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The Monklands Poet

This page is to show some of the talents of William Willis - The Monklands Poet

Email received from William recently introducing Pete MacLeod

I would like to tell you about a guy from Coatbridge, Mitchell Street of all places who has just signed a record deal with Alan McGhee (founder of band OASIS) . 
I know that you love to hear stories about all things Coatbridge. Well the guy in question is the brilliant Pete MacLeod, he is a singer songwriter from on our doorstep and is about to hit the big time......I have always had faith in Pete. 
I learned to play acoustic guitar many years ago and I learned my younger brother Ian, how to play too. He in turn learned our friend Peter Macleod to play and now It's exciting times for Pete.
He has been living in LA for a few years where he met his wife and just a few months ago he returned home after hearing that his father BIG PETER MacLEOD was dying with cancer. Big Peter was an inspiration to Pete, especially his record collection that Pete always used to rave about.
I met Pete again a few months back and I told him about my poetry and he could view it on Monklands Online. Pete loved the site, especially all the old photos of Coatbridge and he told his dad about it too and he loved it also. So well done John. 
Anyway, last week .....he got in touch with me again and asked if I would write a poem about him. He further stated that if it was any good, then he would read it out personally on BBC RADIO 2 THE JANICE LONG SHOW on 30th July.
Well I wrote it and he read it. Pete's story is a "boy done good" from our little town. My thoughts re-the poem were as follows. Our home town of Coatbridge, is quite a dismal place with high unemployment, the parks and streets are strewn with broken green Buckfast Tonic Wine bottles. (The drink is notorious for fueling anti-social disorder.)
Sometimes a feel good story comes out of Coatbridge......I now give you the poem he read out on NATIONAL RADIO. 


Smashed bottles (green), a dismal scene...his town is on the brink.

An Ironworks town, all mills shut down, men's dreams go down the sink.

Oh how, fragmented dreams obey the Coatbridge culture!

It tasted sweet! Full bloodied! They indulged it!

Apprentice dreams, those ironwork scenes...forged... what some say could've been?

But job to job played inbetween, still grappling with the music scene.

'Tis no charade,the plans were made this lad would join the hit parade.

That friendly wit, those beats, those riffs performed by callused fingertips .

Smashed bottles (green,) at music scene...the lads they sang, the girls they screamed?

"How good was Pete? Whit a player! He rocked that stage, without a care!"

Reputation! Mutation!...Time to test another nation!

USA, to learn and play...a guitar man on holiday.


Inspired by Dad whose vinyl had... the sound that twixt his soul.

Spun all his tracks, from way on back, collection of pure gold.

He played his way through cool L.A. met wife and friends along the way.

"So what's the news", that let him loose, back home to Scotland, to his roots.


Smashed bottles (green,) that funeral scene...the saddest day there's ever been.

"Aye, he wiz a great Dad, the best he's ever seen!!!"

Doorstep darkness takes it's toll, he and him and and his battered soul.

But come the day, come the man, he'll prove to Dad (his biggest fan).


Tours and dates would mediate which way his path would really take.

Hamburg, Glasgow, L.A shows...he reached McGhee, a man who knows.


"Pete! You're in demand, I like your band, sign the deal here lad!!!!!"

Sweet bottles (green), A CHAMPAGNE SCENE, "THIS ONE'S FOR MA DAD!


Other poems by William - see below

  • Petes Dream by William Willis

  • Moira Anderson - Where is she?  William Willis

  • The Lament of RB Tennent - William Willis

Petes memories of Kirkwood in Coatbridge

Steelworks RIP

The Lament of RB Tennent

 by William Willis


Our foundry's last arc-furnace, has now simply all gone cold.
There is no steel to pour no more, there is no sand to mould.
Our steelwork's molten ladles, of a 1000 odd degrees.
Our industry is gone now, it's been brought down to it's knees.

R.B. Tennent was where I did work, for 15 years or so.
So I write these few verses for the ones who didn't know.
We made steel rolls for the rolling mills, we made them by the score.
What a pity that these skills, are not used here anymore.

Our furnace it would blast, felt our eardrums they were bleeding.
Our metal was now crunching, it was melting, it was screaming.
It blazed just like a hell on earth, like the Devil's own back yard.
But watch you didn't get burnt, had to be good on your guard.

With the crane-man's skilled hands, the ladle it was lowered.
And with sublime precision, the metal it was poured.
The temperature was good, it was now all systems go.
The ladle was positioned and the metal, it did flow.

60 tons of metal held, by a few course of hot brick.
Didn't think what might happen, t'would just make you sick.
Many men they suffered burns and a few they even died.
They will always be remembered, by those who have survived.

The metal it was pouring, like the shot out of a gun.
It thundered and it roared but shone, just like the setting sun.
Tiny sparks they were flying, as fireflies ran amok .
It's funny how one always seemed to end up in your sock.

You would feel the spark inside your boot, it was now time for the dancing.
You looked like Shakin' Stevens doing a silly dance and prancing.
Your workmates they all had a laugh, as it burnt right through yer sock
Simon Cowell would have been impressed, Oh Boy! How you could rock.

It was a hot place to work and the noise it was intense.
But we always had a laugh and the crack it was immense.
We toiled and we sweated in our 40 hour week.
But there always was that little bit of overtime to seek.

Two nights and a Sunday was enough to feed the weans.
Extra pieces in your piece-box but she's put in cheese again!
Stirred your coffee with a pencil, that was lodged behind your lug.
Scraped the beans out of the can and used it as your mug.

Turners, furnacemen and moulders always fighting over pay.
Electricians and the labourers would also have their say.
Union men and strikes, you know the two go hand in hand.
Fighting for their colleagues pay and how the jobs are manned.

Those days I can remember, though it seems so long ago.
The local steelworks closing down, the whole town dealt a blow.
The steelwork lying barren now....... in silence...... it is true.
The site now a resident, to that company B&Q.

M O I R A   A N D E R S O N  

(An Acrostic poem- where the first letter in each line spells the topic of the poem)

Where Is She ?

Misbegotten mindset lurked heavy on that day.
One little girl's life being cruelly snatched away.
In a world where EVIL turns sunshine into night.
Ruining of lives, being blinded by its sight
And the search goes on, where is she ?

Oh dear Lord, where is she?

A few shillings in her pocket, an errand she did run.
Ne'er sensing that pure wickedness would banish her return.
Dressed in trademark pixie hat to beat god's winter chills.
Every time we see her face, the pain gets deeper still
Remains a shrouded mystery, remains were never found.
Some say that Monklands Graveyard, had her body in its ground.
One of our ain, that poor wee bairn, is closure drawing near?
Now years of 55 have past, the mystery is still  here. ....And the search goes on, where is she ?

Oh dear Lord, where is she ?






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