John now has over 50 poems written over the last 50 years, awaiting a publishers interest:



Coming on deck that morning

The sun shining on Ailsa Craig and the green Scottish hills,

And the grey death of the North Atlantic behind us,

I felt a kind of resurrection,

A promise of a sanctuary of green

In which grey would be banished forever.


And the years ahead seemed  in that brief instant

To be alive with the timeless expectancy

That  can illumine that first step ashore

In a new land;  as if we were come at last

To our  final  destination, the rough sea fever over,

The journey done.


More than half a century later I ache for the grey seas of yesterday,

For the never since known camaraderie of the long dead

And for the hope that Stevenson said we should travel with

To a place we could never define.



Today I stood where sixty years ago

I  looked down from the window of the dormitory

Where they told me to wait, and saw you who had

Brought me there  standing in the street as if you

Could not bring yourself to go.


And I prayed that you wouldn’t, that somehow

We might escape this situation to which we’d come

Because you could not afford to keep me at home,

My father having left us when I was barely nine,

And you too proud to beg for his support.


I don’t know how you coped now looking back,

Somehow, later, I could never ask these things,

Or ask what his going meant to you, and was

Your desolation as complete as mine was

In those empty years.


I only knew that he was gone and I was left

Bereft of understanding , lost and resentful too that

Suddenly I’d entered through a door and called

Only to hear the echo back again

And see the abandoned house.


All this between us in the years that were to come,

Years not without  comfort and delight , but Oh that I

Should come back here, and last catastrophe of all

Should understand too late to say

I understand.