Sunny Saturday and the low green,

Is dotted with daisies and dandelions.

Bubbles of mammies, daddies, weans and dugs,

Sprauchled on deckchairs, plaids and rugs.

Babbies crawlin on chubby knees,

The smell o burgers burning on barbecues, blawin on the breeze.

Tea’s poured fae flasks and cider is sipped,

Wi windbreaks and gazebos, folk are equipped.

Iphones beltin oot sonsie tunes,

Lassies growin intae legs which have grown long ower lockdoon.

Neebors blether tae wan an ither just like in closes,

Sweet grass and gowans like tiles and peony roses.

Doon by the café, folk wait their turn.

Auld mods on mopeds oot for a run.

Bikers on big Harley’s lean back in the sun.

On the shore, skin of all kinds shimmers in the heat,

Colours across the spectrum, bare sandy feet.

Weans plooter aboot in the warm pools left by the tide,

Skiddlin wi spades and pails, wunnerin whaur the crabs bide.

No everybody is happy mind..


A skinny, thrawn faced dad,

Himsel nae mair than a lad,

Leans ower his girnin wean,

Peely wally skin moving ower his ribs.

A wifie shouts at her man fir no listening,

He tells her tae stop threapin on.

Seagulls pinch chips.

Somebody curses, and ….

……. a wean draps her cone.

Thir’s sand and snotters on sticky wee faces.

Sandals, and sannies and sari’s,

Sun cream and sunburn and sunstroke

And hash smoke and sirens and swearing and stooshies,

And shells and seaweed and….

….. some cunt wi a drone.


But we’re aliiiiiiiiiiiive !


So here’s tae us –

Tae the bossy matriarchs baukit in deckchairs,

Knees apart, arms under bosoms,

Watchin ower their brood.


Tae the weemin who bring umpteen weans and fishing nets,

And picnics o pieces, and buggies and grannies, on the train,

And sit on the beach til it’s time tae go haim.


Tae the mammies and daddies pushin weans in wheelchairs,

On the shore front,

The sand as well a million miles away.


Tae the petrol heids in souped up motors,

Driving nose tae tail,

Belchin reek.


Tae the big Asian families who gather in the gloamin,

Tae watch the sun go doon ower Goatfell.


Tae the weans blawin bubbles fae wands,

A rainbow of colour in ilka sphere,

Perfect for a moment.

Here’s tae us.

Copyright Tracy Anne Harvey.

TAE A SPIDER ( Wha survived aa nicht doon the lavvy pan)

Wee drookit hawf droont spider,

Aa nicht long ye’ve hud tae lie thir,

Cheatin daith, prepared tae die na,

Ye’ve survived twa flushes.

Thaur ye go, awa ootside na,

We’ll puit ye in the bushes.

Ye pair wee sowel, ye’ve hud an awfy fricht,

First blinded by the bathroom licht,

And then, aa whit a terrible sicht!

Ma big bahookie!

Descendin fae an awfy heicht,

Ye pair wee chookie!

Aw pal, some hings ye cannae unsee,

Doon the lavvy pan’s no the place tae be.

Ah hope ye’ve no got PTSD,

Eftir seein me dicht.

The nicht when ah get up tae pee,

Ye’ll be aa richt.


Nancy you’re skin and bone,

Talking on your mobile phone.

You and the babies all alone,

Just getting through.

Nancy sitting on the step,

Living in your private let.

Leeky roof lets in the wet.

How do you get through?

Nancy with your music on

Swaying to your favourite song,

Husky laughter all day long.

Keep smiling through.

Nancy no school for you,

Just doing what you have to do.

Living hand to mouth

Your whole life through.

Nancy, dog at your feet,

Watching folk pass on the street,

A wee smoke at night to help you sleep

The whole night through.

Nancy, with your eyes so blue,

Pretty nails and rose tattoo,

Make up on and making do.

Your whole life through.

copyright Tracy Anne Harvey


Tonight, hearts beat around the world.

From North pole to South, over the equator,

Through every time zone.

So many hearts.

East to West, no-one heart better than the rest.

Thumping in our chests.

Each chamber doing it’s bit,

Working in harmony, with lungs and veins.

Helping blood on it’s journey.

Inside every man, woman and child.

Sending life to vital organs, skin and bone.

No-one is born heartless,

No heart is made of stone.

All hearts can become heavy,

Weighed down by regret,

Grieving for what has come and gone.  

All hearts can be broken,

And some cannot be mended.

Frozen by hunger and fear,

Some hearts bleed many tears.

Sometimes our hearts are in our boots.

Sometimes in our mouths.

All hearts ache.

All hearts were born to love.

To bond.

Soft hearts, which melt

The hearts of our mothers

And our lovers.

Our sisters and our brothers.

All hearts can swell with pride.

Feel empathy for others.

All hearts can be brave

All hearts can be saved.

And if not, we can find it on our hearts,

To love, and be loved, anyway.

All hearts are sacred,

Warm and full of life.

Let our hearts soar with joy, and sink and miss a beat.

And laugh at life.

Oh, my heart,

Even when our world’s heart is broken.

Oh hearts, beating across continents and oceans,

All these hearts.

Let them beat in harmony.

Across the world tonight,

And hand on heart,

One day soon,

I wish with all my heart,

That all our hearts will open,

And all hearts will unite.


The first dug ah hae mind o wis Marcus, oor alsatian, Circa 1973. Ah foun him deid whin ah wiz aboot fower. Thaur he wiz, tongue lollin, in the lobby. They thocht he’d bin pushint. Ah wis sorry, fir he’d made a guid cuddy. Ah wiz never by lowpin oantae his back fae the stool in the kitchen. He wiz jist lik Champion the wonder horse. He became legendary fir theivin every bit o food he cuid reach and yainst he hud lowped the sea waa at Saltcoats, knockin himsel oot stain cauld. Ma faither thocht he wiz deid and carried him aa the wey haim tae the high road, greetin lik a wean.
Next wiz Cindy, long haired Alsatian. Cowed. Big feartie she wiz. Don’t ken whit she’d buin through. Ma faither, big softie, a polis man, brocht her haim wi him wan nicht. She lay in a daurk neuk in the kitchen ahint a big sack o tatties, til she decided she wiz hungry enough tae come oot. She wiz aye cowed. Pee’d whine’er oanybody leuked at her. Sometimes, whin ye tried tae tak her a walk, she wid jist dig her claws intae the grunn an sit bawkit refusin tae go oany further, or slip her chain an rin haim. She wis a great wee mammy tho, she hud a wheen o litters o pups. Cosy in a bed o fresh saw dust, unner a heat lamp. Ah mind o thir bein lik eicht at a time, sucklin away, still hingin fae the cauny Cindy as she got up fir a dauner. Eftir they wir weaned, they wir wee baas o fur, wi swalt bellies, bowly legs and big bear paws, wee tails waggin as they stood in a row suppin minced tripe fae a trough.
Yin day ah shut masel in ma room wi ma haunds ower ma ears as ah heard the last o her pups howlin in grief as it wis taen fae its mammy tae it’s new haim. Cindy, however, didnae seem tae be jeein her ginger, she jist traipsed ben the crey, eatin the odd shite.

Jude, caad eftir the Beatles song ah suppose, wiz a stud dug. A big shagger. He wiz lik the dug version o Elvis. Aa the lassie dugs gret whin they saw him. He wiz a celebrity at the dug shows. His cups, shields and rosettes adorned oor waa length brick fireplace. His kennel club name wiz Kerson Klaus. Like some German porn star. Ma faither brocht him tae the schuil pet show whin ah wiz in primary two. Ah wiz that prood o thim baith, ma faither the spit o Burt Reynolds, an ma teacher clearly fancied him, whilst Jude jist flung everybody a deefie in his haughty stud dug wey, sniffin the erses o the lassie dugs, an gettin visibly excited.
Jude hud a dochter, Tanya. Noo she wiz the wan a bonded wi. She wiz trouble. Short haired, blondish and braw, she also won a wheen o shows. But her behaviours wir questionable. Although, ah wiz jist 12, ah wiz nae stranger tae walkin twae or three Alsatians at a time, but mair so Tanya, gien Cindy didnae like walkin an Jude jist wantit his end away. Ah kent she wiz loveable and misunderstood, but, at the end o the day, she wiz aye chasin eftir ither dugs an gaun fir folk.
Tanya and Cindy were gey territorial ower Jude, who jist lapped it aa up lik the big alpha male that he wiz, whilst Tanya and Cindy ripped each ither tae shreds. They wir lik gladiators. Yin day, whilst ma mither wis tryin tae separate thaim wi the brush shaft, me and ma pal Lorna wir oot the front bawlin and greetin, splattert wi bluid lik sumhin oot the Amityville horror. A wee wifie ran up tae us and asked if we wir aaright, she must’ve thocht somebody hud buin murdered. Oany wey, whin we telt her it wiz jist the dugs killin wan anither, she went away quite happy, leavin me and Lorna clutchin oan tae wan anither. But oanywey, they lived tae see anither day.
Tanya hud an unlikely best pal, Zoey, Lorna’s poodle, whae widnae huv seen Jude in her road.
Next came Max, whae wis Tanya’s pup, tae Jude, of course, whae wiz also her faither, but that’s anither story, dugs ur no sae bothered aboot sic trivialities and huv tae be watched that wey. Oanywey, despite his incestuous start in life, Max wiz a dug in a million. He loved walks, he loved claps, he loved people, he loved bones, he loved biscuits, he loved…… chasing sheep. Thank God fir ma pal Jill, who wiz a feisty rid heidit lass, yaist wi fighting wi her twae big brithers. Yin day, whin Max slipped his chain and ran intae the fermer’s field, she just ran eftir him and bootit him intae kingdom come, and that wee sheep jist rin awa lik Zola Budd, an that wiz the last sheep Max ever chased.
Max wiz ma world until ah turned 17 and moved in wi ma boyfriend. He steyed happily wi ma mither and faithir, spoiled rotten.
Max, in turn, hud a dochter caad Tess, whae wiz also the apple o ma parents een.
In atween thir wir ither foster dugs, Pepper steyed fir a while, ah hud tae sclim up an eicht fuit fence eftir she bit ma leg, and Sabre came tae stey eftir his owner hud tae go awa fir a few year ( an Sabre wisnae allowed tae visit).
Ma fiance wiz awfy guid at the artexing and yin wifie hud nae monie and peyed him by gien him a wee pup. We caad her Hedge an she grew tae be the biggest, saftest, whitest dug, ye’ve ever seen, wi nae pedigree an a liver nose. She hud a nervous disposition an cast her body weicht in hair every day. Ah wuid tie her up ootside the shop whin ah wiz gettin the messages and she wuid howl til ah came back oot wi a bit cauld meat or chocolate. Her best pal wiz wee Jess ma pals Jack Russell.
Hedge steyed in 3 different hooses wi us as wir faimily grew.
She hud a litter o pups tae Coulter Mair, fae Somerville street, and we kept a black bitch an caad her Molly. Molly wiz also a stotter o a dug, but, in the beginning, she liked tae chow stuff. Like furniture. And doors. But maistly furniture, particularly the couch. Gey often, we wid come back fae bein oot and the inside o the couch wid meet us at the front door. Guid job ah’m no hoose prood.
Ma man got custody o Molly as the years went by, but we baith got tae say oor guidbyes tae her at the hinneren whin she wiz an auld lady.
In later years, me an my dochter picked up a wee waif an stray fae the kennels in Mauchline. A wee border terrier, whae we caad Lenny, eftir the great Lenny Kravitz. Lenny, lik masel, hud buin atween haims fir a wee while, and me and him became an item, along wi ma cat JK ( eftir yon chiel wi the big beanie bunnet oot o Jamiroqui whae they caad “the cat”), ma cockateil Rachel ( Ross haen passed awa a few year earlier). Me and Lenny, and Frank, went up Cairn Table, alang the river Ayr walk, went tae Glencoe, holidayed in Skye, slept thegither in a tent in the leid hills. He loved his granny and grampa and thir Cairn terrier Gus. He wis kent tae steal cheese and eat aa the sweeties, even whin they wir wrapped up ablo the Christmas tree. He loved sittin unner his favourite tree wi Frank doon Dumfries estate and chasing his tale and howlin lik a wolf. A wee squeaky wolf. Him and Frank wid sit oan ma tap step wi a beer and a fag and a Bonio and wait for me comin haim fae wirk. He follaed me aboot til the day he deid in his wee bed in front o the radiator.
So noo ah’ve nae dugs, ah jist get a wee lend o ither folks. Ah babysit ma grandpug Buzz and ah’m fond o ma grand lab Nell. Even though ah aye forget whit she’s caad. Ma step son visits wi his wee dug Archie and ma maw hus a border terrier caad Alfie. Ma pal hus a bonnie lab jist like Hedge.
Roll on retirement, then ah’ll get anither wee fower leggit pal.


Evenin summer sun.
Cup o tea.
Or coffee wi chicory.
Leukin ower the back greens.
Washin saggin oan the lines.
Dykes an hedges.
Lurchers in crays.
Auld Jenny hirplin ootside fir a fag.
Mrs Dobbie, comin haim fae sumwhir, turnin her key in the door.
Weans skreichin.
Teenagers, reekin o Aerial an Lynx, hingin aboot the electricity box.
Music fae the ice-cream van ( Greensleeves or sumhin jist as daft)
Me an ma pal an her mither.
Laughin an bletherin.
Aboot nuhin much mair than each ither
Or whit video we wid get fae Tober, mibbe “Roadhouse” or “Sleepless in Seattle.”
It wis anither warld.
A differnt time.

Happy oor in the Goose

Wee while afore the train haim.
City centre pub crawl.
The Horseshoe.
Oot tae the West end.
An back again.
Noo, a bit waur o the weir,
We hirple intae the Goose.
Happy oor is lowpin.
Fowk jist lowsed.
Or wi bags o messages at thir feet.
Ah play wi grains o saut on the table,
Enjoyin the patter aroon me.
The thrawn faced (fir guid reason) baur maid stompin aboot liftin glesses.
A big chiel, stoorie faced in blue overalls, taks the flair fir a story.
Nursin his pint.
“Ah mind o Glesga in the 60’s” he says,
It wis aa “love, peace an whit the fuck ur you leukin at?”
Even the crabbit baur maid hus tae laugh.

COPYRIGHT Tracy Anne Harvey

SEAGULLS (an ode tae the gobshites who woke me up at 4.30am)

Swooooooooopin owre the roofs,

Shrewd white eyes home in on the target far below.

Aaand down,down,down,down,

Concrete coming closer,closer,closer, and…..

Bullseye….a half eaten box o’ chips and gravy,

Discarded by some bevvy heid.


That’s what im reduced tae.

That and pinching pieces fae weans oan the Arran ferry.

Or dancing, flat fuited, like some stick leggit eejit in yellow flippers on the low green.

Squawking wi excitement at the sicht o a dribble o tomato sauce on a creashy chip wrapper.

Living oan left ower deep fried carbohydrates.


But you should see me at nicht;

The curve o my white belly against the grey sky, illuminated by the moon.

Silent. Graceful. A ghost bird.

But by the desolate dawn, I’m back tae bein a gobby bastard, bidin my time oan the saundstain windaes o the tenements.

Me and my pals, laughing like hyenas at the insomniacs cursing us ahint the curtains.

We take a bit o stick an aw, haen nae appealing characteristics tae speak o.

Nae sweet evensong, nae bonnie red breast,

Nae twisting and turning like our petrol coloured pals, the starlings.

Nae folding ourselves up like a penknife and darting unner the waves like our neebors, the gannets.

Nae ooohs and aahs for us,

Nae body puits breed oot the back door fir us, no wioot getting an ASBO.

Weans chase us, neds fling stains at us, I’ve lost count of the nummer o plastic beer pulls ah’ve had stuck roon my neb.


Ah daresay there will never be a bonnie rainbow coloured Mc Seagull painting.


Ah was reart oan the Ailsa Craig, but there’s nae work there noo.

Ah hud tae move inland – tae work the streets and the landfill sites.

An interlouper. A migrant. Taking jobs fae the pigeons.


We are barbecue wrecking louts,

Flocking around parks and beer gardens,

In uniform grey and white,

Whooping like outlaws,

Whistling like referees,

Flapping our feathers.

Gorging on garbage and intimidating the clientele, feasting on their thrown away food.

We are bigger than cats,

A tad mair aesthetic than rats,

Strutting our stuff.

Picking the streets clean.


But I have my moments.

I micht be a big forlorn anti-social fucker,

A self serving survivor, void of any feeling.

They micht bring in hawks tae get rid o me,

But they’ll never stop me swooping ower the roofs o Ayr drapping my detritus oan the skylights o the establishments wi a satisfying SPLAAAATTTT!


Jist lik Jack when he selt his coo fir magic beans,

Ma man comes haim wearin the biggest grin ah’d e’er seen.

An fae his pooch he brings oot this wee cute white baa o fur.

Well, ah wis pure bealin.

An ah says, are you tellin me thit that’s whit ye got,

Fir artexing big Wendy’s ceiling?


He says “mon hen, don’t be like that, pair wee hing wis the runt o the litter”.

An fae then oan ah wis stuck wi this big gawky, peely wally pot licker.


Swipperly, the peckin order wis set.

She lay on the couch.

She slept in the bed.

She sat on his knee.

He aye left her a wee drap o his tea.

She barked at ma progammes on the telly.

Her farts wir smelly.

She wid lie on her back

An he wid rub her belly.

She wis prone tae the skitter.

That big, gawky peely wally pot licker.


He taen her everywhir.

Tae the bookies an the pub.

He tied her up ootside the shop,

She sat aside him on the bus.

She licked his face.

She licked him on the lips.

He gave her bits o tattie

When he wis pairin chips.

She wid run away.

He wid run eftir her

But she wis ayeways quicker.

That big gawky peely wally pot licker.


Her hair wis on the carpet,

Her hair wis on ma claes.

Her hair wis on the couch.

Ah’d tae hoover twice a day.

Ma shag pile rug was nice an thick.

But the layer o dug hair thicker.

Aw because o that big gawky peely wally pot licker.


She wid sit an gie paws.

But she widnae chase sticks or run eftir baws.

She could run lik the clappers.

But she didnae like the watter.

Her collar she could loosen.

She wid sometimes hump a cushion.


She got caught,

By Andra Mair’s dug, Couter.

Ma man wis that hairt broken.

He went oot an got blootert.

But then, he chynged his mind.

Eftir aa, he wis gauntae be a grampa.

An me, ah wis jist tae be the baby sitter.

Fir that big, gawky peely wally pot licker.


Yin nicht, beside the tumble dryer,

She gied birth tae fower wee pups,

Wee mewing bundles,

Twae bitches an twae dugs.

Ma man wis that prood, thir wis tears in his een.

He luiked at her as if she wis the brawest hing he’d ever seen.

Well granny, he says tae me, wi a cheeky snigger,

“whit wan will we keep?”

And, eftir that, ah hud twae big, gawky peely wally pot lickers.