Colin Will – A dead horse

A dead horse

Dear Comrades – and when did you last hear
that word? It’s good of you to join me tonight,
on this sad occasion. Dinner was nice, wasn’t it?
The same menu as that long-gone evening
when poor Robin hosted a hatchet-burying
with Gordon. Remember that? Gordon used
the S-word, socialism, and we smirked, knowing
no reporters were present to report back to Tony.
We diners were loyal, as some still are.

But I think we all knew the S-times were passing,
or starting to pass, and now they have.
We’ve let down our nets for the last time
into the fat shoal of the centre ground,
and there are fuck-all fish left,
just the by-catch we can’t throw back –
the Nats, Greens, and goggle-eyed chimeras
from the Hadean depths.

Some, no doubt, will blame a people
numbed by fast-food values, unreality TV
and shit schooling, and there’s maybe
some truth in that, but ask yourselves,
Who did that to them? You know,
don’t you? Best keep it to ourselves.
We didn’t change, we didn’t fight,
we made wrong choices, lost our way.
So raise your glasses, lads and lasses,
to the end of Scottish Labour, let’s resurrect
our old battle cry once more, and proudly shout,

‘It wisnae me!’

Colin Will is a poet, publisher and gardener living in Dunbar. His 8th collection, The Book of Ways, was published by Red Squirrel Press in 2014. He chairs the Board of the StAnza Poetry Festival. Website

Colin Will – Cromford Mill

Cromford Mill

River rushes past the man
who sees it, begins to think

about the power behind it
and how it might be used.

A weir would hold back the flow,
build a head of water behind it;

a cut, sluiced for control, to move
a new stream to where it’s needed.

Idea builds on idea,
translates to bricks and mortar.

The new build, big as a church,
takes shape beside the lade,

and a wooden wheel,
tall as the walls,

seizes the water’s force, ships it inside
where belts and pulleys gear it down

to racketing looms, deafened workers.
Cotton in, cloth out, as the wheel turns.

Colin Will lives in Dunbar. He has had eight poetry collections published, the latest being The Book of Ways (Red Squirrel Press, 2014). He does readings, runs workshops, and chairs the Board of the StAnza Poetry Festival. He runs the pamphlet publisher Calder Wood Press, and the poetry zine The Open Mouse. Website: