John McDonald

Living in Edinburgh, Scotland


the grue                                     
o tyin a snuid  -
granny's arthritis
the horror
of tying a ribbon  -
grandmother's arthritis
Taj Mahal Review  vol. no 2


scuil fecht  -
snowkin bluid frae'm
neist day
school fight  -
smelling blood from him
next day
Zen Speug 2014


auld sodger stravaigs
...his bleck backpack
o sheddaes
old soldier wanders
...his black backpack
of shadows
Zen Speug 2014


wund throuch
the refugee camp  -
orchestrae o banes
wind through
the refugee camp  -
orchestra of bones
Zen Speug 2014


throuch fawin leaves
a lang-tint neb
through falling leaves
a long-lost face
Zen Speug 2014


o the burn  -
jazz tae himenal
of the stream  -
jazz to hymnal
Zen Speug 2014


twa staps
in'r zimmer
...yince queen o the jive
two steps
in her zimmer
...once queen of the jive
A Hundred Gourds 3.4


calligraphy o cheer-legs
throuch's preachin
calligraphy of chair-legs
during his sermon
Zen Speug 2014


addict  -
cuddlin the rose
bleedin frae the breer
addict  -
hugging the rose
bleeding from the thorn
Zen Speug 2014


her auld dug's deid  -
ilka day
she stravaigs its ghaist
her old dog is dead  -
every day 
she walks its ghost
Zen Speug 2014


late-nicht drouthie
it's latch
late-night drunk
at his keyhole

Zen Speug 2014


fykie bairn
ye hae nivver seen
hungert een
or bouks licht as licht
fussy child
you've never seen
hungry eyes
or bodies light as light
Harvests Of New Millenium  vol 8 no 1


yin flutherin
one fluttering
Harvests Of New Millenium  vol 8 no 1


mappie's neb etten
...a hinmaist muin
in tod's ee
rabbit's face eaten
...a last moon
in fox's eye                                                        
Wonder haiku worlds  anthology #1


flee tissles i the wab  -
be thankit fir a skirlin
we cannae hear
fly struggles in the web  -
be thankful  for a screaming
we can't hear                                                             
The humours of haiku  (iron press)


alang wi voar
her herr
growein back agane
along with spring
her hair 
growing back again                                                   
Taj Mahal Review vol 13 no. 1


Bethlehem bairns
daff at bools
glowert at throuch corsherrs
Bethlehem children
play at marbles
watched through crosshairs                                            
A hundred gourds 1-3  2013


cadger an's dug  -
his dowie sang
follaes me hame
beggar and his dog  -
his sad song
follows me home                                                                 
Harvest moon (shomlo pub.Iran)


dischairged sodger
stravaigs the causeys
stappin anely on the crecks
discharged soldier
wanders the streets
stepping only on the cracks                                                 
A world rediscovered (cyberwit) 


sica lang weir...
her herr
a'ready in pleats
such a long war...
her hair
already in pigtails                                                            
Taj Mahal Review vol 13 no.1


on the pianny
a vause o daffins
...skimmerin Chopin
on the piano
a vase of daffodils
...shimmering Chopin                                                        
Mainichi daily news     


in the winnock
an attercap's wab
...he hauds up her lung x-ray
in the window
a spider's web
...he holds up her lung x-ray                                        
Taj Mahal Review vol 13 no.1


voar  -
throuch grey vennels
a red bike
spring  -
through grey streets
a red bicycle          
Zen speug 


proggin fir the douceness:
the humminburd
...the luvers
probing for the sweetness:
the hummingbird
...the lovers                                                             
 Harvests of new millenium vol4 no.1


wi a bygaun thocht
with a passing thought
Zen  speug


tirran's smirk  -
o pikit weer
tyrant's smile  -
of barbed wire                                                     
Harvests of new millenium vol3 no.1


o a drapt stane
..whaur the makar gaed unner
of a dropped stone
...where the poet went under                               
Harvests of new millenium vol5 no.1


doos on the ruiflicht
thair unnerwatter bogle
pigeons on the rooflight
their underwater monster                                            
 Zen speug


snell wund  -

throuch the causeys

a joogler jooglin gullies



bitter wind  -

through the streets

a juggler juggling knives                                        


Fume O Peat Reek (Hub Editions)


sundoon  -

she rugs a reid threid

throuch her flooerin



sunset  -

she draws a red thread

through her embroidery                                          


Fume O Peat Reek (Hub Editions)


aw day

the yin butterie

fouin the gairden



all day

the one butterfly

filling the garden                                                      


Fume O Peat Reek (Hub Editions)


hauf-tyme baund  -

yin chiel sheds himsel

wi a cymbal



half-time band  -

one musician shades himself

with a cymbal                                                                


Tuin Tin Tassie (Hub Editions) 


ower tottie

tae win tae thair chapper

he daffs alane



too tiny

to reach their doorbell

he plays alone                                                            


Tuim Tin Tassie  (Hub Editions)


yill bottle taps skailt  -

he hunkers

refleckin on the Galaxy




beer bottle tops scattered  -

he sits

musing on the Galaxy                                              


The Throu-Gaun Chiel (cyberwit)


in a seelent vennel

a maw skirls

swallaein the jeelin wund



in a silent alley

a gull screams

swallowing the icy wind                                          


The Throu-Gaun Chiel (cyberwit)


coortin kipple

a coffee atween thaim  -

stame heavin



young lovers

a coffee between them  -

steam rising                                                              


The Throu-Gaun Chiel (cyberwit)


freesty mornin  -

oot frae a jaur

the rizzard lavender's blae braith



frosty morning  -

out from a jar

the dried lavender's blue breath                              


The Throu-Gaun Chiel (cyberwit)


anither yirdin  -

sin blinters on the spaiks

o a birlin trinnle




another funeral  -

sun glitters on the spokes

of a turning wheel                                                      


The Throu-Gaun Chiel (cyberwit)


i the bombed kirk

a bairn

...skailt chalice



in the bombed church

a child

...spilt chalice                                                                          






rowed in sinlicht  -

naethin unforgien




wrapped in sunlight  -

nothing unforgiven                                                            


Sommergras Sept 2012


bairn doverin

in a sinblink:

hapt in licht years



baby asleep 

in a sunbeam:

wrapped in light years                                                      


Taj Mahal Review vol12 no2


wi's razzor

he pynts tae the fou muin  -

his sowpied neb



with his razor

he points to the full moon  -

his lathered face                                                                


Taj Mahal Review vol 9 no. 2



the bairn's derk fingers

kinchin's mither's herr




the child's dark fingers                                                                 

knotting his mother's hair                                                            


Kamesan's World haiku anthology 



cleedit in fite

pensefu caunles


                                                                                 Taj Mahal Review vol 10  no  2



dressed in white

wistful candles


roon the wa's

faimilie photies

takkin tent o's deein

                                                                                   Taj Mahal Review vol 12 no 2


round the walls

family photographs

watching him die



fou muin  -

on the cunyie

a hooer's paewae neb


                                                                                      Taj Mahal Review vol 12 no 2


full moon  -

on the corner

a prostitute's pale face




cuilin aff

i the het bowie


                                                                                     Taj Mahal Review vol 12 no 2



cooling off

in the hot tub


linn  -

throuch a pearl's rouk

the bodach skews


                                                                                   Taj Mahal Review vol 10 no 1


waterfall  -

through a cataract's mist

the old man squints




dementia  -

he hunkers i the mids

o a skailt jeegsaw

                                                                                     Taj Mahal Review vol 8 no 2


dementia  -

he sits in the midst

of a scattered  jigsaw


waddin day  -

a butterie fidderin

throuch thair sheddaes' herts



                                                                                      Taj Mahal Review vol 9 no 2


wedding day  -

a butterfly fluttering

through their shadows' hearts


midnicht express


...teuk a fere tae heiven


                                                                                    Taj Mahal Review vol 11 no 1


midnight express  -


...took a friend to heaven




oor luvin...

mellin wi burdsang

at keek-o-day


                                                                           Taj Mahal Review vol 11 no 1


our loving...


with the dawn chorus


hoaspice veesitin oor  -


the wappin beds


                                                                       Harvests of new millenium vol 3 no 1

hospice visiting hour  -


the enormous beds



throuch the cosmos:

brattles shentin us


                                                                       Harvest of New Millenium vol 12 no1



through the cosmos:

gunfire shaming us


trauchlin hame  -

derk muins o's crummock

i the snaw


                                                                     Harvests of New Millenium vol l5 no 1


trudging home  -

dark moons of his walking stick 

in the snow


perishin kirk  -

frae the meenister's mou

ghaists o Yules bygane


                                                                             Harvest of New Millenium vol 6 no1


freezing church  -

from the minister's mouth

ghosts of Christmasses past


it sterts tae snaw  -

the blin musicianer

leuks upwarts


                                                                            Harvests of New Millenium vol 2 no 1


it starts to snow  -

the blind musician

looks upwards


the bairn

bletherin tae me  -

brawer nor wurds


                                                                             Harvest of New Millenium vo 6 no1


the baby

chatting to me  -

better than words



tentie o the butterie

...skeerie lik  




he watches the butterfly





voar ferr  -

pipes seelent

weet paradeedles



spring fair  -

bagpipes silent

rain paradiddles



anither bluid test

...traipsin the lang reid rod

o hairst

another blood test

...trudging the long red road

of autumn



furst burthday  -


an time's smirkin mou



first birthday  -


and time's grinning maw



Donegal mornin  -

yin lum



Donegal morning  -

one chimney


(for Seamus Heaney)



the stag

gralloched  -

its croun o jaggies



the stag

hung to bleed  -

its crown of thorns




swaws rattlin  -


o brucken wattergaws



waves crashing  -


of broken rainbows



maws fecht ower the bucket


he squerrs's shouthers



gulls fight over the dustbin


he squares his shoulders





the harr



the mist



stour o's shock

ower  -

a stilt yirdin'm


storm of his stroke

over  -

a crutch earthing him



oot frae's mools

ugsome thrissels:

mools o the torterer


out from his grave

horrendous thistles:

grave of the torturer



autistic laddie

faw'n ower

cartoons jig on's neb


autistic boy

fallen asleep

cartoons dance on his face



brod set

wytein the veesitors

e'en the speens hearkenin


table set

awaiting the visitors

even the spoons listening



the bodach

hirples alang  -

bonnie kirstals growe in's bluid


the old man

hobbles along  -

beautiful crystals grow in his blood



auld freen  -


oor banes bairge


old friend  -

embracing him

our bones collide





she wins awa...

brakkin the threids

o a wab


she leaves...

breaking the threads

of a web



a scrieve hame

desert stoor



a letter home

desert dust





wund amang the sprots

the cailleach

tellin'r beads


wind among the reeds -

the old lady

telling her beads




festival's en -

a lane pipie stauns

sax inch frae the muin


festival's end -

a lone piper stands

six inches from the moon




nicht soonds

fauldit inby

the auld saxyphone


night sounds

at rest inside

the old saxophone



peat lowe -

we hunker, threy glowein nebs

goavin at a fowert


peat fire -

we sit, three glowing faces

gazing at a fourth




potter's hauns

wrochtin the tuimness

o's blae joogs


potter's hands

shaping the emptiness

of his blue jugs




blowster -

'guid mornin' smirk

blawn awa


Gale -

'good morning' smile

blown away




the muezzin crys -

awbody taks on

the set o incaain


the muezzin calls -

everybody assumes

the shape of prayer




dryin nets -

maws drift athort

... a slaw gemme o chess


drying nets -

gulls drift across

... a slow game of chess




lang vaig -

she wyyves the miles intae

a granbairn's shawlie


long journey -

she crochets the miles into

a grandchild's shawl




the auld scuil steekit -

anely the bummers

murmellin a lesson


the old school closed -

only the bees

murmuring a lesson



tick tock...

the bombed bairn

pendles on's stilts


tick tock...

the bombed child

pendulums on his crutches



armistice day -

the reid maple

liggs its wreath


armistice day -

the red maple

lays its wreath



swans gaither

...bit the day the bodach

maits the wirms


swans gather

...but today the old man

feeds the worms