Poets’ progressive page

Following the Jimmy Reid annual lecture by Jeremy Corbyn MP in October last year, we publish two poems about Jimmy Reid.

Dedication to Mr Jimmy Reid

Adil Bhatti

You were so sweet and bright
Fought always for the people’s right
You were full ideas and thought
So determined that you could never be bought
Uncompromising, what a brave heart
You are a real Scottish lion heart
I tried to compare you with others
Couldn’t find any of the Scots’ mothers
The role you played, the race you have run
Always will be remembered by everyone  about-jimmy-reid-300x203

Where have all the shipyards gone?

Gilbert Alomenu

Where have all the shipyards gone?
The battles which the unions won
The graving docks, rich barons
And the dreams along the way?
What happened to the ships we knew
The Queen Mary, The QE2
The Yarrow Yard in Scotstoun
Fairfields down Govan way?
The days are short, the nights are long,
Where have all the shipyards gone?

Where have all the apprentices gone
Billy Connolly, Alex Ferguson
The famous names who played their part
And the skills along the way?
What happened to the jobs they knew
Welders, steelplaters, loftsmen who
Understood that trade would be
Passed down father to son?
Work was brutal, hostile, cold
Offset by the great camaraderie of old

Where have all the memories gone?
The UCS Consortium
Ted Heath v Red Clydeside
And the schemes along the way?
What of the tales of times gone past
Hope for the future which didn’t last
The Jimmies Reid and Airlie
The work-in without pay?
The times were hard, the battle long
Where have all the contracts gone?

Gilbert wrote the poem especially for 2016’s Govan Fair Brochure and read it out at the Govan Fair.

As mentioned in Mike Quille’s article on Culture Matters, here is an example of one of David Betteridge’s poems:

Giving Back Riches

David Betteridge

In praise of Paul Robeson (1898 -1976)
‘But I keep laffin/Instead of cryin/I must keep fightin/Until I’m dying … ‘
Paul Robeson after Oscar Hammerstein II

Experience showed him a world divided
In his song he held it whole
Carrying a deep wound, his and the world’s
Dreaming a generous dream
Following the rainbow and the dove
He was a giant, serving the people
Few neared the strength of his standing
In their many tongues, he spoke for the poor
Giving back riches
He was Clyde and Volga,
Mississippi, Ganges, Amazon and Nile
He was Vesuvius
Against wrong, with his life, all his life
He waged war; he was unbeaten
He is remembered in Glasgow
His echo lingers, loud
For those with souls to hear
He sings the world sane