A doughty champion of his local culture.(Poet Tom Hubbard)Your performance at the city hall was soooooooooo good! Christoph thought it was excellent! (Carolyn)


armstrong returns to tuebingen in the spring


I am glad to have twinned with this shapely town,
the bureaucrat who chose it was inspired,
picking through the rail lines and autobahns to seek it out,
linking it with my fleeting life.
I have travelled here a score of times and watched
my features change
with the seasons
in a twin-town’s mirror.
I have made and carelessly lost friends,
renewed the flagging feel of tenderness,
groped in the darkness for a kiss gone missing,
licked over nooks and crannies.

With local wine glinting in my starry eyes,
I have lost all tracks of time
in the cool of bowing trees;
rejoiced in the pounding of church-bells,
singing in my head.
I have dived in the shadows seeking famous sons,
slid in gutters with the down-and-outs.

This town has a brain of a University
and the guts of a stray-dog.
I have flogged it to death.

It was in this bar, at this table, in this corner,
that I looked into a girl called Karin’s eyes;
and it was at that moment, for that rich moment,
that our eyes twinned and I couldn’t wait to jet home,
write a glowing report on her glowing face
for our International Exchange Officer to file safely
under ‘Twinning Affairs’
or ‘Affairs, Twinning, New Year’.

Yes, I am glad
to have twinned with this shapely town,
by Karin’s eyes.

Tuebingen, Germany.


cafe royal, edinburgh



It was in a hotel garden
On a rainy afternoon
When a literary man took his poems in his hand
To address the gathering gloom.
He had kissed the best man’s father,
The bridesmaid and the groom.
Said the blushing bride: ‘Get the get outside,
I think he’s peaked too soon.’

Like a rat in a raincoat,
Like a vulture weather-vane,
The peripatetic poet
Is reading in the rain.
And we don’t know why he does it,
And we don’t know why he came,
But the peripatetic poet
Is doing it again.

The wedding gift he’d brought them
Was a colour photograph
Of Brecht and him out in East Berlin,
It was framed and autographed.
He was jingling like a Geordie,
He was nageling like a nyaff.
As they flung him out,
I heard someone shout:
‘Is he English, drunk or daft?’

He’s big out in Slovenia,
Where he’s called ‘the new Rimbaud’
And they treat his lines like a fine red wine -
Sort of Baudelaire Nouveau.
We’re all jealous of his genius,
That’s why he’s forced to go
And recite his pomes
To the garden gnomes
From a hotel patio.

He’s still ranting like a gobshite
Neath the dripping foliage.
As the moon climbs high in the girning sky,
He declaims his verbiage.
And that full moon is his spotlight,
And that garden is his stage,
And he hears encores in the rain’s applause
As he turns each sodden page.

Mike Dillon

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur