Am I Running?




Here is a go at a Villanelle that I wrote five years ago. It is a bit awkward, but in hindsight I am glad that I didn’t put it in the wastebasket. I thought the tangled group of old running medals would go well with the ordered lines of the poem.


Am I running to you, from you, with you?

When the dark sky-lid shuts in the winter world

In not sweet night that I never pass through.


My step and breath are locked to pursue

Numbers and titles, bright pennants unfurled.

Am I running to you, from you, with you?


In races beneath tight grey or soft blue

Skies. I wait for your smile the once whirled

In not sweet night that I never pass through.


Had I known these days would be so few

Then sweet words would have softly uncurled…

Am I running to you, from you, with you?


And now these days are a world not made new

By bright discovery, but hurled

In not sweet night that I never pass through.



And lack of interest will always accrue

A cost obvious but unforetold.

Am I running to you, from you, with you?

In not sweet night that I never pass through.

















The Bravest Rescue Goes to Holyrood


Our wee film, now named “The Bravest Rescue”, premiered in Motherwell Civic Theatre in October. The local Member of the Scottish Parliament, Claire Adamson, came along and was impressed. So impressed, that she organised a screening of the film in the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh.

Here’s a link to my sixth year journalism students blog about the event.…ttish-parliament/

Many thanks to Kenza for the photo curation and Wiktoria for the edit.

I was given the privilege of speaking before the screening, along with my colleague and friend from Saint Aidan’s High, Caroline. Here is the text of our thoughts on the value of partnership and collaboration in film and education.

Scottish Parliament Presentation Continue reading

Student Journalism

JMAC Landing Page


Hi out there,

This is just a wee plug for my student journalists in sixth year at high school. They have been developing a great blog with lots of student news and views and have been creating some great news pieces and images.

You can take a look at their excellent site by googling JMAC the blog experience

Have a look and leave a comment if you like what you see.


Zombie! Inside a Wrecked Mind

I have been using “The Enemy” by Christopher Higson for the first time with one of my lower school classes. We had a good dialogue about how the infestation that had wiped out the adult population or turned them into shambling Zombie may have left some residual human capacity in those affected by the disease.
I wrote the following short story to explore the background of the character “Small Sam” and to give the students a stimulus for their own creative writing.

A Zombie’s Story- Inside a Wrecked Mind

Ann felt so angry and sick and rotten. It had started with a sniff and a sore head, a bit like the flu, but she knew it was worse than that. It was the rage disease- the thing that was destroying the world and turning parents into monsters who wanted to devour their children. It wouldn’t touch her, Ann knew that her huge love for her babies would save her.

She was wrong.

Continue reading


This is somewhere between poetry and prose.

Privet is a an evergreen bush, often used for hedging between houses in Britain


Intricate and supple twigs

Thin and pliant with green


Leaf and leaf and leaf

In fresh lime

In yellow gold

In dark olive

Like green fractals

Extending one idea forever

Tendrils shoot out,

They are clipped, cut, swept-

But the hedge persists

It wants to sprawl and prosper,

Send out its scent,

A note of high, green sweetness

That is the clean heart of summer.

But it is kept as a cool barrier between the houses

Continue reading

The Queen’s Pyjama’s


If you would like a look at the script for the Wishaw Area Schools Film Project here it is.

It is rather long and it has lots of dialogue in Scots, but it will give you an idea of what we hope to produce when shooting starts in August.

The Queen’s Pyjama’s 

A dramatized account of Willie Angus V.C.


Wishaw Schools World War One Heritage Project


Gerry O’Brien, June 2018


This screenplay is the product of collaboration between students, teachers and Community Learning staff from the Wishaw and Shotts area.

After a series of development meetings and discussions the life of Willie Angus was settled upon as the focus for the project and this script was written.

It should be noted that whilst the script does its best to use the known facts about Willie Angus and the events leading to is award of the Victoria Cross, that it is a dramatization of his life. As such, dialogue, characters and places are intended to catch the spirit of the times. 

Copyright Gerry O’Brien June 2018



Page Break




Scene 1: The Football Field

Scene 2: Post-match analysis

Scene 3: The Changing Room

Scene 4: Hearth and Heart

Scene 5: The Fitba Strip

Scene 6: The Parade: the HLI leave Carluke

Scene 6.1: On the Tram

Scene 7: In the trenches- the raid goes wrong

Scene 8: The Aftermath

Scene 9: Have a drink of this Tommy!

Scene 10: “Ah cannae listen tae this”

Scene 11: Generals and Corporals

Scene 12: Going Over the top

Scene 13: The Rescue

Scene 14: In the Hospital- The Queen’s Pyjamas

Scene 15: At the Palace

Scene 16: Homecoming



Continue reading

Are Ye Bound for France my Dear?


Are you Bound for France?  Margaret’s Song

Are you bound for France my dear, my dear brother oh!

Are you bound for France my dear, my dear brother oh!

Will you stand sae tall and proud

Hear the pipes blow sae loud

Are you bound for France my dear, my dear brother oh!


Are you bound for France my dear, my dear brother oh!

Are you bound for France my dear, my dear brother oh!

Will ye put your toys away?

Nae boys’ games left tae play.

Are you bound for France my dear, my dear brother oh!

Continue reading

Willie Angus- WW1 Film Project


Young people in the four high schools around Wishaw have been collaborating on a major film project that will be launched to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.

Students from Saint Aidan’s, Coltness High, Clyde Valley High and Calderhead High have been working hard for the past year and the fruits of their labour will be on display in November this year.

The film will tell the story of Willie Angus, a Lanarkshire man who won a Victoria Cross in 1915. Willie saved the life of his officer, who wounded and stranded in no man’s land just yards from the German trenches. Willie brought the wounded man back to his own lines but suffered multiple injuries doing so.

The students been rehearsing a script that they will film in August. The recreation of Willie’s life is an exciting project and has been made possible by the award of a substantial lottery grant of £10000.

The trailer will give you an idea of the creativity and commitment that the young people of Wishaw. Click below to view the trailer…

World War 1 Film Project Trailer

The art work that a small team of students produced to help create the trailer is worth a look in its own rightP1040511P1040513P1040516P1040517P1040518P1040520P1040521