Scots Poems From Doppelganger Poem by Sheena Blackhall

Scots Poems From Doppelganger

Medusa
Ma frien Medusa
Canna dae a thing wi her hair.
Spikk aboot bed-heid!
At least she niver gets nits

Aabody freezes fin we
Wauk intae a pairty
Her, wi her heidfu o snakes
Aa hissin
Medusa's mair deid-locks than dreidlocks
I say tae her, ‘Medusa
Fin ye come oot wi me
Could ye please weir a hat?


Comforters
Fin aa the quines in ma class got
Got Valentines, I niver got ane
I gaed tae the Holburn Café insteid,
Bocht a knickerbocker glory.
It cam in a lang glaiss like the neck o a swan
Stappit wi ice cream
Fruits, a daud o meringue
An a wee umbrella an a cherry on the tap
Better than ony daft Valentine

Fin I wisnae chusen fur the daunce team,
I chored a tin o condensed milk frae ma's pantry
Ett it aa in a wonner, beeriet the tin in the gairden an wis seek
Eftir oor tyke dug it up.
‘A cliver tyke that tae open tins, ' ma said
Giein me the evils

Fin I scored 10% at maths
An aabody lauched an caad me a muckle gype
I bocht a chippie pyoke an slaithered it wi cheese
At least I could coont the siller needit tae buy it

Obituary for a country bus
Far dae the deid bits gae?
The brukken glaiss-
Dis it gaud memories o
Crashes, storms, romances,
The condensation on a stormy nicht
Wartime assignations?

The waukwye, dis it myne
The dunt o tackety sheen
The skreich o stilettos
The clunk o climmers' buits?

The seats, dae they mynd
The spreid o a ferm wife's bihoochie
Like butter on a hett scone
The dried -pee breeks o a loon on the wye tae skweel?

Frae sodjers, Canadian loggers
Frae hens in cages
Frae coffins in the boot
Frae skiiers, towrists, an bikers
RIP auld bus. May yer chassis be recycled.

The Yuletide Wreath
Did ye unsteek the kirkyaird yett last year
Tae lay the Yuletide wreath on vanished kin?
An did ye dauchle fur a whylie there
The holly on the wreath sherp on yer skin?

A peety that the deid aneth the mools
Bide seelent-Nae ae wird o comfort's spakk
Ye stude alane wi myndins, blythe or wae
Pykin the scurl o murnin an hertbrakk

Nippicks o snaa come flichterin frae the lift
The grun wis iron hard. Nae birdies flee
The derk fell early- time tae turn awa
As ye gaed hamewird, did ghaists follae ye?


The Great Tarland Mail Bag Robbery of 1866
Ae wintry Thursday mornin, upon the turnpike road
A mile an a hauf frae Tarlan, there wis a robbery
Nearhaun the ferm o Strathmore, a place weel tae be seen
James McConnach, wis confrontit bi some coorse sculduggery

McConnach wis post rinner twinty five year wioot faut
Till echt hunner an seventy echt pun it wis rypit frae the mail
On his daily wye frae Tarlan, echt am as ordinar
Tae reach the Abyne station far the siller gaed bi rail

At Strathmore he met a couthie chiel he didna ken ava
They fell tae newsin blythly till the stranger flang him doon
An rived the mail pyoke frae him, an tae Tarlan toun ran aff
McConnach gaed tae Strathmore, wi the fermer tae commune

John Craib syne telt his servants tae sikk oot the rypit pyoke
Nae syne o siller registered bi Mr Ross the banker
Neist Mr Grant contackit coonty police as faist's he could
As did befit his duty as the Tarlan toun postmaister

They arrestit James McConnach, an the polis cheil as weel
Geordie Milne, fa wis awa frae hame fin summoned tae the case
Bit his alibi wis suspeck as he cudnae pruve at aa
Far he'd bin fin missin fae his post at ony ither place

Noo James wis liberatit, an Milne wis held fur trial
A young chiel twinty sax or seven an affa weel respeckit
At the Circuit Coort, he stude aa day, till echt o clock at nicht
Nae Pruven wis the verdict, nae at aa fit wis expeckit

Lord Ardmillan wis the circuit judge, an didna tell the jury
That Geordie's alibi didnae haud watter…jist a lee
The judge noo, wis he bribit? Wis he dottlit? Wis he raivellt?
Fitiver…on Nae proven bein fand, set Geordie free


In Memoriam, Andrew Philip Watt
In Fadlydyke, an honest man
Wis dominie an fermer
He wis heid o the Philip clan
A kindly host, nane better

This New Deer Watt, a patriarch
Guid shepherd o his flock
Across the braid Atlantic
He kept coont o his bluid stock

Thon sheep that wannert far an wide
His Scots diaspora
He kent their roadies hyne aff in
The States an Canada

A tattie roguer in his youth
At barley growth, a maestro
He kept his yowes weel fed an hoosed
At lammin, a supremo

The loom o life is puirer far
As Philip's threid unraivels
Murned bi his bairns, granbairns an friens
Aff on his hinmaist traivels

An he'll be missed across the globe
Far he touched mony a hairt
Fin Daith as is his cruel wye
Gars man frae life tae pairt


A Tale for Bairns: Dougie the Yuletide Deer
The widlans were steerin, for Yuletide wis near
The maist speecial date in the hale o the year

Oh Dougie, the birdies speired up in the glen
Fit will you be daein tae celebrate then?

He hung doon his heid as he answered them aa
I'm nae daein onythin, naethin ava

Next day, a young family wauked ben frae the snaw
An cut doon a fir tree tae decorate braw

And ithers cam gaitherin berries wi holly
Tae hing on their doors, makk their hames tae luik bonnie

As Dougie luiked on, wae that he hid nae pairt
In aa this excitement, foo heavy his hairt!

As up frae the clachan raise smells o fine fare
An roastin o bubblyjocks, dumplins….fit rare

An lauchin o littlins, aa lickin the speen
O mincemeat fur pies, sic a blythe cheerie scene!

The Sunday Schule bairns frae the ferm drave the breets
Fur the Kirk's ain nativity, rosy chikkt geets

A yowe an a cuddy, a dug an a coo
Bit naebody socht Dougie- ‘We're nae wintin you.'

Puir Dougie crept aff in the cauld an the snaa
Nae ae place in Yuletide fur him, nane ava

Bit syne, fa wis this ski-in faist tae his hame
Wi a beard lang an fite, an a suit reid as flame?

It wis Santy! Puir Rudolph wis doon wi the flu
He coudnae dae naethin bit hoast an achoo

Wid Dougie staun in, fur the puirly reindeer?
His puffed oot his breist an cried ‘Santy, I'm here! '

He hidnae a reid snoot, bit ontae his heid
Santy plunkit a torch, faith twis aa that he'd need

An thon is foo Dougie saved Yuletide for aa
Deliverin gifties tae bairns big an smaa!

As Dougie flew by, like a fowerleggit bat
The deer wi the torch an the warm beanie hat

Twa Doric Limericks

In the North East o Scotland oor leid
Is Doric, the spikk o oor breed
We say fit fan an far
In the street, bus an bar
The wirds frae the hairt an the heid

There wis an auld wifie caad Jean
Bedd in Seaton in Auld Aiberdeen
Fin St Machar's bells rang
Wi a terrible clang
She nearly lowped ooto her sheen.

Views frae a Scottish Castle
It wis a scene frae the deidlangsyne
Thon tint waa-ed gairden,
Its green wauks happit
Frae clachan an kirk.
An, ayont it, the castle,
Secret, ae windae lichtit
I winner fa aince luiked oot?
Wid they draw the shutters
Wid they steek the yetts
Tae haud me oot?
In the gloamin, oot in the cauld
Fa disnae lang fur the safety
O basic wints: heat
An a bield, an a place tae lay yer heid?


The Limmer
Fin I wis a young bit limmer
A fiddler I thocht tae wed
Or a piper tae keep me dauncin
Aff tae the waddin bed

His een wid be green as elf locks
His hair wid be blaik's the puil
At the fit o the linn's doon-drappin
Intae its watter creel

His broo wid be fair as Morven
Fin the sun reests on its tap
An I'd purr like a pettit kittlin
Fin ma heid lay in his lap

We'd sit bi the hairth thegither
Twa hairt beats jyned as ane
An the glens wid ring wi oor lauchter
Throw sunsheen sna an rain

Oor bairns wid be blythe an bonnie
Aa this I dreamt an mair
Fin I wis a young bit limmer
Wi ae fit on life's lang stair


The Eildritch Neuk
The eildritch neuk wis hidden bi sauch an birk
Keepin itsel at the hairt o the glen like treisur
Mair haly tae me than ony temple or kirk
A natural watter slide…a lang steen chute
Happit bi moss, green, sliddery an sloken
Gently drappin watter intae a crystal puil
Naethin inbye this bield wis hurt or brukken
Its reef wis dapples o sun an flichterin leaves
Amber an skinklin like a fairy's wings
Wir its peaty waves, lichtit bi diamond glents
Myndin on it, my very breist-bane sings



Gaia's letter to humankind
Dear Fowk,
Dinna cam tittin at ma peenie strings wi yer ‘sorry ma, I didnae mean ony herm.' Ye kent fit ye wir daein wis wrang. Bit thon's ye aa ower. Me! Me! Me! Niver a thocht fur yer brithers an sisters, the breets, the trees, the lan, the sea, the air.

Ye wir the brainy ane an aa. I sent ye plenty o warnins….tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, covid, wildfires. I even stertit meltin the poles. Weel, ye made the soss, ye can redd it up yersel. Or it's curtains fur aabody. Noo get ooto ma face or ah'll Armageddon the lot o ye.'
Yer scunnert ma,
Gaia


Scots Owersett of To Know the Dark by Wendell Berry
Tae gae intae the derk wi a licht is tae ken the licht.
Tae ken the derk, gae derk. Gae wioot sicht
an fin that the derk, itsel, briers an sings,
an is traivelled bi derk feet an derk wings.


Scots Owersett o There is a Field bi Rumi
Oot ayont thochts o wrangdaein
an richtdaein there is a park
We'll tryst thonner.

Fin the soul lies doon in thon girse
the warld is ower fu tae spikk aboot.


Scots Owersett o The Guest House bi Rumi
This bein human is a guest hoose.
Ilkie mornin a new incomer

A blytheness, a dowieness, a meanness,
a wee awareness cams
as an unexpeckit veesitor.

Walcom an entertain them aa!
Even gin they're a boorich o sorras
Fa forcie-like swype yer hoose
teem o its gear,
still, treat ilkie guest honourably.
He micht be clearin ye oot
fur some new delicht.

The derk thocht, the affront, the coorseness,
meet them at the yett lauchin,
an sikk them in.

Be gratefu fur faiver cams
because aa hae bin sent
as a guide frae ayont.


Scots Owersett of Ah, not to be cut bi Rainer Maria Rilke
Ah, nae tae be cut aff
Nae throwe the slichtest partition
shut oot frae the law o the starnies.
The inner—fit is it?
if nae intensifeed lift,
flang throwe wi birds an deep
wi the wins o hamecamin.


Scots owersett of Cattie's Dream by Pablo Neruda
Foo snodly a cattie sleeps,
Sleeps wi its paas an its posture,
Sleeps wi its coorse cleuks,
An wi its unfeelin bluid,
Sleeps wi aa the rings—
A heeze o brunt cercles—
That hae vrocht the fey geology
O its san-coloured tail.

I wid like tae sleep like a cattie,
Wi aa the fur o time,
Wi a tongue roch as flint,
Wi the dry sex o a lowe;
An efter spikkin tae naebody,
Raxxin ower the warld,

Ower reefs an lanscapes
With a passionate langin
Tae hunt the rattens in ma dwaums.

I hae seen foo the cattie asleep
Wid rowe, foo the nicht
Flowed throw it like derk watter;
An whyles, it wis gaun tae faa
Or mebbe dive intae
The bare teem snaadrifts.
Whyles it grew sae muckle in sleep
Like a tiger's great-granfaither,
An wid lowp in the derkness ower
Reeftaps, clouds an volcanoes.

Sleep, sleep cattie o the nicht,
Wi Episcopal ceremony
An yer stane-carved mowser

Takk tent o aa oor dwaums;
Control the obscurity
O oor sleepin virr
Wi yer relentless hairt
An the muckle ruff o yer tail.

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