Thursday, 31 January 2013

Camera Shy

Image Source: Buchanan

Just before Christmas I bought a SLR Camera. I had promised myself that I would buy such a camera when the compensation case was completed. I saw it as a reward to myself for putting up with all the tough times I've had during the last four and a half years.

It was then that the lawyers told me it could be another two years before we reached some kind of settlement. This news came as quite a shock and I realised that waiting that long would just make me notice the time more. I also realised that if I bought the camera sooner It would add a new dimension to my life which could only be a good thing.

I used the camera a lot over the Christmas break, but during the recent spell of bad weather I had been avoiding going out and the camera had stayed in its case. Over the last weekend I could hear it calling to me and I decided to prise my son off his X-box and take him and the camera on a photo shoot.

The image above and the poem below, are both the results of an afternoon spent on a nearby beach. The best part of the experience was the very precious time I spent having fun with my son.

I hope you enjoy the poem.

Camera Shy

Carefully he lifted the camera from its case
and placed the broad strap around his neck.
He leant forward, retrieved the tripod
before he straightened and strode to a boulder
lying in the middle of the beach.
He then opened the tripod, secured the camera to it
ensuring that the lens faced the boulder.

Next he started collecting hand sized stones,
Each had two opposing flat surfaces
which allowed him to build a shy on the boulder.
Sitting in my wheelchair ten feet from the tower
I leant to one side and collected a handful of stones.
Meanwhile Marcus focused the camera on the shy
and selected the continuous shot sports mode.

We were ready and he began a countdown
Three – Two – One – Go,
simultaneously he pressed the shutter release
and I threw the stone at the shy – missing.
We tried again, and again, each attempt capturing
four almost identical images of the stone shy.
sometimes capturing a pebble as it passed the tower.

Then came the crack as the flying pebble
collided with the standing stones.
excitedly he pressed the view button to ensure
the image had been captured.
Tumbling from my chair I moved toward him
to inspect the results.

There on the display was an image of the collision,
The events of a fraction of a second
Suspended – there on the screen,
the rock had split into several pieces
and a cloud of stone dust hung
peppered with smaller gritty fragments

We smiled at each other and inspected the next image
which showed the shy as it disintegrated.
Quickly we moved toward the boulder
and began to build a new shy.
Both of us wore huge grins on our faces
as father and son shared a rare moment of fun together.

John Carré Buchanan
30 January 2013

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Elephas Maximus Indicus

Image Source:

This poem was written as homework for a ‘writing for pleasure’ course I am undertaking at the moment.

Having spent most of the week, since the homework was set, traveling to and trying to recover from a very painful trip to the UK, I remembered what it was like to be a child at school who suddenly remembers homework.

Fortunately sleep is a rarity in my life and I was able to pen the poem between 04:00 and 04:30 this morning whilst I waited for the pain to subside enough to sleep.

The poem had to be presented verbally and in writing at 10:00 this morning. The verbal presentation seemed to go down quite well. I hope the written version below is received in a similar way.

Elephas Maximus Indicus

Ten foot tall at her shoulder,
decked out in jewels so fine,
the temple’s mighty elephant
is treated as if divine.

Her massive head is painted
with brightly coloured schemes
and her golden nettipattom
in brilliant sunlight gleams.

The caparison draped o’er her back
is richly decorated,
as is the howda in which is set
the deity so venerated

As a temple elephant
she is much revered,
but her warrior forefathers
were very greatly feared

Yes - man has trained elephants
to fight and kill in war.
A five tonne beast in armour
was considered real hard-core.

It’s mighty tusks - capped
with two foot iron blades.
That could cut a soldier in half
when charging through blockades.

The elephants of India
have long been put to use
by men who use cunning
their power to abuse.

From the howda upon their back
the great ‘white hunters’ shot,
killing tigers and deer for sport
they almost got the lot.

They are used as beasts of burden
in the forests man tears down.
As they drag logs along the paths
the jungle turns mud brown.

Wild elephants in the jungle
have been hunted near extinction
by poachers after ivory
for men without contrition.

Yes - elephants are revered in India
but man still finds a way
to abuse and misuse them
and throw their lives away.

John Carré Buchanan
30 January 2013

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Image Source:

There is no real need to introduce this poem, save to say that it describes one of the most ridiculous things that ever happened to me. I would love to know what the person who sewed the suit together was smoking when they did it. This really did happen.


There was to be a big parade
I had to look my best
So I broke out my service dress
Sam brown and all the rest.

I only had temperate kit
Tropical would be needed
So I went to the quarter master
And for a cool suit pleaded.

He told that me they were ‘dues out’
They'd have to make to measure
This was very good news to me
for it would look a pleasure

I waited through the summer hot
and then the winter too
I chased them up regularly
as my impatience grew

Two whole years later my phone rang
The store man had good news
My tailor made service dress
At last I could peruse

I jumped on to my bicycle
and pedalled to the store
The apologetic store man
greeted me at the door.

He showed me to the fitting room
Where the suit was in a box
I stripped and took the trousers out
and then I got a shock

Quickly I took the jacket out
to check it was the same
T’was over twice the size of me;
and I'm not slight of frame.

Now Nine foot two’s a mighty chest
for any human being
and a six foot five inside leg
The tailor must be dreaming

‘Have you lost weight’, the tailor asked
as I stepped through the door
‘and eight foot eight in height’, I said
as he went red and swore.

In UK they use feet and inches
in Cyprus it’s not the same
They use little centimetres
The difference is to blame

Surely the person who made it
Must have thought it too long
For a fourteen foot tall soldier
Well…… it’s just wrong.

John Carré Buchanan
19 January 2013

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Charioteer

Image Source:

The Charioteer

People part
as I glide
through the crowd
head at chest height.

Mothers tell children
‘mind the man in the chair,’
the kids turn with a start
and stare.

I’m the man in the chair.
The man in the brand new
shiny chair.

Carving through the crowd
like a Roman chariot.
Head held unbowed,
a laureate.

But…. later….
when I’m alone
the beasts will be set free -
and they will rage.

No longer the charioteer
I will play the part
of the condemned.
John - a la carte.

Yet - amid the melee,
secure in the knowledge
that, He has a plan,
I will survive.

John Carré Buchanan
17 January 2013

This poem is shared with Poets United.

Chinese Proverb

Image Source:

I was asked to write a humorous poem based on an old adage. The subject matter was left completely up to me and not having written for a while I went for something easy. I hope you enjoy it.

Chinese Proverb

He lay there silent,
head tipped back,
a look of surprise
fixed in his eyes.

On his head
two black spots lie
separated by a maw
that was not there before.

The line of scarlet
crossed his brow.
He’d not had time
to utter 'ow'.

I remembered then
an old adage;

“Do not remove a fly
from your friend’s forehead
with a hatchet.”

John Carré Buchanan
17 January 2013