Poet In Chief II

Jim Mackintosh, our Poet In Chief, welcomes you to ‘The World Home of Football Poetry’. The Hampden Collection is the world headquarters of Football poetry with a succession of Poet’s in Chief, with a Makar of the first ever Women’s International Football Team Poets Society (aka #SWNTPoetsSociety) and a Bairns Bard of the only Football Youth Poetry Club in the world (aka #BrawWords).

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.

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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 another
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
tomorrow slowed
at the edge of history. Poised.
Pitchside. Clydeside. Solid
in a confident stance, sun
catching the silver nib, words
inscribed on each label
‘Scotch Professor’
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

I

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.

II

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.

III

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

IV

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