Militant Thistles

polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"

atos Poor Doors Sheriff Stars spikes

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle bedroom tax Disrupt and Upset

Niall McDevitt






Scotland you belong to your painted people, a people that paints itself, a people that paints its own fates. The pictures on the skin of the ancient arms and torso of Scotland are pictures of a naked unimaginable wildness coming before and standing before an unimaginative bureaucracy in a suit.


They picture your interglacial landings and Ice Age axes, your boats of wood and bone, your drystone roundhouses and wheelhouses, your chambered cairns for the dead.


They picture your blue-coloured warriors overspilling the giant walls of Antoninus and Hadrian—a two-hurdle sprint—to take on Empire.


They picture your Alexanders, Constantines, Duncans, kings that fought against a succession of overlords who sought to tax, burn, rape and kill you into submission, an abjectivity without end.


Always from below there have been onslaughts and outrages, incursions and invasions; always from below there have been subterfuges and strategems; always from below a realist lion paws a fairytale unicorn; always from below illegal anglers are angling to hook your sovereignty on their lines.


We the hammered, the repressed, the disenchanted tribes of the neighbouring islands and mainlands who share our weird history and geography with yours, and a thousand years of ill-luck, ask on your behalf for an implacable North Wind to blow back the encroachers and beat off their offices for good.


To free yourself now is easier than removing a tattoo.

Niall McDevitt has published two full collections of poetry, b/w (Waterloo Press) and Porterloo (International Times). His work has appeared in The Recusant, International Times, STRIKE!, The Wolf, The Morning Star and others as well as Emergency Verse and The Robin Hood Book.



the day after is the same as the day before

i.e. but for the gutted cores.

thoughts outnumber votes, forming

a Thames-barrier against progress.

a lambeg at the heart of the real

is beating


         the mainland is neck-harnessed.

         canes thump the skin

         to detonate bass decibels

         of celebratory warning


         complacency wards off the threat

         by flexing its own brow.

         the balls of the abacus

         slide left to right in rows


         triumphal thugs hit the streets

         to earn red-white-blue stripes

         by kicking at a losing side

         of citizens as daguerreotypes



         of mind with mind, once strange,

         appalls the numb participants.

         the media’s South Wind



the eyes of the establishment can see

through optics of x-ray machines

what's happening at the core

to make the orange bleed.

a lambeg at the heart of the real

is beating


the day after is the same as the day before

i.e. it rises untransformed

to somewhere lit from an opaque

horse guards parade of yesterdays.

a lambeg at the heart of the real

is beating