs sing anything from Opera to X Factor.


ORGAN = The Organ at Blackpool Tower

comes up through the floor.

Mighty Church Organs,

can be fearful, noisy,

or soft, sweet and Bridal.


EUPHONIUM = A Brass Band instrument,

sounds wonderful in the summer, outside

on the Bandstand, happy people

enjoying the sunshine listening,

relaxing, and eating Ice Cream.


NURSES = Their shoes squeaking along

the corridor. Nurses look after people

who are attached to machines the count and beep.

They whispering, wake you up in the middle of the night

to take your blood pressure and temperature.


DOGS = Dogs, man’s best friend, can be

noisy, wuffing, growling and yapping their

welcome. They make insistent noises,

when asking for food, They slurp their

love for you all over your face and jumper.


SHOPPING = love it or hate it, we do it.

Wonky trollies clattering around the aisles.

Chattering women, crying children,

chattering tills. Cardboard thrown into

metal cages, people noisily shelf filling.


Sounds, some we hate,

loud noises that shock

Some we love,

soft kisses we exchange

before bedtime……


A poem dating from 1821, anon.

The poem[edit]

Old SANTA CLAUS with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night,
O’r chimney tops, and tracts of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.

The steady friend of virtuous youth,
The friend of duty, and of truth,
Each Christmas eve he joys to come
Where peace and love have made their home.

Through many houses, he has been,
And various beds and stockings seen;
Some, white as snow, and neatly mended,
Others, that seemed for pigs intended.

To some, I gave a pretty doll,
To sum a peg-top, or a ball;
No crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets,
To blow their eyes up, or their pockets.

Where e’re I found good girls or boys,
That hated quarrels, strife and noise,
I left an apple, or a tart,
Or wooden gun, or painted cart;

No drums to stun their Mother’s ear,
Nor swords to make their sisters fear;
But pretty books to store their mind
With knowledge of each various kind.

But where I found the children naughty,
In manners crude, in temper haughty,
Thankless to parents, liars, swearers,
Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers,

I left a long, black, birchen rod,
Such as the dread command of GOD
Directs a Parent’s hand to use
When virtue’s path his sons refuse.