Jim Mackintosh was our Poet In Chief from 26th March 2019 to 28th November 2021. Jim shaped the collection into three beautiful strands of poetry, including Primo Poetica (Poetry in lockdown), Braw Words (Inspiring Young Voices) and created the Scottish Women’s National Team Poets Society. These accomplishments exemplify the power of hope and inspiring the nation to share their thoughts and feelings about the beautiful game. A true inspiration to everyone who follows him.
Jim is a full-time Poet, Editor and Writer, who is always on the go, creating something and encouraging others to create even more. He is a regular at Festivals and Poetry Gigs who has published 6 Collections of Poetry, the latest being Flipstones in 2018.
Flipstones was the subject of an Exhibition between December 2018 and March 2019, which was the first solo artist Exhibition supported by Threshold Artspace at Perth Concert Hall.
In 2016, he was appointed by St Johnstone as Poet in Residence – the first full-time professional Football Club in the UK to do so. This led to many adventures and collaborations and in particular Jim editing Mind The Time, an Anthology of Poetry supporting Football Memories Scotland and Alzheimer’s Scotland.
He is currently the Poet in Residence of the No Boundaries Project being run by the Cateran EcoMuseum in East Perthshire, which forms part of the celebrations marking the Centenary of Hamish Henderson for which he’s also editing The Darg, a new poetry Anthology to be launched at Edinburgh Book Festival in August 2019.
You can follow Jim on Twitter @JimCMackintosh and his Facebook Page.
THC8 – UNNER THE FOLD
in the sports section, twa paragraphs
unner the fold, an oot o the spotlicht,
I saw a photograph o a toosled chiel
impassive, beckonin me tae find him
beyond the January transfer windae
proodly displayin his country’s badge
oan a jersey o pink an yellow bands,
no in a puffed oot boastin way, no
in a hunkered doon ashamed way,
but as it shid be, ain o his nation’s best
a nippy ain tae, wi a hint o Jinky’s weave
a ready capped fir Scotland, his faither
a sugar plantation owner, a player o sorts
but as I listen tae the kettle bile an coffee
steams the inky stains oot ma thochts
Andrew Watson’s gaze turns a sombre like
when he hears the Classified’s, his noble
Queens Park no dae’in sae well noo’adays, no
since he went sooth, gaun fae tanner ba enigma
tae bein swallied up in time added oan.
by Jim Mackintosh
THC9 – REMOTE
Writing a new chapter on a field of strangers
in new happenings, a flurry of ball skills,
a jumble of jerseys, sky blues and stripes
that broke ranks from the gods and grafters
down the passing road from Hampden. First
top hats and tail coats on wagons watched
this crop of Scotch sown tactics, pass the ball
into the future with no sense of time, no
grasp their feet were shaping foundations.
This was the shift, the weave into our future.
And you were there cheering but didn’t know,
for television wasn’t invented. Frantically pointing
a remote at this field of strangers, nothing
would change the jumble, those strangers,
those professors hypnotising all your Saturdays.
by Jim Mackintosh
THC10 – SOME NAMES MATTER
I sat in mourning
between busy suburbia journeys
and bowling club winter soak,
between commuter gloom
and Andrew Watson’s fresh tears.
I sat alone, with others
in this damp trench, exhausted,
counting the cost of ambition, the
lost hours, the bone-ache still fresh
and smouldering at our feet, through
the tightly knitted fabric of spirit
which our dreams of unity painted
on to the bricks and mortar a story
of names that matter, history
welded with their flesh and bone.
I stood again with others, defiant,
looked Andrew Watson in the eye, a man
of this City, even now its river-veins
flood history out beyond our reach.
I knew this to be true. His courage
remains pinned to the solid, under scars
of a vandals daub. Irrelevant viagran
pin-prick efforts of premature day-glo
splash cannot dissolve his courage, integrity
or his relevance. Some names matter. Theirs don’t!
by Jim Mackintosh
THC11 – The First eleven
Just behind the first
the second, third
then there were eleven
but none knew of our adoration
not back then.
Behind them on to the past
ran the future
half moon glasses
on a full moon face, sideburns
like unkempt hawthorn hedges
top hat tumbling down pavilion steps
trying to keep up
clutching gilt-edged labels
in a hand offered to their backs
as they fanned out across Hampden.
Juggling a pen, an inkwell
spilling, staining clipped grass
at the edge of history. Poised.
Pitchside. Clydeside. Solid
in a confident stance, sun
catching the silver nib, words
inscribed on each label
tied to the first
the second, securing
the first eleven – immortal.
Behind them more and more
took to the pitch, creating the fabric
of our shared history, on the walls
in the archives of many nations.
The labels have faded, crossed oceans
marked out pitches on every continent,
embraced difference, fuelled kinship
their importance sometimes ignored
misunderstood yet never forgotten.
They know now of our adoration.
By Jim Mackintosh
THC12 – NO MORE LAST ORDERS
The works van was the 74 pub. Ormond, the World’s Barman.
A borrowed council bench, the Altar. Tartan Special Sacrament.
We prayed and swayed to the rhythm of the glorious plan.
Hampden’s river to 74 was built on Jordan’s toothless grin.
The future was a blasphemy of yet to be unknown failures
And Ormond called last orders, despite the chequered win.
Tango past 78, allez by France and Captain Braveheart’s face
Pummelled into hellish times, aw maybe’s aye, aw maybe’s naw.
Blank Panini albums waiting for Scotland to take their place.
Years and years of pelters fae English pundits – Aye yer Maw!
Boosted grinding down the heavy stack of our spent convictions.
We’d believe on every first whistle. One time – gonnae just blaw!
The works van now a telly remote, a fussier choice of drink
No Tartan Special of terracing puss bomb soar. Penalties!
A spirit moves. Ormond and Jordan wait – we daren’t blink
Marshall saves! Boogie Beats banish history! – we dared to think.
by Jim Mackintosh
THC13 – Grass Prisms
Where the turnpike tumbled slowly south,
where toil-earned yards gladly give way,
where one Hampden readied for history
I was standing waiting for you to take
the field, pass the game, start the journey and spark
the light of a million grass prisms not yet sown.
I could see the tall chimneys, smoke-coil, echo-clang
to shape the city sky and smell the graft smell
of the curious pressing up to your measured lines
the bunnet-clappit curious unaware they were cocoons,
transforming into fans, season-ticketed, half-expert, half-cynic
when the passing game would stoke their imaginations.
But your beginnings, your inspirational play
has survived, soaked into the soil-lock safe.
Except your story’s not lost under the mulch
of history, not forgotten as a passing whim.
In the horrors of war, you survived, proving
common bonds, no-man’s land, every man’s pitch
Where your reach was far and precious, where
the coin toss spinning time into the ground
Brilliant in the sun crossed every ocean
in the light of every touch, of every game.
not yet the quagmire of wars
nor the despondent falsehoods
of politics and religious inquisition
not yet the oligarch’s laundry money
nor the slave graves of sand-clad regions
controlling the final whistle
not yet shadows of kent faces, palms
crossed with guilt-edged promises
and betrayed doctrines
for now, in this moment, a defiant corner
of the land rent by Empire, one Hampden
and the dawn of our passion, our game
where distinguished mix with noble
That’s why I see you
running freely still,
free of all the hatred
yet to fail your spirit.
I press my hand
into the clipped grass
and release fine whispers
fine as the innocence
of voices, in the moment
in the game, pure as
precious words, safe-kept
by us, who care enough
to still believe the game
is not over. I will stand
here waiting for you
until the Stadiums empty
one last time, and prisms
can’t be polished anymore.
by Jim Mackintosh
THC14 – THE POWER OF OPTIMISM
It doesn’t rhyme.
Was that it?
Was that your silver bullet?
Not much originality there. Poetry added to your list: opera,
the precious arts
of breathing, thinking
– being alive.
You stand in the pie queue at half time
Moaning about everything
Making yourself heard to no-one.
You stand in the piss queue
Shuffling forward, moaning about
Yourself being heard by no-one.
Not much chance of being heard,
Behind a mask of derision. Tongue wagging in irrelevant darkness
Thinking of new ways to be an arse
The power bestowed
by your season ticket entitlement.
You could have made a difference.
But could have is pointless. It had
To be NOW – and you don’t know
How to deal with NOW.
You’ll never know whilst denying the rhyme
And rhythm of blinking, opening your eyes
To a world where football has moved on
Embraced change, recognised diversity,
Equality is energy – energy is equality,
Thank goodness hope is eternal, even
In the pie queue, in the piss queue,
Until the nets are folded away, the last light
Of the last flood light fades and you leave
Early to go to the opera with your lover
Who didn’t abandon you – kept faith with
The art of breathing, thinking – being alive.
by Jim Mackintosh