Treasure Island

sheena blackhall

(18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

28 Scots Poems: Likeable Ordeal


1.Foo tae Makk a Poem

I micht be Nelson, turning a blin ee
tae the day's semaphore,
sennin the touch paper tae cut-glaiss dawns

The poem micht be a crannog
A hinneycaimb o wattles I warp an weave
Squeezin the warld aroon me oot like moss

The mind sherpens its blade on a whetstane
Weeted wi rain an sorra

The best poem lies in the hairt o the broon bog
I sink doon intae, leechin frae its veins
Wird hoards that wolves hae warmed thirsels against.

2.The Thorn Buss

The Brus lies in Dunfermline kirk
Rowed in a claith o gowd
Lord Elgin's merble at his heid
A King frae tap tae shroud.

Ootby, a wizzened thorn buss
Leans ower an unmerked grave
The lass that bore the Wall ace
Lies forgotten wi the lave.

The breist-milk o the mither wolf
Gaed Rome its virr an pouer
The seedbed 0 Scots liberty
Lies hummle in thon stoor

The Brus lies in Dunfermline kirk
Braw kist wi braiss plate tapped
The thorn buss stauns ower Freedom's dam
Her heid's wi green girse happed


3. Sin Eater

Fit is the taste o sin?
Satty, like the sea?
Is murder soor or sweet?

Hoochmagandie... is't savoury?
Is leein wersh or bland?

Dis the sin consume the consumer?
Dis it slawly ett the self
Like a cancer tumour?
Is't a dish best etten hett, or suppit cauld?

Kent a meenister
Fa said maist fowk wis damned
Fa said sex wis the wark o the Deil
Fa said weemin war born pure evil

I'd like to makk him ett his wirds
IIkie dot, slash, letter an comma till he chokit
I'd like to makk him ett up ilkie sin
He fabricatit

Craw cheil. Fa'd think
Ae heid held sae much hate?
Losh be here, maun be somethin he ett
Salome maun hae brocht it on a plate.


4.Salute Tae Donside: Tune: Wha Saw the 42nd

Some o us war auld an fooshty
Some war young an swack an strang
Some war wabbit, aa war cantie
Faith the Ballad Bus wis thrang!

Fa saw the Braes o Coldstane
Reid rowans glentin sma?
Fa saw Glenbuchat's Castle
Stinch o yett an strang o waa?

Fa sang o Lang John More
An fa sang o Rhynie's knowe
Hurlin aroon Glenkindie
Skelpin on fur Alford's howe?
Hens marchin tae the midden
Wasps bizzin roon yer heid
£80,000 pun o statue
Man yon's fairly best 0 breed!

Fa felt the wins o Cluny
By Monymusk wheech ben?
Fa sang o dule an murder
In a dowie Donside glen?

Fa saw the braes o Kemnay
Dirdin roon nerra neuks?
Gweedsakes, here's Inverurie
Watter rinnin doon its sheughs!

Faith, noo the journey's ower!
Balgownie's michty waa
Bids adieu tae Don an ballad
Swallaed bi the ocean's mawe!

5. Swami

I like tae sprauchle
Tae dauchle aboot in bauchles in the hoose
Efter the trauchles o day
Like a dug splayed oot in strae in the stoory byre

I like tae sprauchle afore a roarin fire
I canna abide a seat, perjink an neat
I'd rather be horizontal, warm an dwaumy
Wi a levitatin mind like an Eastern Swami
Wi Chopin, mebbe, or Bach upon the pianie

An that's fit's wrang wi wirk... cause there ye cannae
Sprauchle like ancient Romans at a feed
Like Buddha fin he steeked his een an deed.

6. Sunset Sang

99.7% 0 Mumbai's fite-backed vultures hae deed oot.
Pyson, entered the food chyne.
I am a Doric spikker.90% 0 ma days
Gyang by in seelence, forbyes the antrin phone call
Tryin tae sell me windaes, a Geordie lilt.

Ma bairns grew up wi TV, English buiks
Their lugs attuned tae different frequencies
Hale wikks rowe by like oceans ower ma heid
Afore anither whale remairks 'Fit like'

On Friday, doon at the library, I felt Doric.
It wis a Doric day. Nae bad y'unnerstaun,
Sunny, nae ootricht birsslin. A Muslim quine
Aside me surfed the net. We smiled, speechless.
A Somalian student's moose gaed click-clack-click

I gaed hame nursin ma spikk like it wis nae weel
Wauked ben the park far bubbles burst in a puil.
A plastic puddock raise as fowk applauded.
'Look at the frog' the littlins daunced an skirled
I winneret, hid thon puddock heard 0 Sunset Sang?

7. The Spik 0 the Lan

The clash o the kintra claik
Rins aft ma lug, as rain
Teems ower the glaissy gape
o the windae pane.

The chap o the preacher's wird
Be it wise as Solomon
It fooners on iron yird
Brakks upon barren grun

Bit the lowe o a beast new born
The grieve at his wirk
The blyter o brierin corn
The bicker o birk
The haly hush o the hill
Things kent an at haun
I'd harken tae that wi a will
The spik o the lan.


8.Scotched

As I stude in a Scottish street
An breathed the Scottish air
A Scottish spurgie in a tree
Come jinkin frae its lair

It flew ootower the Scottish hames
The hooses, schule an kirk
It flew abune the Scottish lawns
The wids o aik an birk

It flew abune the Scottish bus
That I wis set tae catch
Aside a queue o ither Scots
A mixter maxter swatch
o ither Scots fowk like masel
Three Chinese engineers
A Polish driver, Sikh GP
Five Suffolk mountaineers

Aa stude disjaskit bi the waa
The rain drapped dreich an thick
The doonpish tuik nae tent ava
Tae makk, belief, or spikk.

9. Fit's Life?

Scots owersett o a quote frae Crowfoot, a Blackfoot Indian elder, Canada

Fit's life?
It's the glimmer o a fireflaucht in the nicht
It's the braith o a buffalo in the deid thraa o Yule
It's the wee shadda that rins alang the girse
An losses itsel in the gloamin


10. The Lesser Spottit Taed

I am the lesser spottit taed
Naebody is spottit less aften than me
Naebody screives odes tae me
I hinna starred in a tale bi the Brithers Grimm
I am nae an essential ingredient
In wart removal spell nummer 203
I am the lesser spottit taed
Dae ye peety or envy me?


11.Mrs Attila the Hun

It's nae ony fun bein Attila the Hun
Biological warfare(the slicin aff o heids)
Is a scunner on washin days

I turn the coo on the spit
Fur oors, while he's aft giein it laldy
Repetitive strain injury
Is aa the thanks I get
Fur keeping his denner hett

He gied me a bear’s fur three year's back
Peety the bear wis in it
Tuik me a month an a day
Tae cure an skin it

He's heavy on the bevy
(Leadin a heeze o Vandals, Goths an Franks
Gies personal satisfaction
Bit smaa thanks)
Still, as I says tae cousin Ina in Asia Minor
Nae mony hubbies rule
Frae the Rhine tae China.


12.Greyfriars Bobby

Purchase a moose, a pig, a moggy
Bit dinna buy a Greyfriars' Bobby
He'lI weir ye doon. For wauks he'll bark
Tae tryst wi muggers in the park.

Ye try tae jet awa tae Spain
He's haudin on aneth the plane
Forget aboot a bidie-in
He'll teir her tights. He'll bowf an rin
Awa wi her new bras an pants
An beery them aneth yer plants.
Ye'lI hae dug hairs in soup an pudden
Mair fur than flew in fechts at Flodden
Sae buy a statue fur yer lobby
An nae a real-life Greyfriars' Bobby
Luv didna keep him near grave-stanes
Na. Dugs are unca fond o banes!


13. At the Festival

Here tae grip the nettle. Here tae be bumbazed,
Dumfounert, affrontit, edifeed, scunnered
Enthralled, transmogrified, caad aff the proverbial stot
A polyglot o towrists swall the clanjamfrey
0 buskers, boskers, friskers, jugglers, dauncers
Pipers, ranters, chauncers

Festival stars or gypes? The hype's aywis the same
They're aa the jazziest, razzmatazziest, latest
Maist bobbiedazzlin act ye've ever seen or heard
Embro's annual Fringe... A stammygaster o drollery
o bombast, aghast, hauf mast mingin or Real Ming quality

Steppin aft this merriematanzie o festival flim-flammery
Ma heid's fair birlin. The North bound train is fillin
Wi littlins fechtin an tcyauvin. Wi drifters an rifters
Weemin giein it laldy inno their mobiles' lugs
Bankers haein wee snifters.... Elbucks inno ma neb
Three oors like a canned troot, in the pursuit o fun.

Hamewirds: the North Sea glents like a tummlit halo,
Seelence an cauldrife clouds wauchtin abeen
The yowedendrift o Heiven, shot wi sun.


14. Futterat

A furled drainpipe,
I am liquid aff the leash,
a guff o wabbit hinney.
My een are twa cracked spunks,
my moo's a bane trap.

I dine on ferlies reeshlin ben the trees.
My credo is bluid, bluid, bluid,
a stounin Trinity.

I unsteek arteries like sluice yetts.
In my bed, the wid's necropolis,
my prey maun daunce the ultimate strip-tease.


15. Cat Calypso

On the green carpet,
the cat skails geans an wine
dauncin its hett calypso.

Cleuk-yark mowser,
yer deep-doon-thrapple purrs
are strummin my rig-bane.

Prodigal ane, I gie a pomegranate
tae yer Persephone natur.
Yer sixth sense keeks at me,
yer ither five are stane.

Yer drum-whump paws
play on my need tae connect
like a xylophone.
Cat, I could transmogrifee ye,
intae a zither, a Russian balalaika,
pit zing in yer soorpuss meows.


16. Strukken

Star-strukken, the keekin gless
Is etched in pentagrams
The strukken bell haunts the spire
A singin gibbet

A strukken oor in the wyme's
The new born's bleat

The strukken spunk
Is weirin its reid toorie

A strukken lochan clings
tae ilkiewave it meets
The strukken win whummles
the dry whins tae castanets


17.The Unnertakker's Utopia
Fu hospital
reamin wards
Aa the staff aff sick


18.Ted Hughes, the Cat

Ilkie cat in the barn
Regardless if male or female
Is caaed Ted Hughes

Wi a deefenin glower
ae contermaschious Yorkshire feline
poors hersel oot like booze
teemed ower the sofa...

Ted Hughes nummer ten
She smuchters and gurrs.
Her teeth are as clean as Zen
The Deil gae wi her!
A moody breet
that aabody wints tae tame
Gaun frae ane tae the ither
Fickle, shameless.

Truly Ted Hughes,
In ilkie thing plus name.


18. The Sestina Poem

They hae telt me tae write a sestina!
I wid raither drink rancid retsina!
Fornicate wi a goat
stap a yowe doon ma throat
or daunce wi a reid-neb hyena.


19.Sketches frae a Fremmit Airt

The colour o dreichness on the back o a postage stamp
Sna faain on bens in a kintra o the mind

A pit bull dug, the sun on its snoot like lard,
An auld aik table gnarled bi gollach an pen

A screiver's photie shares a reflectit tree
A drain pipe strainin watter inno the troch

The transmogrification o parritch ooto aits
A tattiebogle's heid that birls like a hoolet

Stoory brickwirk sclimming rungs o air
Reefs on a Pennine brae, its grey slates dreepin


20.Fower Signs o Samhuin

Conkers rowe like een that hae tint their sockets
The hurcheon coories inno its coat o stobs
The rotten yird cracks at the neep's foun
A blaikie's yalla tongue is steeped in dule


21.Samhuin

The jeelin yird cracks at the neep's side
Noo firelicht zips its reid hood up its face

The cauld canal has swallaed its ain tail
Beech trees are fickle murners, sune forget
Their leaves fan knowe taps chitter in snaadrift

Yird's thoosan keyholes turn tae steek life in.
The clocks rin widdershins, withoot, wi'in...

Haar sypes up frae the bleary knowe's blin side
Here, thristledoon meets rock like time's spindrift
In Heptonstall, weeds warssle tae re-face
Gravestanes wi ilkie tae-haud they can get.

The blackie's sang is gagged... a mummer's tale.
The skreichin hoolet spreids her killjoy tail
A daithly fan. Some aik tree is her inn
Tae raise the stakes... a race o beaks beget.

Wheen daffie bulbs lie featureless aside
The rouge dry elm leaf uses tae efface
Its corpse's fiteness, aince it's cut adrift
There is a time tae anchor, time tae drift

Each Sizzen's ritual shrivin maun entail
A lettin gyang, the better tae ootface
The cloor o strippin back tae hansel in
Win like a scythe that pairts the reeds ootside
Far fitpad tod hunts aa that she can get
Foo quickly tummlit aipple fruits forget
Their seedtime, bridlepath, their blossom drift

Winter's a hag wi peat-bree on her face
The deein wabs unraivel. Frosts deface
The bricht collage o leaves. They dinna get
An artist's retrospective, gaitherin in
Sooked wyme-back tae the warld's derk inside.

Forget the lowes o Autumn! I wid drift
Inno the side of Winter, lossin face
Inbye the fyauchie seggs.... A moose's tail
Vanishin in the storms o smirr an hail


22. The Ee o Ra

I'm a fish! A fish!
Hett stuff! I'll burn yer ee oot!
I'll dervish yer Catamarans!
I'll birl like a base-baa cheer-quine in Chicago!

Fowks o the Upper Warld,
my sichts are on ye.
I'll crack yer Niger egg.
Napoleon, I will skewer ye like kebab.


23. Brukken Shell

This shell has kent the sooch o satty tides,
the fite fury o storm in its inner lug.
It is Primavera, haudin her riven wyme
in merble hauns.

Deserts hae helter-skeltered ben its sides.
It hooses neither pearls nur affirmations.
It is an echo's widdendreme, a reefless labyrinth,
a shattered conch no monk-cry thunners through.
It tastes o semen sieved throwe coral fangs.

Auld moons hae traded pouer on this Rialto.
This Marie Antoinette o snaggit lace,
less than the wecht o a cup, has dined wi oceans
this nochtie whorl,
this eeless, heidless, channel,
this Sheila-na-gig that mithers seas an deeps


25. Wickerman

Kent a loon aince cut the een frae a fish
Gaed it back tae the sea, twa blin gills an a swish

Burn wickerman burn, turn the sky tae a rose
The savage sleeps lichter than ye micht suppose

Kent a quine aince cut the bairn fae her wame
Naebody wins in the love cheatin game

Burn wickerman burn, turn the sky tae a rose
The savage sleeps Iichter than ye micht suppose

Kent a chiel aince pued the wings frae a flee
Lauched as he watched it cowp ower tae dee

Burn wickerman burn, turn the sky tae a rose
The savage sleeps Iichter than ye micht suppose

Kent a war aince tuik the youth frae a lan
A hale generation, a storm in the san

Burn wickerman burn, turn the sky tae a rose
The savage sleeps lichter than ye micht suppose


26. King Canute Tune: Oh Soldier Soldier will you marry me?

Oh King Canute wis a Nordic galoot
Fa tried tae command the sea
He thocht his croon an his ermine goun
Wad boo tae the monarchy

The tide cam in wi the howlin win
An aabody cried, 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
An aabody cried 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
Ye invite calamity! '

Noo Bush an Blair wad hae ye think they care
That the polar ice will melt
As Tsunamis brakk like sticks on Asia's back
Warld peace fur ile is selt

The tide cam in wi the howlin win
An aabody cried, 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
An aabody cried 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
It's plain fit haun 's bin dealt!

There's acid rain, an Chernobyl's pain
There is BSE an Sars
Green forests faa tae the detriment o aa
Mids the stoor o holy wars

The tide cam in wi the howlin win
An aabody cried, 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
An aabody cried 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
Earth carina thole mair scars!

In a Bangkok street ilkie secunt sowel ye meet
Weirs a mask tae purifee
The wee sup air that is ciculatin there
Car emissions putrifee

The tide cam in wi the howlin win
An aabody cried, 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
An aabody cried 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
Fit price is democracy?

Oh the tide has turned wi pollution it is churned
We maun save oor beach or dee
Unlike Canute or there's very little doot
We'll hae nae posterity

The tide cam in wi the howlin win
All aabody cried, ~re ye feel as weel as blin
An aabody cried 'Are ye feel as weel as blin
It's plain fit the end will be! '


27.A Pairty fur Ane Tune: Bonnie George Campbell

Chasin the dragon ower mony ye see
Mansion an high-rise, suburbia tee
Laddies oot chorin an quines on the game
Aa tae buy gear fur a pairty o ane

Hard bi the cash pynt they beg on the street
'Gies some cheenge missus' tae aabody they meet
Ony auld story... the eynd's ay the same
Heich upon smack at a pairty fur ane

Far is thon paradise druggies gyang tae?
Fit is the entry price fate gars them pay?
Dealers fur profit sell pyson an shame
Tae a young Scottish junkie, at pairty fur ane

Chasin the dragon, ower many ye see
Mansion an high rise, suburbia tee
Suner or later they're ash in his flame
Daith hauds the door at the pairty fur ane


28. Setterday Nicht

Fergus stude in an airport luikin hashed
Atwixt an atween twa continents, striddlin the Yird
Strang an fite like a caunle warm at the core
A dram o fusky mellow at his thrapple

Connie watched show efter show on the flickerin screen
Deid tae the warld. Cauld flesh an starin een
Connor gaed tae the circus.
The biggest clown in the tent.

Dougal roared up the road on his motor bike
Eager tae lowse his hett quine frae her frock

On fifty thoosan hooses ahin the knowe
The rain poored doon a hale wikk's cauld libation
A glancin wheel played fit-baa wi a brock

Submitted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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