Tedious Talks On Telemetry – National Poetry Day

It’s National Poetry Day today, so here’s something from one our group’s poets – Richard Gillies


Tedious Talks on Telemetry

Rehearsed smugness, wry smile,
I agree with the sentiment it’s all vile.
Let’s return a certain uncertainty, tripping on a wire,
All this mock gravitas, it’s patently dire.

Oh for a little deliberation, some shuffling of notes,
Or misattributed adages and vulgar anecdotes.
a pitcher of water, but no glass in tow,
a little more unpreparedness, a little less good to go.

But it’s not what you know, but how you deport,
Waving your arms, like a semaphore hill fort.
Pointing with laser power, with all its pointless charm,
Prophesying a chain reaction like a chain-smoking smoke alarm.

Stating the bleeding obvious with ill-advised élan,
Standing so imperious because of course you can.
Asking important questions that no one knows for why,
Stressing with yogic hands like some enlightened guy.

So why not turn off your smartphone and go for a walk,
And work off that pork pie and make the neighbours talk.
You will hear more sense from spoke clackers on a bike,
Than some bumptious blogger wearing an over-ear mike.

Richard Gillies – August 2018

50 Shades Of Tay – The Launch

On Thursday the 23rd of August, 2018, the Nethergate Writers launched our latest collection, 50 Shades of Tay, in Waterstones Dundee, and the evening was a great success. Over 50 friends, family, and curious members of the general public came along to hear readings from some of our members, as well as taking the chance to buy copies of the book, with a few even asking to get them signed.

We began with an introduction from Craig, who explained a little bit about how things have changed for the group over the past few years and gave some background about how we came up with the idea for 50 Shades of Tay. Then Abby was our first reader of the evening, reading her piece ‘For A Tour Of Dundee, You Could Do Worse Than The 22’ and pointing out that she’d taken full advantage of the fact that the titles didn’t count towards our fifty word limit!

Roddie was next, telling us he was working on his Dundonian despite being from Glasgow, and giving us an amusing example of it by reading his piece ‘Eh Fought the La… an the La Won’.

Fiona was our third reader, explaining how she had decided to focus upon Mary McGonagall, and the all-too-real effects that her husband’s concentration on his poetic endeavours had on their day to day existence for her piece ‘Food or Fiction’.

Aileen then told us how the traumatising effect of having one of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail statues appear right outside her house overnight had inspired her to write ‘Oor Wullie’s Revenge’, so at least some good had come out of it, and her reading produced the biggest applause of the night.

Rosie had to follow that, and did so admirably, drawing on the same performing skills which she’s put to good use when singing at karaoke nights, and it was watching some of the regular performers which had lead to her writing the final piece of the evening ‘The Club Bar”.

All in all, it was a great evening, and we as writers all enjoyed the chance to present our work to a wider audience. If you weren’t able to make it along, however, don’t worry. Copies of 50 Shades of Tay can still be purchased in-store at Waterstones, or directly from our website here.

50 Shades Of Tay Launch Night – 23rd August 2018

Come along and join us at the official launch of our latest collection – 50 Shades of Tay – in Waterstones Dundee on Thursday 23rd of August.

We’ll be launching the book, reading some of the pieces and may even be available to sign copies, too!

The event starts at 6pm, and further details are available on the Waterstones Dundee Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/events/280918592722879/

50 Shades of Tay

50 Shades of Tay, the Nethergate Writers new publication, is now available.

This compact, pocket-sized collection contains fifty 50-word stories and poems, all relating to Dundee, the River Tay and the surrounding area.

Inside its 52 pages you’ll find a variety of voices, styles and subjects, from the last thoughts of the Tay Whale and memories of the Fifie to the tale of a sledging disaster on the Law and the delights of karaoke at the Club Bar.

Click below to order now, for only £5 per copy, with free postage and packing in the UK.

SOLD OUT

World Poetry Day 2018

Here’s a piece for World Poetry Day 2018 from one of our members, Roddie McKenzie.


Mind and Poem

I am the man,
the poem lives in me,
impressions of wondrous
things that I see,
fished out
by the neural net of my mind.
With paper and pen,
this beauty
I bind.

I am the mind, the poem is I,
the crystallised thought
that will never die.
Distilled from centuries of fermented thought.
I am the spirit,
folk should have sought.

I am the man, the poem, the soul.
created in flesh for an immortal role.
I am Malkuth, beginning and end
I am Kether, the cosmic diadem.

Roddie McKenzie, 1972 (tweeked March20th 2018).

Mind The Time

One of our members, C B Donald, has contributed a poem to the Mind The Time anthology, which was launched last week at Hampden Park.


Mind the Time is a collection of poems which draw on the theme of triggering memories of the ‘good old days’ of football. All profits from the book will go to Football Memories Scotland, an organisation which works with people with dementia, with particular emphasis on the usage of memories of football matches, teams and players.

Further details of the launch can be found here – http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/pure-poetry-as-new-football-anthology-stirs-golden-memories-1-4469420

Copies of the book can be ordered here – https://www.nutmegmagazine.co.uk/product/mind-the-time/

Poetry: Definitions

Today is World Poetry Day and here’s something from Roddie McKenzie to mark the occasion.


Book Page Definition Paper Dictionary Word Text

Poetry: Definitions

Life is a machine

and poetry is its ticking.

Life is a jewel

and poetry is its sparkle.

Life is a dance

and poetry is the music.

Life is a journey

and poetry is the wineflask.

Life is  the rainstorm

and  poetry is the rainbow.

Life is the man

and poetry is his madness.

Roddie McKenzie  21/3/17

A Pair From Roddie

One of our members, Roddie McKenzie, has been busy over the last few weeks.

Firstly, he has had a poem ‘The Gairdener’s Lousin Time’ published in the most recent issue of ‘Lalans’, (#89) the journal of the Scots Languge society. Further details (including how to order copies) can be found on their website here – http://www.lallans.co.uk/index.php/lallans

And on top of that, Roddie’s poem ‘Cumbrae’ is on display in the current exhibition at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine. Further information, including opening times for the exhibition, can be found here – http://www.whatsonayrshire.com/harbourartscentre.html

A Wee Pair

One of our members, Ray Kinsman, has two short pieces that muse on mortality in very different ways.


John had taken the doctor’s advice to visit the clinic, confident that with their help he could stop smoking.

Thinking of his new life without this addiction, he smiled as he crossed the road towards the clinic, straight into the path of a fast moving truck.

John’s stopped smoking now.

*   *   *   *   *

As years fly by, we’re often told,

of wisdom gained by growing old.

A chance for some relaxing ways,

to spend throughout our autumn days.

While late retirement may seem fine,

we’re living then on borrowed time.

Then winter sends its stinging thorn,

a few more sunsets, then we’re gone.