Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Careless Words.

They talk about them
like they are not there
they talk about them
like they do not hear
they talk about them
with a wink and a nod
as though everyone agrees
and everyone knows what they mean
when they say "traveller"

They make grandiose statements
career ending statements
hounded out of public office statements
if they made them about any other group
any other group in the world
apart from "travellers"

They would gladly load the cattle trucks
all that's lacking is a law
all that's lacking is the paper work
the corporate abdication of personal responsibility
and the police would obey the law
and the army would obey the law
they could muster an Einsatzgruppen in a day

And if you stand perfectly still
in this slip of the lip
you can feel humanity slip
you can feel the earth slip
toward oblivion.


Give up your Jews
Give up your Jews
Give up your Jews

And your Gypsies too

Give up your Colleagues
Give up your Neighbours
Give up your Friends

Give up them All
Give up Control
Give up your Soul

We have a Law...To make you Obey
We have a Law...To take you Away
We have a Law...To kill you Today

Law is Might...Wrong is Right
Dark is Light...Blind is Sight

No turning back at the Mississippi Turnpike

Now for Evensong.


  1. A very powerful poem. Thank you. It is beautiful. I was always curious: Where did the Scottish Travellers come from? I know Scotch cant contains a large Romani vocabulary. Does this mean that the Scottish Travellers are descended from Gypsies who came to Scotland long ago? If not, how did these Romani words come into Scotland?

  2. Thank you,
    There are very few cant words remembered or used. Most of them were old Scots words that fell out of use but were still remembered and used by Scottish Travellers.
    Scottish travelling families are indigenous to Scotland and have the most ancient clan names in Scotland. My theory is that we are decended from people who lost everything in their defense of Scotland and there is the possibility that our ancestors were helped sheltered and protected by Gypsies. (This is only an idea of course, something you surmise because you don't really know and only present as fact if it has anything to do with evolution). I am curious though as to why my name is on the Siol Alpin chart and I'm still not allowed 20ft X 8ft of Scotland to park a caravan.

  3. I really like your theory about Scottish Traveller origins, and I would not be surprised if it was true. I read that the Travellers in the Highlands spoke a different language called beurla-reagaird. Are they related to the Travellers who spoke cant? My great-great grandmother was a Traveller, back in the 1800s. She was a Townsley from Aberdeen. Is that an ancient clan? Any information about their history or origins would be great. She married a Mullen, who also was a Traveller. But I dont know where he came from. Do you know if the Mullens are Scottish, Irish or English?

  4. I know that the names Townsley and Mullen are both associated with Scottish travelling families. But I've not done much in the way of investigation into genealogy or history, you probably know more than I do if you have had a look at these. Old court records are a good place to look. Travellers were always being charged with things like 'Pitching a tent' and 'police assault', this was a form of assault particular to Travellers where they would assault the police knuckles with their face and then be charged with police assault.