The Humpty Dumpty Man (36 Scots Poems) - Poem by Sheena Blackhall
At a gaitherin o the glitterati,
Efter the raw salmon wis communin
Wi a daud o mutton, A heeze o peas
An a purple pudden,
A fooshty orral hytered tae his feet
An reesed oot standard English ower Scots.
'It's so refreshing.' sez he
'To hear a language everyone understands'.
Rinnin up the flag fur Reductionism,
Aabody reduced tae a twa three nasal whines.
On the road hame,
Banquo's bogle jyned me on the bus.
'Egg heids like thon, ' quo the ghaist in ma lug
'Think spikkin Scots makks ye a tartan numpty.'
Bit I said, 'Na, a shitehoose
Is the same in ony leid.
Fit maitters are the hams inbye yer heid
Scots is a waa that isnae gaun tae faa
I'd raither be a steen, than Humpty Dumpty'.
2.Leopard an Lion
Leopard an Lion gurred ower a bane:
City or kintra, fa's greater claim
On the fowk o this lan. Hame, or Embro sae braw?
Leopard an Lion... it's cauld in the snaw
O Scotlan, far pickins are lean-like an bare.
Leopard an Lion maun learn tae share.
I bide awa fae bampots. Heid bangers nip ma heid.
Haud the blanket ower the parrot's cage has aywise bin ma creed.
Causin rows in empty hooses his niver bin ma style...
Raither Minnie Moose an Bambi, than Harry Crocodile.
I'm a pass-a-fist bi natur, bit dinna ding ma bell..
Fur gin ye pit ma birse up...ye'll be in a villanelle.
A neep isnae culture-specific. Tatties are fand
Fae Spain tae Bogendreip.
It's nae foo ye parlez-vous that draps ye in the merde,
It's lack o thocht ahin the spukken wird.
Aipples gie me the pip, an grapes turn black.
I'd raither be an ingin, culturally spikkin,
The spitfire o the veg, it ay cams roarin back.
Blin Robin wis a fiddler, he played his tunes sae weel,
They skipped doon tae the herbour, tae gie the waves a reel.
Syne, wi the Nor East breezes, his melodies tuik wing...
Their rhythm's in the ocean, thon tidal beat can bring
A lichtness tae the gloamin, a thrill ye'll nae forget,
Blin Robin's deid an beeriet bit his music's playin yet!
Daddylanglegs like a crane, stots agin the windae pane,
On his stilts he styters ben, wanderin willies in the fen,
Like a muckle lang giraffe ower mony legs bi hauf!
Far dae plooks an measles gyang fin they lowp aff yer face?
They hide thirsels in dumplins, the cake an pudden race.
Flee cemetaries are different, fin ye chaw a bap that's nice,
Think o the Angel bluebottles, that bizz in paradise.
8.Ongauns at Auchensheen
Twa mobile phones an a piper's drones sat doon tae hae a blether,
Wi a singin kettle fae Auchensheen on the state o Scotlan's weather.
A hoodie craa drooned oot them aa, their skreichin an their textin,
Wi a deefenin caa fae his orra mawe, which wis maist byordnar vexin!
Doon at the foon o oor fite bath, dowpit on echt black legs,
A wyver sits wi a smirk on its mou, wytin tae gie fowk flegs.
Turn on the tap. Sweel him awa, belly oxter an lug!
Ae black wyver on echt black legs vanishin doon the plug.
Fa's that stottin ower the sna?
Robin Reidbreist, roon an sma,
Wi a fire upon his sark
tae licht his hoodie in the dark.
11.Tryst wi a Hedgehog
Dauchle awhile an gie's yer crack.
Michty, siccan a jobby back!
Preens fur a sark like a besom's bristles,
yer as stobby as dykeside thrissles.
Fin danger threatens, yer heid's in yer dowp.
Heestergowdie, ower ye cowp.
12.My Wee Harmonica
My wee harmonica flashes its gap-toothed smile
Weirin its thin livery. It tastes o wid an tin
Thon pigeonholes far notes flee oot an in.
13. Een Twa Three a Leerie
Een twa three a leerie,
Bingo keeps Ma Peerie cheerie
Specially fin fuskers beerie
cream aff aa the gravy.
Een twa three a leerie, dole cheat mannie wi a query
Fan did she see Mr Peerie? Hear he's jyned the Navy!
14.The Rain in Toon
The rain in toon cams teemin doon,
It weets wir hats an heids.
A richt doonpish is gran fur fish,
Bit fowk hae ither needs.
Thor, silkie, kelpie, keep yer bree
Fur poorin ower the flooers,
They've greater need o't. Gie's the sun
Tae wyle the Simmer oors.
Hauf licht. Aa's blae
Mochie Ben. Misty brae
Weety smirr. Fyaachie day.
16. Fire (i)
Electric's fine fur heatin haas
Gie me real fire...it his baas.
I'm oot. She thocht she caged me,
that the stove wis aff at the waa...
Bit I lowped fae the cooker, a flame sae wee,
I'm reid an I'm hett an I'm rinnin free,
I've brunt the mat that lay in the haa,
I've brunt the picturs...hear them faa,
I've brunt the bed an the cot sae sma,
Birssle an hiss I've brunt them aa!
The wummin thocht she'd caged me...
I'm oot an rinnin free.
The sofa's blaik an rikkin,
As I daunce fae cheer tae fleer.
I sterted aff as a spirk o flame,
Sae wee that naebody spakk ma name.
Noo Fire, they skirl an Fire they skreich,
As I lick the reef wi ma dragon's braith.
The hoose is aisse an kinnlin,
An I am the maister here!
Wolf-fusslin, quine, is nae a slur,
Ower seen men winna even gurr.
Takk aa the fussles ye can muster,
An auld wife winna raise a fusker.
A wasps' nest, tapsalteerie in the win,
Is teem o stingers. Pyoke o paper pooches
Sae delicate, the ghaistly gollach chaumers!
Smachrie o fur an wippit tooshts o strae,
A nest that held a wheeplin blackie's breist
Is showdin in the boughs, a wicker coracle.
Howked clean's a neep at eildritch Halloween,
A hurcheon's prods. Its tenant's in the mools.
The siller birk sproots umpteen elfin mowsers,
Green halflin bum-fluff hingin fae its chooks.
Taedsteels blicht the sides o timmer trunks
Far twa birks blythely sweyed sax year thegither,
An aixe replaced their reeshlin leaves wi silence.
Twa jewel boxes ryped an stown awa.
15.Advice tae a Hyterer
The leerip o a skelpin bough, the lapper o the loch,
The wallop o a cuddy's tail, drooth-slokin fae a troch,
Hillwauker...tie yer pynts richt weel, muir roadies can be roch.
16.Draiglin Skirts Gaun Ben the Muir
Draiglin skirts gaun ben the muir,
Treelipin hem, bi the weety linn,
Drawn bi the skelp o the drappin wave,
Breengin brakk-neck, ramstam din
Inno the foun o a peaty weir.
Heels that dig in the glaur, sae sweir,
Draiglin skirts gaun ben the muir
Fa dae ye gyang tae tryst wi here?
17.A Hint o Rain, Keith
Nests o shiny raindraps, are clouds baith grey an roon,
Wytin ower the toon o Keith tae shakk their cargo doon.
Nests o shiny raindraps, leaky as a seive,
Wytin fur a thunnerstorm tae cam an shakk its neive.
Twa Geisha sleeves, jyned wi a pitmirk preen,
The wippit furlieorum o her tongue
Is a lasso fur catchin thrums o gowd.
The heich tree's boughs are lichtnin stangs that forkit wins are knappin,
As caul an snell the gurly clouds, wi storm the Bens are happin.
The reets are anchored in the grun, far mowdies howk the yird.
The bog an fen, fower cheenges ken, rowed in the Sizzens gird.
Fowk steer like wasps roon hinneypot, here, in the simmer weather.
They cooer awa in the Deid Thraa, fin Winter wauks Balquidder.
Fin Autumn flichters ben the streets, her plumage will be reid.
She willnae stop fur car nor man. She willnae prigg fur breid.
She'll nest in sheuch, in stank, in drain. She winna beg nor busk,
Fur Autumn in her wizzent cleuk hauds seeds in ilkie husk
That keep the infant tree an flooer safe coddlit till the Spring...
Fin Autumn flichers ben the streets, new life's aneth her wing.
Caunles kinnle kin-rikk roon the shrine
A quine's heid boos like a snaadrap
On the fite stakk o her neck
Cross-leggit, barfit, in the shrine-room
Quaet breathin, gowden bliss in bowls
Liftin the lid on day, bubbles o thocht float aff
Like tooshts o mist.
I hae sidestepped aa connection wi the warld,
The warld that gars me tichten like a neive,
Like a cut flooer in a cleaned glaiss
Inbye, the lotus petals stert tae open,
Inbye the tarn sattles, peace grows clear.
22.Quine wi Guitar
The curves o the guitar are smeeth,
Gracefu its thrapple, sweet its string.
It's willin fowk tae touch its sides,
The slichtest stroke will garr it sing.
Wi flooers in her tummelt hair,
Its mistress stauns, hauns on her hips.
Her derk een dinna say fit pit
The lichtsome smile upon her lips.
Her flooers will dwine, her chikks turn pale,
The quines admirers will forget her.
The broon guitar, tho plain o face,
Will age richt weel, its tunes growe better.
23.Gin Wishes war Shelties
Gin wishes war shelties, beggars wad ride.
Gin wishes war seas, I wad leave wi the tide.
Gin wishes war tears that drapt saft as the rain,
I'd use them tae wash awa as the warlds' pain.
Grippin anther's haun, is nae great shakks.
Is merely pumpin win.
Hoochmagandie's a cocktail mix
0 luv-juice. A quick fix.
Bit thocht, dear bocht, that bares the sowel itsel
Yon's intimate fin harns thegither mell
Cerebral bree, sharin the same shell.
25.The Scots Receptionist's Wish
I wish I wish
fae foun tae croun
The Sun-Bed God
could bake me broon
26.Across the Braid Atlantic: tune: Corachree
Across the braid Atlantic, there's siller an there's gear,
Across the braid Atlantic, there's industry an steer,
Across the braid Atlantic, there lies a steeny foun,
The stoory lair o grief an care far the twin touers cam doon.
The quine at the computer, the porter in the haa,
The skiffie booin ower her cloot, heid bummers heich an braa,
The lover wi the diamond ring he'd niver live tae gie
Aa wheeched awa in thon firebaa fur ilkie lan tae see.
The chat room an the internet far fortunes they are won,
Held oot nae sanctuary fin the towers struck the grun,
As faimlies watched aa hopes war dashed fin fowk fell throwe the air,
Like files deleted fae a screen they wadna see nae mair.
Across the braid Atlantic the pouers that shakk the warld,
Tae commerce an tae indusry, tae progress they are thirled,
Fit price is profit, fame an gain, fin Sorra weirs the croon?
Fur trust wis tint, wi fire blinnt, fin thon twa towers cam doon.
Hate crosses ilkie boundary it disna weir a face,
It disnae see a citizen, it anely sees a race.
It disnae coont the penalty o fit its minions dae,
An noo it stalks the thoroughfares far hawk an eagle flee.
This warld o yird an ocean, it birls like a baa.
Its big eneuch fur continents, bit whyles its unca sma.
Fin lions roar fae desert tents can we ignore the soun?
Or wish awa fit brocht thon faa that shook the mapamoun?
Arrivin is a steen drapped in a puil
The ripples brakk in, nae oot
28.Far the Heather Briers
The bawd gaes breengin ower the park as cloudy August clears,
An syne the Dee sets claim on me; it's far the heather briers.
The roddens boo, wi berries fu, each fir the emerald weirs,
The ernes glide far rainbows bide hyne far the heather briers.
Spring may be brawe fin breezes blaw, the wid wi blossom steers,
The hairst is best wi ripeness blest, it's fin the heather briers.
The barley broon is bendin doon, the grain it shines like tears.
The hinney bee wauchts ower the lea, roon far the heather briers.
I've wauked the stran o furreign lan, ower fremmit paths an muirs,
Gie me the stag an steeny crag, up far the heather briers.
As Time wins roon tae cut me doon, wi'ts deidly prunin shears,
I winna lie neth coastal sky, bit far the heather briers!
I am a mythical Scot,
I niver read Kant or Jung.
I'm hung like a haggis aneth my kilt,
which I ayewis weir wi a West Coast lilt
The laird o the ludicrous up tae the hilt,
beer belly wi hauf a lung.
I am a mythical Scot, a Disneyland-Scott amalgam,
I swallae ma parritch wi fusky, as I stick on a Corrie's album.
I am a mythical Scot, sae mind yer fuckin langwitch!
Wi smack in ma stream o consciousness,
I'll gie ye a knuckle sandwitch!
I am a mythical Scot, a Jekyll an Hyde persona.
I'm neither here nur there. I'm Charm, wi a Carcinoma!
30.Rev. John Skinner (1721-1807) : tune: The Flower o the Quern
Fae Balfour's Braes tae the Howe o Echt the Skinner faimly cam,
Tae makk their wye on a dominie's pye at the tail o the Barmekin.
At thirteen years, the auldest son pit on the scarlet goun,
In Marischal's steer, tae gaither lear as a Bayjan in the toun.
Fin he quit thon waas tae Kemnay's haas he set aff tae earn his breid,
Syne at Monymusk, he'd tae rise an busk fin Sir Archie Grant decreed
That he maun dine an sup gweed wine wi the laird an his fine ladye,
An a great strathspey wis born thon day aboot fowk fall ne'er agree.
Tae the icy flowes o the Shetlan voes he sailed tae Scalloway,
There his sweethairt won, far a Viking sun shines ower the skerries grey.
In Meldrum toun he set him doun, wi faith an a Christian zeal,
Tae read the wird o the Risen Lord wi peats an a pucklie meal.
Syne he fand a reest as a pairish preist, in the leylans o Langside,
An the Bethle'm star, throw skaiths o war, blessed the Reverent an his bride.
Fin his chapel brunt, defeat he scornt tae preach bi a tree ootbye,
An the verses flew fae his pen sae true, they're as fresh as the buds in Mey.
Wi bairns an sang his Name wis thrang, wi Scots an the Latin wird,
Till wi wecht o years an a rowth o tears they'd tae kist him in the yird.
Bit we canna tyne, fur we'll aywis myne, the yowe wi the crookit horn,
An the weel-lued chiel, wi the hairt sae leal, the airt far the sangs war born.
31.The Wids Spikk Oot
We hae heard the cooncil planners, will come here wi rules an spanners,
Bringin saws tae cut us doon, flattenin wids tae swall the town.
Brither Brummil, scrat the jyners, teir the plumbers an designers
Holly, caa the hard hats aff, ilkie haimmer-haudin nyaff.
Sister Tod eat up the sannies o the architecture mannies
Brither Spider gie them flegs. Sister Hedgehog powk their legs.
They wid pit a multistorey far the beech tree in her glory
Shelters birdies, squirrels, ants. Forkies, nest inside their pants!
Doon the braes o wyvin girse, they wad bigg an underpass
We'd appeal tae Holyrood, Brocks an Hoolets, gin we cud.
Win an Storm an Thunner pelt them. Hailsteens wi yer anger belt them! Drook them, sook them, cleuk them, hook them!
Let the bobbies come an book them!
For offences against trees. Save us fae the planners, please!
A Scots owersettin o the poem 'Lost' frae the North West American Indian tradition
Staun still. Staun still's a stook. The trees ayont, the buss aside ye,
Arena tint. Far e'er ye be's caad HERE
An ye maun greet it like a pouerfu stranger,
Maun prigg tae be alloued tae ken it, an be kent.
Takk tent! The wid is breathin. It is fusperin
' I hae vrocht this airt aroon ye.
Gin ye gyang awa, ye micht return sinsyne
An murmer 'HERE'.'
Nae twa trees are the same tae craikin corbie.
Nae twa branches are the same tae cutty wren.
Gin the wyes o tree or branch tae ye be fremmit,
Syne, ye are fairly tint, ayont as savin.
Staun still. Staun still's a stook. The wid kens far ye are.
Staun still. Staun still's a stook. Let it find YE.
33.Lullin an Elephant Tae Sleep OWERSETT O A POEM BI MIRCEA IVANESCU
Saftly at first, set doon his shadda in the box bed.
Takk tent o the flichterin halo roon his lanely thocht,
Ca cannie aroon the dreich lirks o his pachydermatous hap
Faain ower an inbye his shooders.
Myne, frae his tusks. A priest-like fite moat
Will creep alang the nail o yer orange pinkie.
Hooiver still ye bide, myne, that it maitters
That even the quaetest jumbos
Shoogle their trunks fin asleep.
Aroon ye, the blythe breengin o watters,
Watters o sleep,
Wytin fur the dwinin o thon crined circles
Roon the hinmaist shards o thocht
Until sleep takks ower,
An the image cams back, weariet an winkin,
An the oor purrs on, tailin aff its fringe
Wi the hinmaist last meenit reeshlin.
Hooiver little ye micht hodge is a maitter o import,
Fur elephants takk tent even fin asleep.
Fin smeethin the blanket, ca cannie gin his lug cocks
For ower an ower, heidfirst...secretly....
Ower the rugged tartan plaid, he's luggin in, wide- reengin,
Aa the unkent neuks o the deid knowe
That he kens the oots an ins o.
Hooiver little ye micht hodge,
Is a maitter o import
Fin a jumbo's sleepin.
34.The Fairmer Spikks tae the Scholar (after Alojz Gradnik 1882)
Aneth, I finn the solid grun,
An coontless starnies see owerheid.
Foo dae ye show tae me insteid
Abysses anely....derk, profun?
Far div ye staun? I've after thocht,
Yer bit a spider in a neuk.
Ae breeze...ae roch win's reivin cleuk,
An aa yer spinnin's gaen fur nocht.
I lue the yird, the starns that flame
An glimmer ben the skinklin nicht,
An haein faith, I ken nae fricht,
Fin on the road that takks me hame.
I'm weel acquant wi Yule, wi Spring,
I ken that Time will on me turn,
Bit fin I cross the dowie burn
Daith will uplift me, on his wing.
35.Forge me on yer Anvil (after Oton Zupancic)
Forge me on yer anvil, life,
Gin I'm flint, a spirk I'll makk.
Gin I'm steel, syne I shall sing.
Gin I'm, glaiss, syne I shall brakk.
36.The Bonnie Fite-Haired Loon: Tune, Tramps & Hawkers
Twis on a braw sunshiny day fin blossoms brier in June,
A bairn lay in the Mither Kirk rowed in a christenin goon,
The meenister held up his haun fur fowk tae gaither roon,
Tae hear the blissins heaped upon the bonnie fite-haired loon.
He toddlit at his mither's skirts, his faither's pride an joy,
An innocent an merry wis his ilkie bairnhood ploy,
A tender sprig o Scotia's stock, saft curls upon his croon,
A rosy future at the feet o the bonnie fite-haired loon.
A haflin grown he raxxed his wings wi ithers o his age,
An mony's the time his mither wished his hame cud be a cage,
Tae keep him safe fae aa the wrangs that crowd like craws aroon,
Oh it's nae easy bringin up a bonnie fite- haired loon.
A young man noo he trod the streets his fortune fur tae try,
Far dealers in the shaddas staun, their pysonous gear tae ply,
His friens fan hames an destinies in different pairts o toon,
His anely luv wis heroin the bonnie fite-haired loon.
Ae nicht the streets o Aiberdeen aroon the Music Haa
War thrang wi fowk in festive mood, in festive claes sae braw,
As tae the glitterin orchestra decked oot fae heid tae foun,
They walked, bit didna drap a luik at the bonnie fite-haired loon.
He coories like a cooshie doo or seagull in the street,
A hudderie heeze o yirdy cloots, at the city's passin feet,
In mony's the door his kind ye find, ye dinna daur luik doon,
Fur fear ye see a face ye ken, some frien or neebor's loon.
Ay, Aiberdeen's o granite biggt an steeny is its hairt,
As far frae Tilly tae Steenhive are rich an puir apairt,
Sae if yer family's safe an warm, jist takk it as a boon,
Fur they micht aa as easy faa as the bonnie fite-haired loon.
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