Bookshops donate blood

I was born with a bookshop in my mouth

I’m not sure when I swallowed it.

Dell classics, ‘Sixty-four pagers’ and comics 

softened me up,

like butter and caster sugar 

in a mixing bowl.

I’m not sure how books imprinted on my double helix 

and passed from puberty 

to pulsating subjects of desire,

while I combed curly hair 

with Brylcream 

like my father

– like my book-selling father.

He’d grown up above the shop 

owned shelves, 


and cash-registers.

“So long as you don’t bend back spines,

leave fingerprints, 

crease leaves, 

so we can sell each book as new,

I bid you read all you fancy.”

 A feast fit for a glutton

– I’m sure I read a book.

I certainly climbed trees, 

collected swords,

cut and sharpened spears, 

bent and strung bows

fixed berberis thorns 

fired arrows 

hurled clumps of earth,

released poison mushrooms, 

and built a war-room 

hidden in the bushes. 

– I’m sure I read a book.

I listened to ball-by-ball cricket, 

the Clitheroe Kid,

the Top Twenty

caddied for Dad,

cut grass for pocket money.

collected “Forty-Fives”

– I’m sure I read a book.

Drewled over particular photographs in National Geographics,

undistracted by text

vexed by interruptions.

– I hardly read a book until I left home.

Walking  down Dublin’s Dawson Street,

crossing Charing Cross Road, 

hurrying through Hay-on-Wye

or window-shopping streets 

of any self-respecting Quarter 

is a pain

is a pest

is a penence.

Bookshops slow me down, 

make me late

empty my pockets. 

Bookshops kidnap me

compel me to suffer 

the cries of authors, editors, printers, publishers – even marketeers. 

“Take me,

just read my blurb, 

fondle me, 

smell me, 

feel me between your fingers. 

Let’s go somewhere quiet and consummate. 

You may suck my blood.”



Portrait of a noble winesmith 



The wine he poured from an old glass

the grape distilled at least twice

the place inherited easily

from bishops, politicians and King.

The first growth he loved

Monsieur Christian –

guardian of the blue pool

alongside mosquitos

pink roses and a caramel tree

fortified juice a white touch –

paid taxes to the elected government

sold bottles for a living

walked in shade

as water flowed up from mountains.

Proprietor with title and vocation,

a travelled homme

le rouge et le blanc.



Written 3 August 2012 after a visit to Chateau de Beaulon


“Thanks-Giving Day” – poem by Paul O’Mahony

sometimes our thank you is said so casually
or quickly that it is nearly meaningless.
(Martin Seligman)

I was never thankful
to my father
or my mother

I wasn’t even thankful
to the Universe
for what I had.

the house, clothes, water, food, shoes, shirts, bath,
garden, roses, grass, apples, hens, cabbage, loganberries,
hedgehog, lizard, bushes, even the bees

tortoise, trees, dogs, cats, fire, pocket-money, prayers,
holy water, statues, carpets, paintings, music, jelly, eggcups,
fireplaces,books, radiogram, even the plums

school, transport, brothers, sisters, God, cod-liver oil, mass,
chickens, eggs, lamb, salmon, ox-tongue, bread and butter pudding,
golf clubs, cut glass, even the gooseberries

ice cream, pancakes, rice pudding, red currants, peaches, pears,
record player, transistor radio, Luxembourg, milk, football, rashers,
cards, chess, rugby, even the blackberries

dobbers, conkers, tiddlywinks, compendium of games, holidays,
stories, photographs, confession, friends, short trousers, novenas,
nuns, thermometers, even the wagtails

pillows, pencils, bicycles, blazers, socks, sweets, pepper, porridge,
underpants, sandals, gospels, rules, knives, teaspoons, commandments,
gongs, conversations, birthdays, even the earthworms

If you asked me then whether I was grateful
I’d have said ‘yes’

If you ask me now whether I was thankful
I shall stay silent.

If you’re curious to know whether I am thankful today
I am more full of thanks than ever

– for all that and more.



This is Bond : “Shaken Not Stirred”


I first met Mr Bond on Periscope & was lured into discovering his background & creative work.

Bernie’s story : Let Mr Bernie Bond’s voice introduce his story.

You hear our 007 reveal

  • how he got the name “Bernie”
  • his ancestors – the Aird family from the Black Isle on east coast of Scotland …
  • how his great great grandfather started a company that became prosperous during the industrial revolution …
  • the family story on his father’s side: moved from Scotland to London to Germany to settle in Austria
  • his parents were born in Austria …
  • how Bernie was inspired by his family’s background
  • Bernie’s love of 1960’s music … especially the Beatles
  • how he learned to play guitar & played in groups
  • how he wrote & recorded songs in his little home studio
  • Bernie the keen footballer – still plays today
  • how he earned his living playing in bands & was unemployed
  • the story of how he got a job in the travel industry as resort rep for 4 years in Austrian mountains
  • how his ability to speak German helped
  • how he joined a startup that became a market leader in UK
  • he now works there as contracts & commercial manager for UK tour operator
  • our 007 lives in Mittersill Austria
  • he lived in Bath in 1970s & years later uploaded all his songs on to Internet
  • his got into video & created videos to go with his songs
  • when he heard James Bond crew were filming “Spectre” in villages (where his parents come from) he made this short video, as a tribute to the villages
  • his biggest success was the song “Mittersill Forever” to which Bernie added music, harmony voice & video footage (7k views on Facebook + over 2k on You Tube).


Our 007 Bond in action 



Huge thanks to Bernie Airds (@airdwaves on Twitter + PeriscopeTV on Bernie Airds on You Tube) for his generosity & collaboration.