Thursday, 26 May 2011


The following poem was handed in today by the uncle of its author. He explained to us that quite soon after his writing of the poem the young man committed suicide. If we are to gain anything from this tragedy it would surely be to take heed of his message within the verses of the poem. Our thoughts are with the poet and his family and we hope that his powerful words will prevent someone else from walking down the same road. We thank him for his wisdom and mourn him and the fact that the world has lost a young man who was obviously intelligent and with a talent for helping others.
The poets mother passed away soon afterwards.


I'm just a lad of sixteen years
But my life is almost done
Folk say, at sixteen years of age
Your life has just begun
The reason for my sorry state
Is really sad to tell
My pals were dabbling in the drugs
So I joined in as well

I knew that drugs were contraband
Taboo, against the law
But my pals were doing it, so, so would I
After all, it's just a "blaw"
One night, one mate dared me
With a "whitey" in his hand
Come on kid, try a "whitey"
It'll make you really grand

Another night, he came to me
I was "skint", dead stoney broke
We went into my bedroom
And I was introduced to "coke"
Heroin, coke, LSD
I think Iv'e tried them all
Oh; taking drugs was just the thing
I felt like ten feet tall

But then one day I overdosed
For I had seen, at last
What all those drugs were doing to me
And had done in the past
My family life was ruined
My mother broke her heart
And that was when I asked myself
Why did I ever start?

Why did I destroy myself?
And throw my life away
And get myself into the state
That I am in today
I have the dreaded A.I.D.S. disease
Or, so the doctors say
That's why I took the overdose
To end my life today

So, take heed my fellow druggies
I try to make you see
You repeat what I once uttered
It can't happen to me
My eyes are getting heavy now
And the pen, it weighs a ton
But, by the time you read this letter
My young life will be done

So, goodbye my fellow druggies
My tale I had to tell
Just keep going the way you're going
And we'll meet again, in Hell.

Monday, 16 May 2011


GalGael have recently lost two good friends Colin Callaghan and Keith Dolan- both young and in their forties. We would like to express our sympathies to their friends and relations and remember them here too in words.

Colin Callaghan was employed by one of the local addiction agencies and often referred folk to our Navigate Life course and also put one or two volunteers in our direction too. He loved coming into GalGael and we loved working with him. He always stood up for the underdog and was always ready to speak out against the injustices meted out to people dealing with big agencies and organisations. We always hoped we would work more closely with Colin as he had much experience we could have learned from, and he was a peoples person with a great wit.We will miss him greatly.

Keith was a "guid soldier". Haunted by some of the things he witnessed while with the Armed Services abroad, he found it a struggle to find his way back into normal life. He had a great energy about him though, and loved working and having a purpose and despite his own problems was always willing to help others. He will be missed by all his friends at GalGael and at the Elderpark Community Food Garden. One friend has written a poem in tribute to him.

For Keith

There was a Scottish soldier

Keith Dolan was his name

Now that he’s gone our Govan clan

Cannot be the same

Keith took the Crown’s bright shilling

They sent him off to war

To Bosnia to help the weak

Be massacred no more

To keep his comrades’ safety

Keith had to take a life

Keith’s mind and heart were blown apart

He couldn’t bear that strife

When I was sick and lonely

Ne’er one place nor the other

Keith was first man said, “Join our clan!”

“You’re welcome here, my brother.”

Keith would help, not think of self

Ask nothing in return

But all the while, behind his smile

White-hot his wounds would burn

Alas, I could not help him

As he had once helped me

Where was the Crown when Keith was down?

Not around to see

It brings us some scant solace

Keith can be hurt no more

But he who served did not deserve

To die behind the door

I’ll miss you Keith, my brother

Our friendship was too brief

But since you’ve gone to journey on

I hope you can find peace


Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Birlinn fills the silence

Some time ago I had an unusually vivid dream, a rare one that left me with a positive expectancy for days after. In the dream I wandered into an old dilapidated workshop. The roof had given way while glass and debris lay all around. Drug user’s needles poked up from piles of cans and broken bottles and a constant dripping noise echoed out any other sound. I felt very fearful and had to summon the courage to move forward through the building. Suddenly, as I turned a corner there stood the most beautiful exotic tree, quite unexpected. A clear pond full of plant and aquatic life was there next to the tree which had itself grown out of the stone floor. It was an image of sheer unsurpassed beauty in the midst of decay. A few days later I heard a radio Scotland interview with Colin Macleod talking about the Galgael Trust. I had not heard of Galgael until that moment but thought that the organisation and their tree logo related to the dream and the overall theme of new life growing from an old industrial landscape.

Birlinn fills the silence

The rabble of my dream-world stilled

‘A message’ brought halt to nightly adventures

There I was alone in strange enclosure

Beneath rusting iron beams on feeble tenures

Whistling wind filled buildings,

empty Twisted corrugates had given way to sky

The visible remains of a speech less tanoy,

Dry docks drier than bone dry

A place that once supported kind and kin

And enthusiasm for life’s gifts

Had now receded and grown thin

A tale of the wind that shifts

The solitary echo of falling water drops

drip, Drip, DRIP

Drills a hole in ones heart

A lifeless shipyard, broken glass underfoot

Where the threads of life depart

Used syringe that once contained liquid ‘bolt hole’

A serum to take one to the edge of known time

They were caste among the discards

Smashed bottles of strong lager and cheap wine

Each step into further fear,

the fading myth Wondered what it could revealed to ‘me’

And there with unapologetic place of worth

Renewal in the serenity of a tree

Root demands surface unconditional ‘life’

Branches sway to sooth conditions Inherent in common strife

A primary coloniser to an inhospitable place

Breathing, purifying the air

Where we still hear the whirl of the lathe

A wooden column of growing strength

That sprung from solid stone Points towards a state of being

Forgotten but not unknown

The threat of silence resisted, hammer falls once more

Who knows what the rigors of industry had in store

Building boats now to voyage internally to undiscovered shore

Propeller thrust superseded by rhythm of wooden oar

The bearing fruit and seed of tree

Caste in places that they once knew

And Birlinn fills the silence

Where the great ships horns blew

Desmond Mc Donald Simpson.

Friday, 21 May 2010

This Boat

This boat, made by many hands
Crafted with love
Fragile on the vastness of the ocean
Guided by an infinity of stars
Holds the hopes and dreams
Of dreamers

This boat, made of wood
An ark
Hewn from imagination
Carries an ideal into the future

This boat, so like a crucible
Cradle of kith and kin
Sets one down gently
On the shore of a dear green place
Where the salmon run
Birds take flight
Fruit hangs heavy on the tree of life.

The tintinnabulation of bells echoes
Down through the years.

Mick McLaughlan.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Cold Steel Chisel

Cold______You are a legend
No one knows your nom de guerre.
Steel_____ You are a legend
Surrounded by a monumental myth.
Chisel____ You are a legend
some poor mother's son.

On_______You are a legend
You should be left to lie in peace.
Cold______You are a legend
resurrected to fool other mothers children.
Black_____ You are a legend
Someone should say
Granite___ You are a legend
The legend on your stone reads.

Unknown soldier.

By Michael McLaughlan

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

They were not angels

They were not angels,
Who agreed the purchase of the land.
Who packed boulders into foundation trenches,
their sleeves rolled back, their robes kilted,
heaving stone and wood
With the sweat of man upon it,
Hauling into sight the dream of future years.

They were not angels,
Who flattened the land and built the sheds,
Who worked high on gantries, plying the rivets,
In noise, in confusion, and danger, and delay.
Their floating towers screeching down
upon a slipway to the sea.

Sliding into silence-
Hammers still-
Fires out-
pride- like broken bottles on wasteground.

Reach out for the plane,
Slide your finger-tips here,
Here you belong.
And pride coming back like the turn of the tide,
The wind on the water, each keel slicing by,

And hauling into sight the dream of future years,
Our vision, our work, our mark, our life,
Not angels, but people - the makers of worlds.

Moyna McGlynn

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Homecoming

The bond that was broken
Still held in a token
Still caught in the sigh
From the dream in your eye
Misty mountains
Gloomy glens
Ancient landscapes
And long lost friends
Magical islands
Of stolen childhoods
Foreign cultures
Forgotten tongues
A distant yearning
For a heart that is mourning
Please come home
To where you belong . . .

Hugh DP McArthur FSA Scot
Clan Arthur Seannachie