Scots Poems: Unfinished Work Poem by Sheena Blackhall

Scots Poems: Unfinished Work

Fur Sheila Templeton, Bard
She wis a heich wumman,
Heid an shouders in mony wyes
Abune the lave. Poetry wis her need
Aywis weel rigged oot
Born in Aiberdeenshire
Kennin the Doric leid

She wirkit weel wi ithers
Screived in baith Inglis an Scots
She raxxed oot in wirds tae the warld
Sharin her inmaist thochts

Here's frae her poem Vilomah
(Sanskrit fur agin the natural order) :

‘I win oot i day an bocht tulips
Skirie reid an yalla. She likit them
I hud tae trim the eynds, mak them fit
-an buy a spleet new vase.
The auld een wis roosty. Did ye ken
There's speshul shops fir stuff like aat?
An I mindit tae tak a bottle o watter
-the kirkyaird tap's nae wirkin.
I think they lookit okay
As if onything noo cud iver be okay.'

The poetry scene in Scotlan's the puirer fur her passin
Mony will miss thon skeely bard, her wit, her passion
Takk frae the poems she screived, a rowth o lessons

At the Portsoy Festival
Loch Soy lies glimmerin like a bolt o silk
In the licht breeze o simmer
Spurgies flichter ben the seggs
An a bosker o a scurrie
Like a heich prowed pirate ship
Ees up the ice cream cones
Grippit in passin neives
There's fite plooed rigs o cloud
Like snaa drifts pued ben the Heivens

A scurrie opens its beak
An lats its belly rummle
Ca ca ca ca ca ca!
Bare shanked halflins
Stot a baa ower girse
Littlins practise waukin on shoogly shanks
Hyter hyter drap
Sonsie deems in lycra daunder by
Their dowp chikks wummle like jeely
Fur ae wikkeyn Portsoy is thrang wi sang
Ballads o luve an war, centuries auld
Are heard again
Ageless, the tales o loss an daith an pain
That niver tyne their pouer
Tae mystifee an enthraa
In lang gaen wids an leys
Or in this day's toun haa

Glaisses fur Hens
The sight of red—coloured blood intensifies the pecking instinct in chickens. The red eyeglasses trick the chicken from seeing the red colour of the blood, thus reducing pecking and even cannibalism.

Hae ye seen a chukken wi glaisses?
It hisnae bin gaun tae nicht classes
It's sae it disnae peck
Ither hens in the neck
It'll weir them until the urge passes

Frae the Glen o the Peat Lochies
Alltnahasach makks a stert
Coull Castle owersees its watters
O the Tarland burn, a pairt

The times they are a-cheengin
Will otters be heidin its wey?
Will the Tarland burn meander
Will park lans gang agley?

Will beavers be lat tae sattle?
Will the howe be flooded an dammed?
Incomers whyles bring treasurs
An whyles nae the gweed that's planned

Aunt Mary Makks Hotch Potch Soup (Hairst Bree / Harvest Broth)
Aunt Mary's pittin on her flooery peenie
The kitchie's stapped wi veggies gaithered in
Frae her ain ferm gairden, eyn o simmer
She wyles a ladle frae a copper tin

She pops the pizz ooto their emerant pods
Plunks a ham shank tae hotter in the pot
Crummles in cauliflooer an chappit carrots
Adds pepper, an a tea speen fu o satt

Noo grips twa ingins, dices them fell smaa
Hacks up squars o neeps tae jyne the bree
Slices up kail tae daunce amang the veg
An oor the soup is bylin cannily

An syne she takks the wechty griddle doon
Adds satt an butter, mells wi oats an watter
An wi a rollin pin rins ower the mix
An lays them on the heat noo thin an flatter

Oatcakes tae crummle in the bowl o soup
Or ett wi crowdie cheese as an aside
Wi sic a reenge o deinties fa wid leave
On bein socht tae sit, an sup, an bide?

The Meenister's Wife
My mither thocht I'd the makkins o a meenister's wife
Weirin tweeds an pearls an wuvven hose
The uniform o weemen heid bummers in thon times

She saw me clartin jam on hame made scones
At kirk ongauns an fetes, sellin carrots an veg
At fund raisin fairs, jynin the clique o Haly Willies
An the Unca Gweed

I wad hae tae watch ma Ps an Qs, nae sweirin
Or orra wirdies, cockin ma crannie
Abhorrin houghmagandie an sic like antics

Lucky fur me, the kirk disnae lat parents
Wyle their merraige pairtners
Meenisters o Scotlan be thankfu!

The Reid Cap o Mortlich
On the north side o the river Dee,
Rises the tap o Mortlich knowe
An there a restless speerit wauked
At nicht, tae fleg fowk in the howe

At midnicht it wis heard tae spikk
An unkent leid, this ghaistly thing
A muckle, hairy, fearsome breet
That socht on human-kind tae spring

An on its heid, a reid cap glowed
Like lichtie o a fire-flaucht
Sae fowk o sense wad bide abed
An jouk the flegs thon monster brocht

The burghers held a guild box full of funds
Banded with iron, with four locks, four keys
Before the days of safes and internet
No scams back then, no IT expertise

In the sixteenth century Norwegian ships
At Newburgh whilst unloading, there were seen
But Newburgh was not a free port then-
Under the jurisdiction of Aberdeen

The Dean of Guild came with an armed officer
Arrested the crew, removed sails from each mast
If paperwork was wrong he'd set in motion
Attack, declaring it a pirate ship, in the past

In fifteen ninety seven, the Deam watched over
Burning of witches, pirates' execution
The Hoose wi the Deevil Dug
It's like the Bermuda Triangle
Posties vanish in there
They cam wi a parcel an niver leave
Bit gnashins are heard on the stair

Twa fowk canvassin fur neebors
Gaed in, bit they niver cam oot
The polis made umpteen inquiries
Bit the neebors wir niver in doot

Thon dug his a heid like a byler
Its teeth are like crocodile fangs
Its farts are like bombin explosions
A gas cloud o sulphur an bangs

Its snoot is aye dreepin in snotters
Its moo is aye rinnin wi slivvers
The sicht o't makks pensioners shaky
Teirin by wi their zimmers aa quivers

Thon hoose is steeked ticht as Barlinnie
It's niver bin burgled at aa
Fa wid wint tae be chased bi thon deevil
Fin it's luikin fur humans tae chaa?

Its fame his spreid farrer than Embro
I'm telt it's the spikk o Beirut
It's coorse an it's nesty an veecious
If ye gae near its gairden, watch oot!

Doric Owersett of Counting The Mad by Donald Justice 1925-2024
This ane wis pit in a jaiket,
This ane wis sent hame,
This ane wis gien breid an meat
Bit wid ett nane,
An this ane grat Na Na Na Na
Aa day lang.

This ane luiked at the windae
As tho it wis a waa,
This ane saw things that wirnae here,
This ane things that were,
An this ane grat Na Na Na Na
Aa day lang.

This ane thocht himsel a bird,
This ane a dug,
An this ane thocht himsel a man,
An ordinar man,
An grat an cried Na Na Na Na
Aa day lang.

Doric Owersett o The Farmer's Bride by Charlotte Mew
Three simmers back I wyled a wife,
Ower young mebbe - bit mair's tae dae
At hairst-time than tae bide an woo.

Fin we wir wad she turned feart
O luve an me an aa things human;
Like the eyn o a winter's day.
Her smile gaed oot, an t'wisnae a wumman -
Mair like a wee frichtened fey.
Ae nicht, in the Faa, she ran awa.

'Oot 'mangst the yowes, she is, ' they said,
'Bi richts she should hae bin abed;
Bit sure eneuch she wisnae there
Lyin awauk wi her braid broon glower.
Sae ower sivven-acre park an up-alang across the lea
We chased her, fleein like a bawd
Afore oor lanterns. Tae Kirk-Toun
Aa in a chitter an a fleg. We catched her, fetched her hame at last
An turned the snib upon her, faist.

She dis the wark aboot the hoose
As weel as maist, bit like a moose:
She's blythe eneuch tae claik an play
Wi birds an rubbits an sic as they,
Sae lang as men-fowk bide awa.
'Nae near, nae near! ' her een beseech
Fin ane o us cams inbye reach.

The wummen say that breets at staa
Luik roon like bairnies at her caa.
I've hardly heard her spikk at aa.
Shy as a young bawd, faist as he,
Straicht an slicht as a larick tree,
Swete as the first wud violets, she,
Tae her wud self. Bit fit tae me?

The short days shorten an the aiks are broon,
The blae rikk rises tae the laigh grey lift,
Ae leaf in the quaet air faas slaw doon,
A pyot's spottit feathers lie
On the blaik yird spreid fite wi rime.
The berries reidden up until Yule tide.
An fit is Yuletide fin there winna be
Some ither in the hoose than we!
She sleeps up in the left thonner
Alane, puir quine. There's jist a stair atween us.
Ochone! My God! the down,
The saft young down o her, the broon,
The broon o her - her een, her hair, her hair!

Doric Owersett o Chidiock Tichborne's Elegy
Written with his own hand in the Tower before his execution

Ma prime o youth is jist a heeze o cares;
Ma feast o blytheness, jist a dish o pain;
Ma crap o corn is jist a park o thorns;
An aa ma gweed is jist vain hope o gain:
The day is ower, an yet I saw nae sun;
An noo I live, an noo ma life is dane.
Ma tale wis heard, an yet it wis nae telt;
Ma fruit is drappit, yet ma leaves are green;
Ma youth is ower, an yet I amnae auld;
I saw the warld, an yet I wisnae seen:
Ma threid is cut, an yet it isnae spun;
An noo I live, an noo ma life is dane.
I socht ma daith, an fand it in ma wyme;
I luiked fur life, an saw it wis a shade;
I trod the yird, an kent it wis ma tomb;
An noo I dee, an noo I wis bit made;
Ma glaiss is remain, noo ma glaiss is run;
An noo I live, an noo ma life is dane.
Doric Owersett o Gypsies by John Clare
The snaa faas deep; the widlan lies alane:
The loon gaes faist sikkin his load o brakes,
Syne thinks upon the lowe an hashes back;
The Gangrel dunts his hauns an haps them up,
An sikks his sossy camp, hauf hid in snaa,
Aneth the aik, that brakks awa the win,
An busses near, wi snaa like shedddie warm:
There guffin mutton roasts upon the coals,
An the hauf-roastit dug squats near an rubs,
Syne feels the heat ower strang an wanners aff;
He watches weel, bit nane a bite can spare,
An vainly wytes a bittie haived awa:
This is their life - a pictur tae the place;
A quaet, chorin, unproteckit race.

Written in 1841 while was resident in an asylum in High Beach, Epping Forest.

Doric Owersett o Sic Vita by Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)
I am a parcel o vain warsslins tied
Bi a chaunce bond thegether,
Hingin this wey an thon, their links
Wir vrocht sae lowse an wide,
I think,
Fur doucer weather.

A boorach o violets wioot their reets,
An sorrel melled thegither,
Encercled bi a toosht o strae
Aince furled aboot their shoots,
The law
Bi fit I'm fixed.

A posy that Time tore frae oot
Thon fair Elysian parks,
Wi weeds an brukken stems, richt faist
That makk the rabble rin
That waste
The day he gies up

An here I brier fur a wee oor unseen,
Sookin ma juices up,
Wi nae reet in the lan
Tae keep ma branches green,
Bit staun
In a teem cup.

A puckle tender buds wir left upon ma stem
Copyin life,
Bit oh! the bairns winna ken,
Till time his connached them,
The wae
Wi which they're rife.

Bit noo I see I wisnae pued fur nocht,
An efter in life's vase
O glaiss set while I micht survive,
Bit bi a kind haun brocht
Tae a fremmit airt.

Thon stock sae thinned will sune redeem its oors,
An bi anither year,
Sic as God kens, wi freer air,
Mair fruits an fairer flooers
Will bear,
Fin I dwine here.

Doric Owersett o Danse Russe bi William Carlos Williams
Gin fin ma wife is sleepin
An the babby an Kathleen
Are sleepin
An the sun is a flame-fite disc
In silky haar
Abune sheenin trees, —
Gin I in ma north chaumer
Daunce nyaakit, unca-like
Afore ma keekin-glaiss
Wyvin ma sark roon ma heid
An singin saftly tae masel:
'I am lanely, lanely.
I wis born tae be lanely,
I am best sae! '
Gin I admire ma airms, ma face,
Ma shouders, hurdies, bichooch
Agin the yalla shades—
Fa'll say I'm nae
The blythe hoose-god o ma hame

Doric Owersett o Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Finiver Richard Cory gaed doon toon,
We, the fowk on the pavement, luiked at him:
He wis a genteel cheil frae fit tae croon,
Weel fared, an maist byordinary slim.

An he wis aywis quaetly set oot,
An he wis aywis human fin he spakk;
Bit still he quickened pulses fin he said,
'Fine day, ' an glimmered fin he tuik a wauk.

An he wis rich - aye, richer than a king -
An wis weel schuled in ilkie genteel grace:
In short, we thocht that he wis ilkie thing
Tae makk us wish that we wir in his place.

Sae on we wirked, an wyted fur the licht,
An gaen on scarce o meat, an banned the breid;
An Richard Cory, ae calm simmer nicht,
Gaed hame an pit a bullet throwe his heid.

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