Fite Doo Black Crow (74 Scots Poems) Poem by sheena blackhall
Dwined till a dwaum yon moss-green kindly een,
His sang that raise as a shout
Fin his warld wis young, crined till a myowt
Late, fin his reel ran deen.
The barfit loon that bedd in the auld man’s skin
Wid lowp like a bawd, clean mad tae rin
Hyne back, swack fur a swippert morn
Fin soun an taste an sicht,
War green as brierin corn
An friens war flesh an bluid,
Nae thochts forlorn.
The airm aince braid’s a branch
Dweebled, a shakkin sheaf.
The haun that gentled ma bairnhood,
Drappit, a tummlit leaf.
I cudna kepp his step,
Tho the road he wauked grew roch
The burn maun rin its lane,
Till it reests it the loch.
Fowk saw a gutterin caunle,
Bauchled sheen an claes.
I saw a guidin licht,
Frae the bairntime o ma days
Garrin me ken the wirth, o beauty in brae an cloud.
I luiked on an auld deen man,
An I saw gowd.
The baler rummles the strae
Tirred, til a tousie oxterfu
Bricht bourichs on the brae.
Caff flees in gowden styew
As the bales dunt on the park
In the hash an fash tae be throw
Er the mochy glimmer o dark.
The hairsters yark
The strae, atap o the timmer cairt,
Swyte-weet, back-bared i the sun
Ah, sweet the time faas tee
Fin the hairst's near won
Teemed o crap an fowk
The plundered yird lies weet;
The rigs are glaury smush
That the rain wi’ts futterat's feet
Kirns til a sypin soss.
Widlan's a chittered goun,
Mist mells wi the moss.
Forefaither's bluid lies laired
Far the breem an the brae are paired;
Happen ma gangrel fit, ilk divot o dirt
Clings like a bairn
Tae the tail o'ts mither's skirt.
The yird o the muir wid swallaw a body hale
For men are caff, an the fairm is a muckle flail;
In the toun wi’ts tawdry trock
Aa's gain, aa's get. Wauk twa steps back,
Hairst-heirskip hauds me yet.
3. VIVA AIBERDEEN
Lovers cuddlin bi the sea
Yon wid melt a slider
Fit's yon paiddlin in ma tea?
Gyad. A muckle spider.
Neive wi posies o ice cream
Cones wi chocolate, tappit,
Wi a beam as braid's yon deem,
I wad keep it happit.
Strings o puddens neth the sun,
Streekit roon the bay,
Weirin dookers roon their bums
Ticht's a tourniquet.
Bowdie legs o grey grandames
Hairy Harrys, toastin hams
Greetin girners, dowped in prams;
Les vacances on Cote d'Azur?
Rarer sichts at hame
Rubislaw Den wi'oot its fur,
Lowpin ben the faem.
Haute cuisine? A halesome rowie
Yon's the best patisserie.
Haud awa frae soor salami;
Buckies, biled in Torry bree!
Arab fez? Pittodrie tammie.
Aiberdeen'll dae fur me
4. MUIR o DINNET
Hard bi the heath, the loch-fowk lie
In the raxxin reeds far peesies cry
An the Culblean braes that ran wi reid
Saw clash o arms, o the nameless deid
Sit douce and snod;
A brimmin bowl o hedder bree
In the lap o God.
The yalla's teetin oot o the whins
The wids are birrin wi birdie dins
Bummers bizz a hinneyed hum
Cryin 'Come lass, come.'
The burn is jinkin, bricht's a preen
Leerie-licht o a brukken mune
Waves are cuppit wi gowden shine
The win is shudderin birk an pine
An the muir-is mine.
The auctioneer held haimmer ower a bid;
Heistin his eyebroos heich, as if tae speir
Fit price a lifetime's hairst, ingaithered?
The blatterin win, rattled the hard-won gear.
Aince, thon braes stude deep in gowden stooks,
Reeshlin wi corn. Brambles wad entice
Birds frae their nests, bumbees frae shady neuks
A bairn's, and a futterat's paradise.
The rigs war kirned tae smush in the melee
The byre, selt doon tae pails, kerfuffled towe.
An antique dealer cocked a kennin ee-
The ashets wad be pairtit frae the knowe.
A roup's fur buyers. Kinsmen sudna bide.
Fit price a simmer's day, an autumn nicht?
Dowie, I turned ma fitstep frae its side,
Yet, cudna lowse the towes that held me ticht.
6.CARN-NA-CUIMHNE (Muster cairn of Clan Farquharson.)
Whaur sun's a blin an a blearie ee
A well o licht, in a gurly sea
An the Dee rins flat as a braid claymore
The hips an haws that bluidy the shore
Are hard as the studs o a clansman's shield
The briar stauns guard-she'll niver yield
The muster cairn, tae the furrowed lan
For ilkie stane is a fallen man.
The barbs o fence, like dragons' teeth
Ring fierce the cairn wi beards o fleece;
Niver will craven yowes wauk here
Through larick's grief, tae the warriors' bier
Bide bit a whyle, fur wi the mirk
Secret an sair as a foeman's dirk
Yon's niver the sough o win an rain
Bit the waesome greet o loss an pain
O faitherless bairns an unwed wives
An the fiery cross, that burned mens' lives
Carn-na-cuimhne-the stanes spik bluid
The name lives on- bit the men are deid
7.A STANE B' THE ALLT DARRARIE, SPITTAL 0 GLEN MUICK
Bonnie muirlan stane,
Egg nestled on the grun,
A tear-drap neth the air,
Rarer nor ony pearl,
Gin I cud unsteek ye,
Keek at yer core,
Whit ferlies wid be there?
Born o win an fire in the deid langsyne,
Dung frae the derk intimmers o this birlin warld,
Cweeled b' frichtsome cauld,
Ye've seen sic mervels- auld Hairsts o pathless pine,
Crofts, yalla corn-lands dwined
Doon til the bare peat. Ca'd nae man maister-
Laird o the brae's beat.
Mormaers o Mar
Were as a teuchit storm.
Ye’vemail agin the hail o ony spate;
Even Huntly, wi his tow-rag retinue.
Ye gaed yer ain gate,
Keepit yer ain estate, in the dowie dew.
Passed, like a sma simmer,
Drover, crofter, smuggler,
Sodjer, that stude the shak o war,
Blawn leaves, i' the win trimmer.
Bonnie muirlan stane,
Shard o mountain's bane,
Hid ye the tongue tae spik, the braith tae tell,
I'd listen, till the crack o Doom itsel
A silent sameness, happt wi caul,
The sna devours the lan wi nae devaul.
Maks mockerie o milestanes,
Soun faas thin.
I like the sna,
Nae tracks that bide
Ae shift o the win
An aa's creation-clean
As a braid tide.
9. FIR WID for Jessie Kesson.
I like tae lie deep doon
In a Scots fir wid. It disna sook, nor cling
It's a phalanx o sword, wi adequate room fur manoeuvre
In the resin kingdom, a fir is dragon-green
It is honed tae rescind
Corruption, a timmer sanctuary.
A fir is a Saint Sebastian. Scourged, it'll bleed in martyrdom,
Withooten a sab, or a sigh.
Manly as ony Lysander;
A column o Spartan virr
Sae unlike the flummery cloud pomander o birk, wi its wummin's wyes That shifts an pairts the skies
Whyles seen, whyles hid.
A trimmel o meevin grace
Is a Scots fir wid
Reid. Hips an haws. Hairt's bluid.
Blue. Forget-me-not. Rue.
Yalla. Coordy, gay. Breem spray.
Green. Meevin girse.
Black. Grievin, hearse.
Broon. Peat burn, whummlin doon.
Purple. Heather, thyme. Thon's mine.
11. THE YIRD AN THE MEEN
She stude, a mystic mirror,
A vauntie, siller queen
The barren mistress o the derk
The prood an preenin meen.
Alang the nicht, her moonbeams sped,
They skinklet at her wird
Bit aa her lustrous glamourie
Wis wastit on the yird.
Twa stranger-sisters, kept apairt,
By Fate's meridian
The lunar leddie niver rocks
The cradle o the lan.
The meen's a daithly galleon,
A cauld, celestial steen.
The yird may rule the derk aneth,
Niver the licht, abeen.
12. WINTER BURIAL, TULLICH
Wummin, licht, warmth. Aa are a birth token.
Dowie, the derksome hills. Mither Eird lies open,
Ugsome as a wound. The cycle o life is brukken.
Winter furls eldritch, aroon.
A kinsman's airm, steadies a booed back.
Branches, tap o the Dee,
Tummel an droon.
The on-ding gars us grue,
Like deer, flegged bi the cull
We coorie close, i' the smirr.
The river roars in ma lug;
Kent landscapes blur,
As mens' cauld hauns
Set doon the lanely kist.
I chitter, bit nae wi caul.
The Eird hoose, has ae door,
An that door, steekit.
Wechty wi grief,
Wi dule an flooers, theekit.
13. OF TRAVEL
Furreign destinations are fur fowk fa likes tae raik.
Tae me, they're bit the harrigals - the puddens o a haik.
Yet, set me doon b' Lochnagar, or twenty miles aroon
It's as though I'd tint a bawbee, syne I'd pickit up a poun
Like a bowfin collie tykie, waggin umpteen cheerie tails
Or an interceety speecial, turryumptin doon the rails
Gie's a sma soupcon o heather, gie's a coup de grace o pine
An the same auld magic hauds me, I'm a salmon, on the line
14. THE SWICK For Dr. & Mrs L.K.Dawson, Skene.
If there be ain fa canna see
The beauty o the North
Fa canna hear the soundin geese
That cry his fitsteps forth,
He maun be blin-an deef, forby,
A kiln o crackit clay.
There's nae a haa, be't biggit braw
Can match a Heilan brae!
Far ilkie burn is wingin weet
An ilkie win is fair
I fain wad be, bit haud ma seat,
A gyangin fit, nae mair.
The geese cry doon their muirlan spik
¬I ken that I maun bide
Bit oh, my thochts they race like rikk
Straucht fur a mountainside.
This fleshly shell is bit a swick
The hairt o me's awa
It's ower the Spittal o Glen Muick
The mountains claim it aa
15. BALLATER BAIRNHOOD
A pictur, bricht on the broo,
O cantie streets, in the hap o a caller glen.
Trig biggins, kirk, an green,
A birn fur shops, stappit wi Celtic braws
The warld steered throw, an ben.
Nichtly, a cracklin lowe
Bankit wi peat an dross;
Tossin, in touzelt bedclaes,
The win, heich in the Pass
Wad dirl in ma lug.
Aside the winnock-pane
A stag, sherp-antlered,
Glowered frae a frame.
A simmer storm... the gurly grue o thunner;
Lichtnin's yalla fork ootflang the Dee.
Ma cradle-soun, fur lullaby,
The soople, breengin wave.A wheep-lashed tree...
I'd rise, tae yoam o new-made bakin breid
An ilkie day an invite tae a ploy
Fir-widded hidey-holes, deep, dookin puils
Fit bairn wad speir a tawdry trashy toy
Wi sic a rowth o airts tae splore alang?
Sic bonnie roads, a gangrel geet cud gyang
The barrack gate's ajee. The pibroch skirls.
The guard's ahin the mace.
The pipes, the Games, the challenge o the race
We'd rin richt swippertly.
Aneth the rugged rocks o Lochnagar
Best-loued o clachans, coories Ballater.
16. THE LECHT
Wis there iver sic a road as thon?
The planner maun been fou
It dings yer pech intil yer pooch
Yer hairt intil yer mou
Divil 's Elbow? Divil's Oxter
It's a rhyme wi'oot a rule
It's a humfy-backit helter-skelter
Baa o raivelt wool.
Ae meenit yer an eagle
Wi an eyrie an a prayer
(For yer hingin b' yer taenails
Ower a cloud that isna there) .
The neist, yer wheekit forrit,
Yer the reek gaun up a lum
Syne a dervish on the dander
Duntin doon tae Kingdom Come.
A nippy, nesty, neukit road
A road o rise an drap
Wi a curse at ilkie corner
Frae the boddom till the tap
17. GANGREL'S SANG
At nicht fin the bairns are bedded doon
The hash o the day set by
I clim the stairs, as a wife maun dee
An lie, far a wife maun lie.
Twa sleepers, close as braith itsel
Rowed in the linen fine
His een shut, peacefu, calm an quate
The restless dark in mine.
Fain wad I slip till a braid, braid muir
Wi the wins that hae nae hame
Rin wi the stag, an the secret deer
Far the settin sun's a flame.
Nae mist sae thick, bit love can pierce't
An the cry o the geese rings free.
Hearth an hoose are his hale delicht
It's a far road beckons me.
Bound an wound b' a band o gowd
Twined- bit jined in nocht.
He raxxes oot tae touch a wife¬
I turn, tae haud a thocht.
18. EMBRO TOUN for Tom Hubbard
Salt on yer tail-she's a hotter in stew
O the kent, the fremmit, the auld, the new
The cassie-claik 0 the Embro hures
Rikkin an rerr as Turkish flooers
Fur coat frills on a bare bumbee,
Is the show a stoater? Pye an see:
Clinkin thochts are a chinkin glaiss
Wit is gowd, an pretension's braisse
Dour an dozent, or sherp's a gleg
Are they takkin the rise? Are they pullin yer leg?
In howf, or close, or a wee stairheid
Bards in the makkin, bards lang deid
Shak doon wirds like a watter spoot
Ideas fixes a cloot wrung oot
Haive yer havers heich on the pyre
Gin ye'll nae thole heat-bide ooto the fire
Embro toun-yer a blacksmith's haimmer
Scotia's anvil-strike ye limmer:
19. The Tattie
Ane twa three fin I wis wee
I eased tae ett a tattie
Noo I’m fower I’m oot the door
An aabodfy caas me fattie
20. HEILAN TOAST For the members of the Deeside Field Club
Some pledge a health wi usquebaugh
An ithers, wi the wine.
I'd mairry malt an watter
Tae drink tae thee, an thine.
An wi the fire, I'd wed the ice
Jine wi the dram, the Dee
For peat an pleisur perfect blend
In cauld sna bree
21.SEA-SANG For Dr J.D.Gomersall.... and Yorkshire good sense.
Burn, a mountain teems brak-neck,
Nerra mill-lade, breengin beck,
Ilk an ivry tribut'ry,
Sikks the sea's simplicity.
Inby oceans, aa is ane
Skaith an tribble's dished, an dane,
Doon the oyster 0 the deep
Aa the morns, coddlit, sleep.
Bairn-claes 0 nestlin-new
Mizzle-mornin brings the dew
Rain-lift, wingin mirrors sma,
Sycamore's a wattergaw
Vanity maun aye caress
Glamourie 0 keekin-glaiss
Lythe, the watter hauds a luik,
Powk the pictur-bladd the buik.
Lapis Lazuli,0 OM
Timeless as a metronome,
Yon's the ocean, hale, complete,
Far the jynin circles meet
22. Amo Amas (traditional, Migvie)
Amo amas I lued a lass
An she wis tall an slender
Amas amat she caad me flat
An dang me ower the fender
23. THE WIN For Brian & Mary Wright, Prony Farm, Glen Gairn.
The win that shaks the trees this nicht
Brings comfort in its lee, I ken it's roved by dark Ben A'n
And skimmed the waves 0 Dee.
It cairries hinny in its airm
o bog, an birk, an pine,
It is a balm upon the broo
A sprig 0 simmertime.
It's niver smored in hoose nor ha
Whaur aa is close an cribbed
Nor riven at a reeky waa
Whaur ilkie door is snubbed
Nor scoored the stoury staney braes
o fairm toun or howe
Whaur river is a drouthy ditch
An tree's a blichtit bough.
The win that shaks the tree this nicht
I claim it, fur ma ain
An wi the eagle an the lark
Wad choose it, fur a hame
24. VANISHING ABERDEEN
Fin I wis wee, I chased the sea
I catched it, syne it drookit me
It made me cannie, hardy, thrawn,
In short, an Aiberdonian
25. WATTER For Charles & Vera King.
Gin wirds war watter,
Oh the ploys I'd try
I'd dook me, dyeuk-delichtfu,
Drookit in puils o the things:
Guddle fur oors,
Doonin a fyew wee drams
0 the real Mackay. Oh ay, I wadna waste wan dreep:
I'm nae philosopher,
Catchin' wirds in tumblers.
I'm nae scientist, Giein them tags an numbers
Under a wee umbrella,
Watchin them faa tae the grun.
-I'm nae feart tae get weet.
I'm the fish in the linn.
26. LINN 0 QUOICH For Mr James Forbes, The Square, Tarland.
War I a stane at Linn 0 Quoich,
I’d rule like ony queen.
The velvet win wad mantle me,
The bonnie birk sae green,
An fur my Royal vanities,
The frost wad jewel my neck.
The simmer sun wad gowd my heid
The rain, my breist bedeck,
An I'd be Lady 0 the mist
An lord it ower the lave.
A curlew'd gie me minstrelsie,
Yon skimmer 0 the wave,
My bard would be the salmon,
He wad cheer me, near an far¬
An I wad be as vauntie, syne,
As ony Earl 0 Mar~
27. THE AIN THAT GOT AWA
Fin fishy tales wir bandied, he wis keepit in his neuk
For feint the fish he'd guddled, or inveiglet on his hook.
Bit fowk got a stammygaster, fin the lad began tae craw
For they'd niver heard the marra,0 the ain that got awa.
The tale 0 this monstrosity held aabody enthralled
Its mou wis that enormous twid hae swallowed Invercau1d,
An spikkin 0 its pectorals-he wisna gaun tae b1aw¬
They'd hae shei1ed the Lecht, nae bother, o a hunnerwecht o sna
Its scales wis hard an horny, like a muckle pleuin share.
Fin it 1oupit up, the Dee drap't doon, a fifty feet n' mair
An its een, twa flashin heid1ichts, wid hae petrifeed a craw
Man-there wisnae ony haudin it -the ain that got awa.
I creepit doon tae spy it, far it lay aneth the puil
It wadna filled a hanky, let alane a fishin reel
Bit I’ll keep his secret siccar tho his fabled fish is sma
For we’ve aa a tale tae tell aboot the ain that got awa
The puddock lowpit inno the puil
The watter wis thrang wi flees
He lay on his back an he snappit them up
A puddock, takkin his ease
I met Anither, b' the burnie's rim,
A bairn, wi violets dauncin in her een
An lauchter reamin there, sic joy
As airches like a wattergaw, ben quate puils
Puin the antrin buttercup, she wis, tae kepp the rain
Rowed in her lamb-new war1d,
Bairnie, an burnie, ain.
I met Anither, b' the burnie's rim,
A quine, fa wished the burnie fur hersel,
An wadna share the pleisur o its grace.
The burnie rowed its lane.
I met Anither, b' the burnie's rim,
A wummin, warld-ferfochan, castin her gley
Aften an aften, far the ripples blent
A perched oasis, sikkin nourishment.
The burnie catcht the pictur o aa three,
The muckle keep, the keeper an the key.
Three Russian dalls, bit fit wis cherished maist
I's cudna ken, the watter ran sae faist
Ilk pictur wis masel, a three-in-ain Triptych
0 passin time. The rain began tae dwine,
The pictur slipt frae sicht
An aa wis watter, Leafiness,
Delicht taks mony forms,
Yet dookin in watter's the Prince o the gowden keys.
The troot in me splurges gledsome,
Breengin up, in a Halloween 0 a b1eeze
o p1eisur, warm as a sun-bolt,
Piercin the bird-bricht, swippert,
Licht-fit, reesh1in trees.
Dookin in watter is ridin the win
on the wing 0 a whaup 0 will.
Waves are the gangre1 geese
Blawn doon frae the hyne-aff hill;
They lap me roon, like a host,
Greetin a frien lang-lost.
A droothy, dirt-dry deer,
I steep ma step in yon life-giein tide
Like a bar-fit cock-a-bendy,
In the burn far aa watters meet¬
That kirn 0 shimmer an weet
Poored frae the clouds,
Frae the teemin horn 0 plenty...
Raindraps glimmer like grain,
A sowin 0 watter's seed,
Makkin a sweet refrain
In ma salmon's bluid
Meetin the warld wi a fleerish, Ye are....
A monkish illumination
A hotterin, Hecate hiss
A blaik italic scroll. A rigmarole
As lang as a swippert Ganges,
A Tiber, Euphrates,
A san-slidderin, nerra Nile.
A belt 0 a banner
0 Birlin, burnished steel.
Unsheathed frae yon scabbard 0 scales,
Ye are a glimsk in the glaur, o guile.
A glimmer 0 gloamin glamourie.
Ye are a nimbus 0 serpent cherm.
Unfurlin, ye sweesh ben the hedder
A chieftain's gowden bracelet
Wyvin alang an airm..
Like a slithery vine
Like a heelstergowdie gird,
Like a pentit dauncin Salome
Laigh, i' the dreichsome yird.
Yer wee sherp tongue
Powks the air like a forkit twig
Oh wisp 0 siller rikk
Wi the speed 0 a whirligig,
The sun-b1eeze heich in yer een
Like a burnin lowe
Adder, Ye are an eldritch enchantress
Spig 0 a Celtic priestess
Queen 0 the warlock's knowe.
Tak ae wee leaf.
A piper 0 thin notes
In ony back-green symphony,
Its widlan warld, thir1ed tae the hum 0 1eevin.
Vibrancy 0 rain (Surely it wid reca)
Aince glimmered alang its stem.
Yet, in dreichsome, deid December
Fin the rime hings on the waa
Ryped 0 its April dream
It is onythin bit serene.
Blawn ower the snaw
It furls an furls awa
In visible antipathy.
Is twal month auld,
Is niver twal month young.
A tapsalteerie crab,
Wersh, catatonic, drab,
It murns in the weety cauld
Its mony sangs unsung, wi some abhorrence
Kennin the tune bi hairt;
Swicked 0 repeat performance.
Sunlicht kens nae bounds
Nur yet the win, the ticht grip
o haudin. Nae tetherin the towes 0 fancy
That can slip reality
As quick as simmer rain.
The yird may bind yon eident fingers,
Mount its graissy guardians Ower his troubled heid
That kent ower weel
A rowth 0 wirdly pain.
He pyed sair wages fur his skeeliness.
Charon, sma's yer gain.
Grun an the starny lift
Foraye are sundered.
Yird's bit the keeper
o the orra cloots 0 mortal man
Flesh-framed fur blicht.
Ower mony a Norlan nicht,
The stars reflect the glimmer, aybydan,
Particles, o yon gyte Dutchman's licht.
34.FOR JOSEPH FARQUHARSON, R.A. LAIRD OF FINZEAN
An whau gaed ye the power, man?
An whau gaed ye the airt?
Tae catch the lowe 0 gloamin?
Tae brak a body's hairt?
Whaur did ye learn, tae paint the win
The sab,0 Autumn nicht?
The eildrich mists 0 eventide
The gossamer 0 licht?
o skeelie, skeelie wis the han
That drew his native braes
Wha kent the sadness,0 the lan
On waesome, winter days...
An when he won awa, man
They surely saved a space
Aroon the table 0 the blessed
The Laird 0' Finzean's place:
35.AT THE GALLERY ABERDEEN ARTIST'S 52ND EXHIBITION
Raws 0 windaes, picturs.
Spotlichts umpteen interiors.
Etchins are perjink,
Action-stopper: Kamikazi colour
Hollers a hulloo.
There's a swatch 0 stane...
I ettle tae stroke it,
Thirled as ony lover
Played on the Nor' East lan'scape
Saft's a watergaw,
Pink's a blush
They strum me vibrant;
0 lush Silence, the mony tongues 0 image
Lick me a mockin gleam~
In the gallery, I staun, a greivin Orpheus
My sang unwinted,
Wee, an teem.
A wraith 0 grey
Amangst the leevin green.
Cam richt oot wi’t.
'Stop slidin ben the waa, '
He said. 'Cept he didna spik common
On his pye, ye widna, wid ye?
'Haud yer heid up.
Look the warld in the face
Like a fully-pensioned member
o the human race.'
Nae fears. Nae me.
Last time I looked, ken whit?
It gobbed, richt in ma ee.
'Jist let it aa oot, ' says he.
Naethin. Mair naethin,
Scots mist, missed.
This is terrible, thinks I
I'll mak somethin up.
(Us social inadequates bein helluva fly) .
Gie him the patter...
'An whit's your assessment, my dear,
The crux 0 the matter? '
'Yon tree oot the windae's
Timmer an sap
Gin it rots, ye cut it doon
Ye'll nae tap me
I'm nae a bluidy tree.'
'Oh, ah see, ' he says, 'Ah see '
Hodgin in his seat
Straichtenin the tramlines
On his intercity suit
Samplin soor grapes
An inferior brand o cairry-oot.
The sweet rot 0 the bramble buss,
Scratched entanglement 0 firs,
Places 0 half licht,
Are jungles 0 concealment.
Shaddaes, lang i the sun,
Cannibalised, amang a wab 0 jylers.
A wounded boar, riven wi spears
Will drag its dreepin spoor
Alang the daithly puddock steel
Far few daur gang.
I turn my spears, in their kent agonies
Watchin them bleed in secret;
Drag my Achilles heel,
The quasimodo hump, sae weel
Attached, I canna lay it doon,
An wid be tint wi'oot...
True Tammas, wi his honest tongue
Sisyphus, wi his stane,
The fykes an flecks
0 An ill load, culled,
In the pebble wame,
Oot-scalin 0 insanity.
Wi the cosie name,
Fingerens dreepit in rain, clay, dubs,
(Yon primal mellin 0 yird an watter)
It's jeelin, creatin a feelin
In mouldable dust, mair eloquent, vital, potent
Nor an air-bubble burst 0 wird..
Foo absurd is the teddy bear cosie
Bairnie's bosie o smoorichan wastit on fur
Tamed, stuffed, breet,
Hard as a dummy's teat
Close as a sticky burr
Fingerens strokit on silk
On a comfy bowster
Are warm as a mither's milk.
Fingerens neist tae skin
Can be jobby as whin
Can be sair as sin...
Tae bairns, a wirm is a kittle
A bummer's a sting.
They are pairt o ilk weet an windy Spring
Anely bairnies an lovers touch
It's fear, tae be here, an felt,
Tae hae, is tae haud.
The game 0 catchie's
The brierin 0 fleggin
Niver be catched an kepped
Niver be preened an nailed
On a cross 0 anither's settin.
Touch can be devastatin.
39. INSTINCT for James Michie, Director of Education
The umbilical cord's nae cut,
Bit, nuzzlin, guzzlin, sookin
Pure, warm, soothin pleisur
The new-born kens the richt road
Natural as breathin.
A grippit pencil fittit.
Seemed my fingers war
Fashioned fur it
A hale page,
Fite's a whisper
Eggin ye on.
Come on then,
Mak yer mark.
Set something doon~
Lang teem vase,
Thirsty fur watter.
Natural as breathin.
40. AIR RAID SHELTER
At the siren's wail,
At the first sign 0 trouble,
Ah dinnae rin for an air raid shelter.
Ah'm nae an ostrich,
Nae san here,
Could ye nae jist pictir an ostrich,
Wi' a dubby heid?
At the siren's wail,
At the first sign 0 trouble,
Ah dinnae rin for the pub,
Sweel doon beer,
Till the bottle's deid.
At the siren's wail,
At the first sign 0 trouble,
Ah'm an oddity
Ah write poetry.
Louis Aragon died on Christmas Eve,1982, aged 85. 'Buts an Bens' is a resetting in Scots of his poem, Les Chambres, (1969)
41.BUTS AN BENS For Dr. Asso &Jenny de Alwis, Brantford, Ontario
Aa the rooms 0 ma life
Wull hae thrappled me wi their waas.
Yonner, the mummlin's smored
The screichs brak aff.
Thonner I bed alane
Wi muckle teem strides
They keepit their auld ghaists
The rooms 0 indifference.
The rooms 0 grue, an the ane set richt trig, the better tae dee in't, cauldly,
Brocht pleisur, fey nichts.
There's rooms far bonnier than the stoonds 0 love,
There's rooms that YE'D think naethin by-ordnar,
There's rooms 0 seekin,
Rooms 0 blearie licht,
Rooms ready fur onythin bit gledness.
There's rooms for aye ma ain, wi ma bluid Spleutered.
Inby ilk room, a morn daws that a body
Flays hissel hale...
That he draps tull his knees in, priggin fur mercy
That he hubbers, an teems hissel in, like a glaiss
Tholin the damned-dreid sairs 0 the times
Slaw Dervish, the time is roon, that turns on him,
The quarterin 0 his weird
An the laich sough,0 du1e, afore the Oors, the halves
I niver ken gin it's gaun tae strik ma daith
Ilk rooms a judgement-coort
In whi1k I ken ma meisur, an the keekin-glaiss
Disna forgie me.
Aa rooms, at the hinner-en, fin I steeked ma een
Hae cast ower me a skaith 0 widden-dremes
Till I cudna say fit's waur,
Dwaumin, or 1eevin.
42. THE OPEN YETT for the members 0 the Scots Language Society
There's a yett that aye bides open,
There's a gean that's iver green,
There's a gledsome cup that's brimmin,
Tho aathin else be teem;
There's a far, far road that's windin
A stair frae a cellar dark
That leads till a bud-fu gairden
An a cloud, that kens nae mark.
Finiver I feel ferfochan,
Finiver the warld is blae,
Like a caunlelicht in the gloamin
Like the sun that taps the day,
I kick the stoor 0 trauchle, o wretchedness aside
An rin, a loose-lowsed sheltie,
Far the dwaums o bairnhood bide.
An there, a spleet-new craitur
Wi’ts innocent-open een
I find a bield an a benison
In the memries 0 yestreen.
Nae trauchle iver enters
Nae dreich, or waesome thocht
For yon's tha lan' 0 Paradise
Its yett, unyirdly-vrocht.
A brierin swatch 0 happiness,
A skirp 0 the gowden whin,
Tho aa aroon be naethingness
The grey grey nicht, abune.
43. Amo Amas (traditional)
Amo amas I lued a lass
An she wis tall an slender
Amas amat she caad me flat
An dang me ower the fender
44. DORIC for Robbie Shepherd
Saft, Suddron spik, that iles the converse
o a fremmit lan
Will ay be the rib 0 Cain
Tae the stinch, roch wirds
Quarried frae centuries, we ain.
Smeddum's a wird'll thole
Thin hairsts, the blatter 0 reivin sizzens.
Yon merks wir Nor East Scots¬
A tongue baith braid, an braw,
Nae a Joseph's coat, fur polyglots.
Ye speir, gin Doric's deid?
A cannie tod, I'll nae deny
It whyles ducks its heid
Rinnin tae grun
Afore the antrin dominie,
(A wid-be Edward, haimmer in haun,
Cockin his Judas-gun)
Ye may keep yer Suddron rose,
Kittle, an coy, an smert
The nettle I wid grip,
Is the Nor East Airt
45. SECUNT BIRTH
Weel-faired as a fresco bi Raphael, 'Madonna and Son'
A bonnielike basket, bucklet thegither,
A buckie, sookin the pap 0 the boun'less sea
Man-babe, an its mither.
She wis his meal an ale,
His bield, in onchancy widder
Sic weirds she wad wyve on her wab
A tapestry blythe fur her bairn,
0 vouchsafed pleisur~
The littlin becam a loon,
Sweir tae daunder his lane, shuggily aroon the foun
His powe wis a corbie's wing, happin an opal broo.
Warm wis the neb 0 him, noozlin,
Pleisunt his moo, nyum-nyumin,
Lichtsome his threep, curmurrin,
The smaaest fleg caad him.rinnin,
Up tae her cradlin bosie;
The guff 0 him, kent an cosie.
His warld grew braider
He turned on her, traitor,
The knap 0 his tyrant fit
Gart the waas 0 Jericho cowp
Her regency doon on its dowp.
He strode frae the nursery, a Titan
In a rive 0 thunner an storm,
His selfhood wis born.
Ilkie knell 0 rebellion,
Scrattit her matriarch hairt-
Wylin her princelin awa,
In that secunt birth,
They war finally,
Tears staun thistle-jobby, in his een.
Ae dunt wad shak them doon,
A mill-lade, brakken;
The dam-rush efter the drooth.
Dinna deny the chiel his feelins~
They're a hunner per cent proof~
Vauntie's a cockerel's croon,
His Nancy's a bitter brew
She sits him up, anely tae caa him doon
The morn, she'll gar him grue.
47. MA DEARIE
Gien her aathin. Best years 0 ma life.
Cooker, fridge, TV. Indoor lavvy.
Niver bashed her aince,
In siller or skint.
Fit mair cud a wummin wint?
Doon the boozer,
Ah'm Action man
Wi a ring-pull can.
She's at hame
Aa her lane
Hoose like a midden.
Is she affrontit?
Deil the grain~
Doon the boozer, I'm dynamite.
Come hame fleein
Heich as a kite
Luiks at me
Like a daud 0 shite.
48. DELINQUENT'S SANG
I am 0 Clootie's kin,
I am the rib 0 Cain.
I gaed tae ma mither fur breid,
Fur breid, an she gied me a stane.
I am the scud and the skelp,
The heid bang, the snot on the face.
I am the slash. I'm the whelp,
Shunted frae ilkie place.
I am the spit on the slab,
King 0 the strut. Haud ower~
I gaed tae ma Da fur a kiss,
A kiss, an he gied me a cloor.
Write me doon on the waa,
Doon as a snappin breet,
Doon as a hoodie craw,
Doon as a mushroom geet.
Crucifeed, I will bleed
Reid, as the hunger 0 hate.
Fa will unlock ma neive?
Polis, or shrink, or state?
See me, in gutter an gang,
Ootlinned in ilkie toon.
I am the scapegoat 0 aa,
Weirin the thorned croon.
I am yer brither. Haud me.
Haud me, or cut me doon.
Seed, brierin, growth.
Syne comes the hairst.
The corn afore the scythe's a bride,
A rowan blossom, in a man's lapel
Shakkin the bough, he pu's the flooer itsel.
Toasts teemed, an blessins said,
Kirk-coupled, spukken fur, an preed,
The warm stramash 0 life ripe in her bluid,
She lies, a stook fur shearin,
In the fite rig 0 the merriege bed.
A birlin ring, the sizzens furl aroon,
Anither lass pits on the weddin goun
Bride's bairn's a wife,
Neist wheek,0 the sweengin scythe.
Auld age an dalliance are ill begun.
Nae teuchit I, bit teuchsome coq au vin
Gin ye wid grip a tiger bi the tail
Mak unca sure it disna ett ye hale.
'Gae back, gae back' quo I, wi thrawness crooned.
The tide cam in, of coorse, an I wis drooned.
The stoon o a stob,
The tidal sook,
0 a Fingal's cave, agog.
Lichtnin, forkin a cloud,
Horn, beeriet in bog,
Pestle, thuddit in mortar,
A noose, thrapplin a log,
Bee, nuzzlin nectar,
An erle, plumpt in a puil.
Furlin a roller coaster,
Ivy, birlin aroon a tree,
A tichtenin spanner,
Grapes, i' the press,
A slubber 0 crowdie
A lowe, birsslin a coal,
A yird-howkin mowdie,
Fuskey, mellin wi cream.
A wummlin viper,
A pearl doon a well,
The sickle meen,
A balloon hallooin,
A lassoo lowpin,
A bell, pealin victory,
A nip 0 Napoleon brandy,
Fyles, it's a
A futterat lunterin,
A smiddy's haimmer,
Icicle, drapped in a
Hotterin, spleuterin bree
That havvers the knot
o senses taut, maist eidently.
Frae the warld, and its warsles,
Turn the peat
Mask the tea
Dicht the greet
Frae a bairnie's ee.
Kepp the kye
Shear the sheep
Sell an buy
Sow an reap
Hack the coal
Fae the pitheid waa.
Lay the strae
In the stirkie's staa
Preen an darn
Spin an weave
Fecht, or pray,
Clap, or grieve.
Twa guid friens
Twa servants, baith
Rock the cradle
Dig the grave.
Shelts pirouette their peintit timmer hooves
Like widden-dreams, in weel-accustomed grooves.
A circlin dwaum 0 skyrie speed they furl,
Wud deevilicks, weird dervishes, they birl,
Reid agin derk....the music in the air's
A faistenin pulse. Girse, in a kintra fair's,
A smushed, crushed, trodden guff, that dicht's
The fitsteps green. The roon, hairst, meen,
Is harness bricht. The win's a rearin meer,
Quine, creepin sleekit frae the nicht's minneer
In cotton dress, the willows warn ye back.
Yon track ye thochtless tak, is dangerfu.
Yer tinker lad's a fiery pimpernel.
Cannie~ Le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle~
53.THE SEASONS' SOIREE
Spring wis a wallfloor-she sat in a neuk,
Ower young fur the ithers tae heed
A skin like a peach-wi the antrin plook,
A book, naebody winted tae read.
Simmer wis plottin, fair pechin wi swat
Ower girthy wi growth tae be flirty,
It wisna the fashion fur fowk tae be fat
She'd the over-abundance 0 thirty.
Autumn wis comely-but quanter, an soor
As burnished, an brazen as braiss
Bit widn't'ye girn, an look crabbit an dour
Wi twa thirds 0 yer san' doon the glaiss?
Winter pyochered, an hoasted, an rubbit his sairs
Mair sense than the rest pit thegither
Bit fit wis the guid 0 an erudite heid
Amangst weemin that winted tae blether?
Thinkin soirees a crime, auld misanthropist time
Chappit twalve, wi the heel 0 his staff
At the witchery oor, in a fleerich 0 stoor
The fower Seasons tuik fleg, an ran aff~
54. BIRD'S EYE VIEW For the Buchan Heritage Society
Gin ye pit knowledge in a tree,
Ye'd fairly fire the thicket~
Fit shelter wad a willow gie,
Familiarised wi' cricket?
Wi' a degree in forestry,
The wid wad stump the wicket~
Fit rose wad lift its heid sae wee, forewarned, its neck ye'd thraw?
A stirkie wi' a B.Sc. wad up-tail and awa:
I wadna be a rose, a tree,
A stirkie in a park~
An yet, fyle they are sleepin..
Me? I'm warslin wi' the dark.
The spurgle biggs his hoosie
Wi' the meenit's threids an thrums
I'll pree yon bird's philosophy,
'The morn niver comes'.
55. AS ITHERS SEE US
Peat-broon, a wing-beat
Drappin alang avenues 0 air
Lichtsome as thistle-web
A pulse 0 dauchled pouer,
The eagle commandeers wir awed attention.
(His eyrie, sticks an banes
Ower-strewn wi chittered fur,
We winna mention.)
Gyte boomerang, on lichtly lowpin legs,
The hare, wi win-caimbed fur that ripples like the sea,
Dowps doon in ony lair
A scrapit bowl 0 girse
Wi nae pretension.
We like tae study ither beasts at play
Dae they watch us, wi similar intention?
The owl cud he bit spik, fit wid he say
Aboot wir customs, habits, an convention?
He'd likely note, a heistie up wi men
Comes nae bi fit ye dae, bit fa ye ken
An foo wi meisure wirth is mair agley
It isna fit ye are, it's fit ye hae~
56. THE CRICKET AN THE ANT for Phyllis Goodall, &the members of the Banffshire Field Club
I ken a chiel wha's pleisur's a straucht furrow,
A trig byre, a fat beast,
A weel-aired semmit on a Setterday nicht,
A guid-gyan dram.
Gie him a yowe tae clip, a bale tae bigg,
He's blythe's a gleg ower sharn.
I ken anither fa's pleisur's wirds.
A kirn 0 gollachs, wi a sting in ilkie tail.
He'll wide ben nettles efter a wee fite rose,
Syne press't on a preintit page
He'd rather peint a park nur ploo it.
He'd playa reel, afore he'd dae rale wirk
Sing ye a sang, raither nur tirr his sark.
The same auld rant. We need them baith, the cricket an the ant
This life, sae hard, wid be byordnar teuch
Wioot the cricket, cheepin i' the sheugh.
57.THE UNCA GUID
There wis a calvinistic cat
Sat snod, in sabbath braws
He dainty dined on spurgies
Bit coored awa frae craws.
A veritable paragon,
His clooks wis' lang an sure
At powkin fallen carrion,
The godless and impure.
Noo ither cats may hotch an heeze,
Wi' flechs amangst their fur,
Bit deil the moch tormentit him
It widna even daur.
The felines fairly jambooried
Fin wird broke oot he'd deid
For yon's the price he pyed, ye see
For bein unca guid.
Sit siccars hae a spik-a place fur aathin, aathin in its place.
A puir ootluik,0 sma gumption.
Nae fur me the tyke that coors frae its ain gurl.
Raither, the bikk that tackles the hurly burl
o life. Dreids nae dreid. Yowls fur the meen.
Winna be bocht b' a clap, or a bare been.
It's the challenge 0 the chase
Quickens the hound's bluid til a reid race.
Fa's niver supped the bitter brew,
Fa fears tae grip the blade
Is bit a sluggard in the dew,
A bonnie tune, unplayed.
59.GUID AN EVIL
Fower-feet patterin the futterat rins,
Lowpin ark, wi a sickle's sheen
Coorse quick killer, ahin the whins
Een half-gyte, an a hairt 0 steen.
Saft an creashie, the doo wings doon
Mild as milk, an as meek's a lamb
Quaker wife, in a modest goun
Mim's a maid, an as guid's a psalm
A rose grows reid, a cornflower blue,
A thrissle heid, by a lily, grew.
Guid an Evil's, in man's bluid
Fa faddoms the growth 0 Adam's seed?
Bird 0 Paradise,
Spirk 0 Original sin,
A rib 0 the yird
Rowed up in a cutty claith,
A wanton, a limmer,
The hurly-gush 0 the river's
Nae fur ye
Strae-dallie, a peach, a leech,
Ye're the stank 0 a gairden puil~
Quine, ye're a chaip bawbee
A vessel, a vassal haudin the Wine
0 yer Lord's creation.
Spunk, that kinnelt temptation
Ye war framed fur the fire,
Fur the Fa'
Frae the verra first.
Ye an the serpent¬
Scapegoats. Baith accurst.
Weird as a warlock's curse, the nicht
Maister, may I gyang hame?
Ah, bit the reeds they grip me ticht.
Cauld is the watter's wame~
It's I wad keep a lover's tryst
Far mist an lochan mell
I pledge ye, bi the grace 0 Christ
I'll nae tell far we dwell.
My een he kissed sae wantonly,
Are abrim wi the lochan's glaur.
My veins rin wi the puddock bree,
Sae bide, I dinna daur.
Fur sud he see his ain true love
Efter the first cock craw,
Oh, bi the Beltane 0 the year
His hairt wad brak in twa.
An sud he see his ain true love
Efter the cock craws neist,
T'wid be a dagger in his saul,
An aidder, in his breist.
An sud he see his ain true love
Efter the cock craws thrice,
He maun foresweir forivermair
The bliss 0 Paradise~
62. NICHT DRIVIN
The hierarchy 0 metal, far newest is best,
A grandiose Gran -Prix stooshie o winner-taks-aa,
Has ayewis, a deid-en Honda,
A black Avenger. A Jaguar purrs at a Lotus Elite
Bummin, replete wi the heidy
Adrenalin bizz 0 success.
A continent-lowpin Sierra (Knight 0 the motor-chess)
Proodly declares, 'I traivel'
The warld is a birrin causey
Aggressively, tyres strikk graivel.
At noon, each snod Saloon
Is stounin wi pouer. The law 0 the road is a jungle law,
Meeve ower, meeve ower.
Sae I'd far leifer drive at nicht,
Fin fowks' status-symbols 0 cars
Are happit an smored bi dark.
Are clipt 0 their ego-particular.
The hoolet's chime's,
Reductive, tae things vehicular~
Fossils 0 muck1e beasts
That gart trees styter,
That walked the warld
In a sypin swee1 0 plyter,
Their scrauchin, like their girth, Gargantuan,
Lie obsolete, in the ribs
o a 1ang-1ummed, yirdy mine.
Boxed in by glaur
The boddom 0 a pit...
I'd nae devau1 doon there
Whar dane men pyocher
Faither an son wirk-weariet
Hyne frae the halesome air,
Alive, bit beeriet. Day1icht's a shift awa,
A chink in the laft.
Doon, in the gunnels 0 the dark's
The midnicht foun 0 a shaft.
Fa'd sic tae howk
In the grave-yaird fug 0 a hole?
Nae me, by God, nae me.
A coorse thing, coal.
64. LUE THY NEIBOUR (Love Thy Neighbour, to Jean Rousselot, by Max Jacob…here reset in Scots)
Hae ye seen the taed, crossin the street?
He's a wee mannikie, wee-er nur a dall.
He's hunkerin, grovellin. He's shamed, ye say?
Na. It's rheumatics. Ae leg's trailin. He rugs it forrit.
Far's he gaun like yon? He's cam ooto the drain, puir gowk.
Naebody heeded me, in the street.
Noo, the bairns nyatter at ma yalla star.
Lucky taed~ Ye hinna a yalla star.
65. THE HOAST
A kittlie hoast can be a sair dement,
As if ye'd chokkit on a kirn 0 thistles.
The win gaes rochlin roon aboot yer chest
For a the warld like a kist 0 whussles.
Ah, this damnt climate can be coorse indeed,
Malagaroosin ony ceevil body.
Within this girt, grey sklyter 0 a NorIan toun
Fowk tak the auld remeid
Haud on the toddy.
66. POSTMAN'S KNOCK
Here comes Hermes. The rain's stottin aff his hat.
His wings are pooched, or happit neth his breeks.
A herald wi a hoast. Nae mair gallavantin ben the clouds.
The van's the thing fur post.
A dog's denner, postie's dowp. Ae gurr'll gar him lowp,
Heicher nur ony tree.
Is yon the electricity accoont?
Tak ae bite oot fur me~
Chap the tatties, bree the neeps,
Gie the broth a steer,
Dicht the bairnie's faces,
Christmas denner's here~
Clootie dumplin in the pan,
Hotterin up an doon,
Fairy lichts gyang 'Plunk' again~
Haun the tangies roon.
Birsled bubbly jock fur wiks
Halflins scalin beer
Balloons that winna bide up
An sotter on the fleer~
Faither squar-eed watchin sport,
Littlins wint cartoons.
They've riven oot the aerial.
Fa inventit loons?
Still, it's anely aince a year,
Fit's that, I hear ye say?
Clear the table 0 mineer
Roll on Hogmanay? ?
A hoose is a byre, gin the mistress be roch
Wi mainners an habits tae scunner a tink,
Far etiquette's wintin-a table's a troch
Bit nae wi Jean Foubister-she wis perjink.
She'd the cream 0 fowks' complements-shoddy genteel
An invisible darn, wi a thrift in her threid.
A sma boddom drawer, bit a wye wi a chiel
That gart him think, mebbe she'd butter his breid.
She niver wid mairry: Ower mean tae be mated
(A wealthy aunt's legacy, sune tae be read)
Bit oh the begeck, as in cauld print 'twis stated
'Tae Jeannie, ma favourite, the auld double bed'.
Anely Francie left single: 0 suitors, the midden
Bit Jean didna dauchle-she wed him wi haste
Wist the gift-or the man set her hairt on a weddin?
She winna twa face ye...she cudna thole waste.
69. LANG-LEGGED TAM
A hudderie~heidit, tattie-bogle tyke
Wis lang-legged, whusslin Tam,
The bik aye bowfin at his back,
Herdin his black-faced yowes
An the muckle ram.
Drivin his hung-tee tractor
(He caa'd it a hotterin hoor)
Thirled tae the lan';
His jaicket, wallopin wide, aye knipin on
Wi a saft, sappy grin.
Through the rigs 0 the dark, ye wad hear it,
His whusslin, whusslin
Nae thocht in his noddle that didna cry 'baa',
His pucklie yowes, an his bik
Wis the sum 0 it aa.
Coorse grun he fairmed,
A byword for skyllich an heather,
His ramshackle toon
Bore the brunt, an the dunt 0 the weather,
Faar only the muir-girse wid thrive,
The ploo neither rug nor rive,
The rodden mair deid than alive.
His steadin half-beeried in breem,
Aye ahin wi his work,
He wad lowse by the licht 0 the meen.
'Twis the bik that bowfed the news¬
A lang skirl that jeeled i the win
Its maister, forsakin his flock,
Tied the tow neth his chin,
Syne, lang-legged, jug-luggit Tam,
Threw ower his staff, and his stock,
Wi a whussle, a spit, and a damn,
Takkin leave 0 them aa, like a lamb.
70. LAIK-WAIK LAMENT for my father.
A worn, ferfochan eagle,
Dinged, ooto the lift,
His neive, a fierce clook, clawin,
Hungersome, fur the derk
Moo, steek't, een, snibbit. Cauld's
A midnicht tarn,
Strang, in contempt fur weakness,
Ma faither-fooshunless, an sterk.
The dwine,0 smeddum,0 virr,
Wis a wird he hated sair. Sae, like an eagle,
Sudden, he soared nae mair.
His skin is fite's a meen
His nails, blaiken in daith.
Tae honour the honoured deid
Nae rite wull I leave undane~
Mensefu, I drap the yird,
On ma faither's heid, ilk divot, a stang 0' skaith~
Nae kinsman daur dae less
Sud there be sic an ane
May there be nane tae bless
His unmurned passin
Lang may his banes lie bare
In the winter's mawe,
In the cauld an the keenin air.
Sae, mool, receive thy dust~
Nae needs fur dule, ower a life baith lang, an just.
Yet fa can turn frae the grave, wi'oot a scar?
The warmth,0 a faither's Love,
Lies happ't in glaur.
71. FOR GEORGE BRUCE
Gurly the wave, that's gray wi the grue 0 storm,
Eastlin the win, frae the mirlygo, blae Nor' Sea,
O'erswack the faem, Fauvist in virr, in form
Rattlin fou wi the touzlet ocean's bree
Gleg is the man, fa's easel is sic an airt.
Bruce satts the tail 0 prood fantoosherie~
A wirdy Rembrandt, imagin plooks an aa
Upcasts the 'Nicht-Watch’ fowk, yon hale Clamjamphrey,
As a Brocher nails a craw
Ever the foe,0 feels, an their flim-flammery.
72. JEAN; BUCHAN WARD, CORNHILL
A doo, plunked in a dooket, Jean cud be
Ony young mither, hashin the bairns tae schule
Bletherin on-gauns ower a cup 0 tea
Aboot her Joe or Harry, Dauvit, Frank or Sam,
Until her bonnie mou (framed perfectly fur spik)
Lat oot the rikk 0 Babel, styte 0 Bedlam.
I wulled her on a leper colony,
Haudit in Hades; hickled aff tae Mars.
Takkin the air, wi Bonaparte on Elba.
Fear,0 the clean-gyte quine, bred cruelty.
The ghaisties 0 her thochts hung on a barren loom
Like eildritch tentacles…like tenants dispossessed,
Evicted frae a room; naewye fur them tae flit.
A guillotine hid drapped inbye her heid
Aroon her, dottled deems began tae knit.
Her wandrin wirds led tae a mirey bog
Far nane daur follow. Nane cud enter it.
She gript some sounless dreid agin her breist,
A bladdit bairn, it sooklit on her bluid.
Her een gaed wide wi grue,
Twa moosies, fleggit bi a craw's baloo.
Some inner sunlicht shone,
Syne Jean grew mirky....glided, like a swan.
I cudna haud her glower,
Feart, that her widden-dreams, micht skail ootower
Micht mount their meers, an leave her castle haa
Herry ma ain mind-keep, And gar it faa.
Hinney is hedder, bizz is bee
Pollen an bummer mell thegither
A reeshlin win's a trimmlin tree
Nae boundaries-ane wads wi tither.
A burn's a tummlit cloud 0 weet
A Ben is bit a heistit drap,
A lover's lauch's, a bairn's greet,
A haimmered pain, is pleisur's chap.
Singer is sang, an dauncer, daunce
United, indivisible. The timmer is the lowe's advaunce
Abstract becam accessible.
Yuletide an simmer, age an youth
In daith is birth, in laich is heicht
Wing is in win, in lee is truth,
Derk's bit the kimmer 0 the licht.
Watter is troot, an tiger, yowe
Inbye is ootbye, up is doon,
Raxxin or dwinin reet is bough
As north is sooth, as keckle's froon
The muckle ocean feeds the lan
Nae void, nae void, a growthy grain
Girds yird an lift, a linkit haun
Drooth 0' yestreen's, the morn's rain.
Far be the boundaries in yon?
Naewye, fur Natur hates a waa~
Dyew-daigglit meendraps straik the dawn
An buttercups frae starlichts faa.
Man biggs a hoose wioot a door,
Doom 0 a tomb that wints a key,
Howkin the mools, himsel tae smore
Maks him a jyle, an caas it 'Me'.
Yon puny sel', erects wi care
Defensive dykes tae kepp it in
Merkin a boundarie,0 air
Coorin ahin a shell 0 skin
An caas this fortress 'I' an 'mine'.
Skulkin aneth a tent 0 dreid,
A shady turtle, asinine,
Fa winners far the sunlicht gaed~
74. HAUD GAUN
Nae eagle braks a win in cosmic motion,
Nae Ben betacks a gangrel toosht 0 strae.
Nae fisherlad hauls in the wishless ocean,
Nae tod hunts doon the dwinin 0 the day.
Nae tinchel ties a sunbeam til a neuk,
Nae chappit nail steeks widder til a mast.
Progress-the turnin pages 0 a buik
Nae haun restrains-the new beeries the past.
Snaw haps the lan asleep. Spring yokes tae grow,
Syne yestreen's yird is blossom on the bough,
The morn's stag is beddit in the fawn
A raxxin randy, lowpin intil dawn.
Wechty, bune aa, the trauchled traiveller's load
Far memory's forgainst the forrit road.
An open biggin needna be afeard
Far grief's the door-sneck, bitter is the weird~
Be as the showdin snawdrap i the dyew
The steers 0 love, stramash 0 dule, sweesh throw
Fur stobs that seek tae scart as on the wye
Teir sairest, fin ticht-gript. Wir frailty
Vrochts us ticht shackles wippit roon the shank
An slaws wir steps wi dreich forebodins rank.
Live in the Noo, the Present's aybydan.
Thrawn, Set yer fit upon the path. Haud gaun~
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