Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 10,154 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Preparing To Meet The Minotaur (34 Scots Poems) - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

1.Tussle: Inspired by Tussle for the Keg - John Pettie

Makk me
Buy it
Canna. Gimmit or I'll takk it
Try it an ye'll brakk it
Gie it here ye nyaff
Or fit?
Scram! I'm the winner o the dram!

2.Thochts on Meevement

I meeve throwe the warld wi ma harns.
Ma thochts are swippert an swack, slee an sleekit.

Cannie! Ane o ma thochts is teetin ahin yer lug
Is takkin aathin in. Is giein naethin oot.

Yon wee leaf that flichters aff the birk at the waa's eyn,
Birlin an furlin micht be as teem's a shell efter the snail's gaen.
Ye dinna ken. Ye canna tell. Anely the snail can tell.

3.Three Craas an the Law o Karma

Takk tent o karma. Dinna deave the craas!
Blaik as deevilicks,
Craas are flang in yer face
Like seet back-blawn fae the lum.

Thon craas'll gar ye jink.
Foo daur ye wag yer neive
At three direct descendents
0 the corbies fa theekt their nest
Wi a deid knight's hair?

Did ye nae ken thon three birds
Is the Morrigan resurrectit?
Takk a thocht tae yersel
Awa an fleg a doo.

4.Wee Fite Rose

May this, the day ye chose,
be as the wee white rose
A joy preened tae the briest,
hallowed bi Hope an priest

An fin the flooer is deen,
may luv pruve evergreen
The vows ye freely makk,
bide true till sun turns black

Stoot be yer reef an waa,
a bield fin Storms blaw
Sweet are the ties that bind
for those that Luv has jyned

May ye as man an wife,
ken nocht o dule an strife
The path ye wauk be clear
as larksang ower the muir

5.Greyfriar's Bobby Discovers Balquidder

Nae traffic.
Nae fowk.
Nae tour.
His barkin fulls the glen!

6.Birthday Boy

(3 year-old, overheard on a bus)
Fit a lot o flags are oot the day!
The flags are makkin the sky happy!
Even the sun' s smilin!

Wisn't that nice o the Queen, Ma,
Gettin thon flags oot fur me.
Someb'dy must hae telt her It's ma birthday!

7.Maths Co-ordinates

Join the co-ordinates, quo she
I luiked at her cardi.
A raw o rompin rhombuses
Lowpin ower twa globes.

8.Ghaistly Dauncers

These are the ghaisties in the glen
The flooers that Winter disnae ken
Vetch an speedwell, harebell, ling,
Blossoms that brier in sonsie Spring.

Each petal gies an oorie skreich
A sab that fulls the muirlan dreich
The tabor beat ben brittle reed's
The ghaistie-daunce o flooers that's deid.

9.For Tessa Ransford

`The word bites like fish.
Shall I throw it back free
Arrowing to that sea
Where thoughts lash and fin
Or shall I pull it in? (Stephen Spender)

Lang years her wummin's hams vrocht siller nets,
Wi smeddum, skeelieness an sweirity.
Ben pit-mirk oors she planned an manned a fleet,
Tae gaither wirds...a nation's barderie.

Noo that she's catched an keepit yon rich hairst,
Mapped oot the fertile banks o yon great sea,
Far poems are thochts that kythe an mell an steer,
Flichterin like fire-flauchts in yon Norlan bree.

Like Ulysses her boat can hamewird run,
Wechtit wi honours, aa its victories won,
An as the anchor draps tae herbour foon,
May poems like sunbeams, daunce aboot its croon.

10.Bugs Migraine

Ma een are Aunty Mable's.
Ma moo is Uncle Jim's
An frae ma faither's cousin
I hae twa double chins.

Ma lug's a rabbit's burrow.
He lowps in frae the rain
An thumps aroon ma cranium.
I caa him Bugs Migraine.

11.The Scottish Year

The month o Januar comes in
Wi droothy Hogmanay,
Auld Eel we'll fete wi reamin plate
Syne neist it's Bums' Day.

The month o Februar is cauld
The weeks rin faister yet
St Valentine brings flooers an wine
Let nane their luv forget.

In Merch, the bannock's in the pan,
Tae mithers, gifts are gien
The Teuchit Storm howls roon the barn,
The parks are brierin green.

Feel's Day takks in the Easter month
Fin eggs rowe doon the brae
There's sun, there's win, there's caul, there's rain
The skies weir hodden grey.

The first o Mey's a magic time
Gyang wash yer face wi dew
Ne'er cast a cloot till Mey be oot
Or cauld will gar ye grue.

In mony's a toon the month o June
Brings merriege tae the fore
For auld langsyne, the Solstice myne
The mountain taps explore!

In saft July the showdin hey
Is dried afore the weet
For gin St Swithin draps his tears
Fur forty days it's weet!

In August, guns are cleaned an iled
The corn begins tae fill
At Games an Fairs, fowk shakk aff cares
An daunce wi richt gweed will.

September's sere. The deein year
Brings Autumn's equinox
Fin hairst is cut, an windaes shut
An sleekit slides the fox

October: eildritch Halloween
An neepie lanterns bricht
Fin bogles steer wi faces queer
An guizers brave the nicht.

November. Bonfires licht the lift
Reid Poppies noo are thrang.
St Andrew's Day takks oot the month
Wi poem an Scottish sang.

December's here. Yule's near at haun
Wi bubblyjock an cheer
Takk up a dram baith maid an man
Tae toast the Scottish year.

12.Nettle Rules, OK?

Ca cannie stranger...I'm a nettle
I'm as saft as heavy metal
I staun here sae ye'll recaa
In ilkie life some rain maun faa
I'm the sting by beauty's side
Pu me friens...I'll scrat yer hide!

13.The Burnin Brand For Flora Garry 1900- 2000

A waxen caunle- stump, rikk trails abeen
An oot-blawn braith, aa darg, aa poetry deen.
Stoor sattles. Midgies heeze in simmer heat.
Thochts steer far shiftin recollections meet.

I speired her eence 'Fit wye did ye stert late
Wi sic a gift, oor leid tae celebrate? '
Back cam nae slick repon, nae leein styte,
0 writer's block or latchy Muses's wyte.

`Fin I wis young, I shone in King's grey airt..
My winsome face won mony a laddie's hairt.
Fin ye are happy, ye hae mair adee
Than spenn sweet oors on lanely poetry.'

Fierce pride in yon! A flooer, smert an braa,
Her reets ran ben the derk side o the waa,
A Buchan booer, far complex shaddas faa.
Murray an Garry...brilliance in the mools,
The yin an yang o literary jewels
Used wirds they niver learned in scholar-street,
Bi turns, could gar ye rage..or lauch..or greet.

Their Scots, a burnin brand passed haun tae haun,
Kinnelt a line o lichts throw oor thrawn lan,
A bleeze o wirds nae even daith could smore,
As lang as een may read, and thocht explore.

14.Alistair: for the late Alistair Taylor, former Preses o the Aiberdeen Branch o the Scots Language Society, Secretar o the Saltire Society

Furl o the fusky in the glaiss, braid haun, an lauchin ee
Kenspeckle chiel... a scholar's hams, a gyangin fit, an free.

I'd raise a dram o Lochnagar in memory o his name...
Wioot his glaiss tae clink agint it wadnae be the same.

Fin I gyang ower the Cluny brig, I'll dauchle bi the burn
An luik doon in its peaty face an bide awhile, tae murn.

A derker place is Beinn a Buird withoot its quate star,
His fitstep lued the springy peat, the bywyes o Braemar.

There's mony's the nesty, nippy tyke I'd gledly clart wi clay
Ahin the dubby kirkyaird dyke than yon gweed dominie.

Wi fearie tales o oorie glens, an Gaelic Bens sae wild
At his command - a lesser chiel Daith surely cud hae wyled.

Torphins withoot his sparklin wird is broth wioot the satt
Fur he wis smeddum, virr an spunk, an kindness, tae a faut.


The carrot wis scunnered wi life en plein air
Foo she wished she cud cheenge tae a paw-paw or pear
Foo she girned an banned at her cauld kailyaird hame
Sae tae seem mair important, she tuik a new name:
Miss Caroline Farquharson-Gordon of Finzean
(Bit they still drapped her intae the broth wi the ingin)


We're the ghaisties in the contract.
We're the ink ye dinna see
We're the telephone, the e-mail.
We're the perks some dinna gie

We're the muckle photocopier, the paper an the fax
We're the poems fae competitions cairtit oot the door in sacks
We're the heatin, we're the seatin, we're the kettle on the byle
We're a quate wee oasis oot the hassle, fur a whyle

If ye think we dinna maitter...Cut us aff, an see foo far
The ghaisties in the contract contribute tae fit ye are!


Dirlin teeth hae got a stang, as thrang's a beezer o a bummer.
A blichtit gum...a fooshtie fang, wad gie a verra deil the scunner.

A hoast can set yer throat ableeze. A neb can dreep like leakin wallie,
Bit ice cream on a fillin..Jeeze! Can gar ye skirl at ilkie swallie.

Tantalus, tho deaved wi drooth, Prometheus, ett bi a vulture,
Wad baith agree a stoonin tooth's the torture-king in ony culture.

An alligator bi the Nile needs far mair teeth than me, tae smile.
Near sixty fillins - mair he'd need, tae stop teeth dirlin in his heid.

The Inquistion's rack micht raxx yer verra shanks frae oot their sockets.
Far coorser is an achin gum, fin reets flare up...explodin rockets

Wi nae remeid an nae relief
fit Sorra's loon inventit teeth?

18.On Supply

Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta,
I wid like an air raid shelter,
In each classroom biggit wide,
far teachers on supply can hide.

Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel,
Dante'd reinvent his Hell
Gin he wis faced wi Primary 3,
on a mental wreckin spree.

India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima,
timetable's a concertina,
Squeezed tae pack new targets in...
Takk redundancy an rin!

Mike, November, Oscar, Papa,
Quebec, Romeo, Sierra,
Roon the rafters watch them swing.
Tell me Daith: Far is thy sting?

Tango, Uniform an Victor,
watch oot fur the schools inspector!
X-ray, Yankee, Zulu- Noo
I'm signin aff. I'm on the Broo
It wad takk the S.A.S.
tae rule a classroom wi success!

19.Gaudeamus Igitur

The kilt's taen ooto mothbaas, fur Pride maun hae its sway
An aa because a graduate is gettin capped the day.

Yer nae a gype, ye've pruved it, shown there's mair tae ye than oo.
It's wirth aa the years o warsslin tae reap the honours noo

Noo yer upwird an yer mobile... Ay, an sae are aa yer fiers
An ye niver thocht they'd families like yours, yer student peers.

Look! There stauns Fiona's faither...Nae a letter tae his name
Bit a millionaire twice ower sellin herrin fae the faem.

Lack o siller, lack o confidence sets goals ayont fowk's reach
Washes mony's the likely fitpreint fae Ambition's bonnie beach

An fur ilkie plum that's ripened, there are twenty sittin soor
Niver coddlit nur encouraged...Gaudeamus Igitur

20.The Computer's Day Oot

I thocht that my computer'd like a cheenge
(It hid bin luikin unca peely wally)
I tuik it tae the Gallery tae view
The wirks o Miro, Mondrian an Dali
I tuik it on an ootin tae the park,
Raither than typin poetry in the hoose
It sat an chittered in its plastic sark,

It winted hame. The cat played wi its moose.
It spat oot aa its discs. It wisna pleased.
An cairriet on like a wud thing, diseased.
I learned ma lesson. It is plain tae see
Ye canna butter up technology.

21.Three Tinkers

Three tinkers chapt at the haa door, the lan frae far they cam,
Has riveries reid wi human bluid, that nae fish iver swam.

Day niver daws in thon fey lan. The raindraps frae abeen,
Are as the tears o bitterness that faa frae human een.

There is nae springtime in thon place, nae simmer, saft an braw.
There winter reigns eternally. The Sizzen o the craa.

22.Job Description

Fit wye div ye nae like cookin?
Aa mas are supposed tae like cookin.
I didna ken ony ma bit you that disnae cook.

Darren Buchan's ma makks stovies, skirlie, clootie
AND she cleans his sheen.
It isnae pairt o the job description?
Fit kinno a spikk is thon?

23.Playgrun Fecht

I wint tae be yer frien
A whine. A plea.
Nae respite, nae let up
A deave, a secunt shadda

I warned her, fair an square
I like tae be alane
Bit thrawn or daft
She didna takk it in.

I skelped her hard on the neb
Rugged oot a daud o hair
Fecht! Fecht, the ithers skirled
Eekin me on.

The upshot wis, I won
Some kind o victory
Yet, ma neive wis stounin

24.Twa Brithers at Seaton Chippie

Johnny! Dicht yer face! Yer chikks is manky.
Ma nose is rinnin Dannie...
Use yer hanky.

Gie me a pickelt ingin wi ma chips?
Yer moo is aywis bigger nor yer belly!

Can I ging oot tae play? Ma's on a date!
It's dark. We'll jist ging hame an watch the telly.

Dan, can I hae a coke? I wint it! Wint it!
Yer jist a flamin scunner. No, ye canna.

Dan, can I clap yon big Alsation dug?
Nuh. Stuff yer face wi this. Here's a banana.

Yon mannie gien's a penny fur ma bankie.
Yon wifie says I'm jist a cheeky monkey.
It's affa caal. I wish I cud get cosie.
Climm up then, an I'll heat ye in ma bosie.

25.Waddin Toast

Guid health tae the newly wad couple!
May their merriege be merry an lang,
As a weel-wuvven coracle, rhythmic and close,
bob-bobbin life's oceans alang.

Guid gear, tae the newly wad couple!
May their kist be weel-stappit an braw.
May their littlins be fair as the rose in its lair
in the glimmer an glisk o the daw!

Guid crack tae the newly wad couple!
May they mver be crabbit or soor
Bit keep sweet as the peat-heather hinney
that's cupped in yon heich mountain flooer!

Kind friens, tae the newly wad couple!
May Sorra and Tribble be niver
Allowed ower the length o the lintel,
o the hame they hae biggit thegither!

Guid luck tae the newly wad couple!
May the sun wi a fecht niver set!
May the ring on the bride's merriege finger
niver tarnish wi wae nor regret!

26.The Sangster

The heidy wine in ilkie haun, a glitterin company
Fur fyew cud string the shinin wird, my love, sae weel as ye.

An tho aroon the steerin room like fireflauchts fowk did flit
Inbye my hairt as ye stept ben a thoosan caunles, lit.

I watched ye movin back an fore..Gin ye hid bin a swan
I wished that I hid bin the loch lay neist tae ye at dawn.

I watched ye movin back an fore. Gin ye hid bin a reed
I wad hae bin the pearlin dyew that sattled on yer heid

They say a robin sings its best wi'ts briest pressed tae the thorn
Tae see it wither bi yer side an ill thing tae be borne.

Oh I hae sung in hoose an haa, bit ne'er sae sweet or strang
I wis a flame fur ye alane because ye prigged a sang.

27.The Rocher Brew

The stoppered bottles, whyles, we meet,
the contents maun be scanned wi care
afore we pree the contents there.

Stranger, aquaintance, Onyman
afore we chuse tae ken them better
Maun first be sipped tae wyle the taste,
be't soor or sweet, be't cauld, or hetter.

The stoppered bottles that we meet
(Weel-kept, nae moosewabs ye can see)
Micht serve tae pass a meenit's space.
The rocher brew micht kinder be.

There's vintage wine - ye ken the kyne
decants wi pomp an siller speen
The rocher brew, sweet Natur's dew
will aywis pruve the better frien

28.Luikin in the Coffin

Luikin in the coffin, he thocht
She wis naethin special.
Naethin special, luikin at naethin special

29.The Gracefu Trinity

Far pine wid trees staun Tam-Linn green,
three veesitors in velveteen
(Rich russet coloured ilkie coat,
wi ruffs o fur croon the throat)
Arrived ae gloamintide tae dine,
their liquid een like Spanish wine.

Mony's the gweedly company
has met in fine festivity
On yon snod lawn, bit nane sae fair
as thon three graces gaithered there.

Like quines dressed fur a glitterin ball,
the mist clung tae them like a shawl.
Dew-drookit flooeries at their feet,
keekt up at them, wi nectar, weet.

The birk let doon her tresses braw.
The creepin cat drew in her claw,
As frae the misty gloamin air,
they stepped frae ither-wardly lair.

The deein sun flashed firey-reid,
stars lichtit up abeen each heid.
Swippert's a swan wis each ladye
within thon eildreich Trinity.
As hauntin as a loveseek sang,
the deer, that tae the pinewid cam.

30.Skeletons off Prince's Street

Abeen the cream jug, fite as a carnation,
They claikt on culture, literature an nation,
Twa weemin newsin aboot hames an wars,
Checked oot domestic minefields, battle scars.

Skeletons hing like jaikets in fowk's presses.
Whyles wi a stranger, fowk micht try them on,
If they nae langer frichten or dismay,
Their ghaisties bit the shadda o a dwaum.

Mebbe thon wis the bait that lured her oot,
Thon Handsel / Gretel crumbs o the irrational,
Like Darnley's silken face mask, drappin aff,
Barin the pox, the blether turned confessional.

Fa'd sung her aince, a lullaby o frost
This exile. in the shaddas o the lost?
Her life wis crystal, cracked ayont remeid.
Let slip an shattered, chaos in her heid.

Nae meenit's claik can mend the evil oor
Hope smashed inbye. A single haimmer cloor.

31.The Primary Source: in search of linguistic purity

He tuik Intercity tae Embro,
(mair beasts in thon zoo than the Ark)
Tae see Kali the Bengali tiger,
wi her cleuks an her braw strippit sark,
Bit he wisna impressed bi her antics,
tho she roared wi a hurricane's force,
Fur fin he broke doon her semantics,
weel, she wisna a primary source.

Withoot wishin tae seem ower pedantic,
she wis Scots, wi a thochtie o Norse.
Neist he gaed tae a show at the theatre,
far the star wis a pantomine horse.
It could whinney an trot...bit he caredna a jot,
fur it wisna a primary source,
As he kent, fm it rent doon the middle, a
nd its halves tuik an instant divorce.

A soprano frae bella Milano,
sang her hairt oot until she grew hoarse,
Bit he shot doon her sang wi a critical bang,
fur she wisna a primary source.
Na, her ma wis a gutter frae Fitty,
which diluted the aria's force.

At the interval, platters o oysters,
war served as a maitter o course...
Bit they didna tempt him, they cam ooto a tin,
fur they warna a primary source.

A ventriloquist chiel frae Findochty,
spakk in Cantonese, Zulu an Morse.
His claik wis as fake as a soya bean steak,
fur it wisna a primary source
Twis the ugh in a caveman's polemic,
wis the birth o phonetics, of course.

Be as dreich as Methuselah's dandruff,
fowk will queue up tae hear yer discourse
As lang as yer sure the linguistics are pure
an they cam fae a primary source!

32.Deid Balloon

Ma heid floats on the loch.
Deid balloon on a slop o wattery clouds

33.Auld Crocs

Birk trees raxx up.
Their trunks, like auld crocs' hides
Catched in a larry's lichts
Are yalla, oorie. Swamp flop-belly deid.

34.On Singin Gallawa Hills: for the late John Watt Stewart, Cotton Street

The frost sat in my cauldrife hairt, ice glittered in ma een
The driftin sna in the deid thraa blew ben my thochts yestreen
An ilkie note like jagged scree I climmed as I'd bin telt
A ghaistie's fitpreints merked the wye,
Lear, neither bocht nor selt

An as the muckle sang swallt up, the weary wastes o sna
Soughed ben each limb. Unseen, the linn roared ben the packit haa.

I didna sing fur praise nur cheer, nur did I sing frae need
I sang tae pass the ballad on.. A gift frae ane lang deid.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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