The Ballad of MacMurdo McFee by Barrie Purnell

If ever a man was the pride of his clan,
A man who stood out from the crowd,
A man who did his best when put to the test
Who with showmanship was over endowed,
Who’d perform for a fee with some sharp repartee,
It was that Scottish magician Macmurdo Mcfee.

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Rapping Home by Andrew Bell

after Kate Tempest

I’ve been looking at humanity
drowning in its vanity
trying to make a future
from diminishing capacity
sapping its vitality.

See it, take it, then come back
for more
give it to the rich, leaving nothing
for the poor.
Yes, we’ve heard it all before.

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Friend by Barrie Purnell

FRIEND

Your leaving left a scar across
The landscape of my life,
When you changed from someone I know
Into someone that I once knew.

When I lost you I didn’t just lose a friend,
I lost a part of my identity,
I didn’t just lose a person,
I lost part of my history.

We lived through each-other’s hopes and fears
With love and anger in equal measure.
A million shared experiences,
Now I have no one to share them with.

You liked me despite knowing all my secrets,
And told me things I wouldn’t tell myself.
We knew too much about each-other
To ever consider betrayal.

Your world’s a lonelier place
When an old friend goes away.
They can’t be replaced by someone new,
You cannot replace time.

I go whistling past the graveyard
To drown the echo of your voice.
Your memory sits gently on my heart
And leaks out of my eyes in my tears.

You have left a scar that will not heal
It’s inside of me so no one else can see.
We promised that we wouldn’t grieve,
I couldn’t keep my part of that deal.

      

The Scar by Kevin Murphy

The Scar

Sitting in our autumn holiday cottage, I said to my grandson, ‘Look at the light on that hillside, Isaac. It’s strange and misty, but there is no mist.’

It was a tiny window in the converted seventeenth century barn. We were warm and cosy, but outside, days of rain drenched the countryside but not our spirits. The sun had come up at the other side of the escarpment, but slight haze caused the light to skim across the very heavy dew – the grass was grey.

Suddenly all changed. Had a cloud moved away? The hillside was a gleaming emerald in a golden frame of storm tossed leaves.

‘Look at that tree, Grandpops, it’s got two trunks.

We leant into the frame for a better look. The row of trees running to the horizon did look as if it was tipped with the mature skeleton of a doubled-trunked oak, fully exposed, all its leaves already stripped.

It was a good observation by the lad. It had me bemused for a minute. ‘Ah, I see now. That’s a pair of trees, Isaac, standing beside each other, but from here they are almost in line, one behind the other.’

Later, after embalming ourselves with a swim in the heated pool, we took a walk out along Brackendale Lane towards Carsington in the hope of catching the early sunset over that great expanse of water. The lane is supposed to follow Brackendale Brook, but today we couldn’t tell which was which. Isaac had the wellies on so could ford the many streams the lane passed through – so he did.

Towards the top end of the lane, the land on both sides levelled out in a plateau. I reflected how that skinny brook was today doing what it had patiently been doing for perhaps millions of years – scratching the deep scar out of the plateau, carrying silt down towards the river Dove and onwards to the oceans.

The scar it has left, like a beauty spot, is what has attracted Isaac and all my family to gaze upon – this weather changing face of Derbyshire.