All poetry, photographs and artwork © the individual artists who can be contacted through the links below

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Two Poems in Scots from St John's readings

Thistles for my Dearie

He was the first to live I’d borne

he was my only laddie

the girls I liked them well enough

but he, he was my dearie

here’s heart’s ease for your ailing lung

here’s flax-weed for safe passage

He sprouted like a sapling, strong

his body lean and leery

for he could hunt and he could run

so fleet, so quick, my dearie

here’s barley for your aching bones

here’s hawthorn for your splinter

The redcoats came when he was grown

and wooed him with their shilling

I blessed him with a grudging tongue

for he was young and willing

here’s dove’s foot for your belly’s worms

here’s primrose for your darkness

In desert lands he rose and shone

an ear of corn, my laddie

a stalk of corn they scythed him down

beside the road, my dearie

here’s ivy for your callow luck

here’s roses for your choler

And now my laddie’s dead and gone

no more to run beside me

in desert lands he lies alone

and I’ve grown old and weary

here’s poppies for your watchful night

here’s thistles for my dearie

Patricia Ace (2010) First published in The Rialto


Ye Dinna Ken

Ye dinna ken wha ye walk amangst.

Ye canna judge them by whit they say.

Ye micht no hear their malicious tongues.

Ye canna see sowels¹ by nicht or day.

They can shack yer haun, say How are ye?

It’s meant tae say they’re a braw-like bunch

yet ye canna check or test whit’s true.

Ye dinna ken wha ye walk amangst.

They micht bide a while; meet yir mither,

but for a’ ye ken they’ll soon betray,

words spoken intimately to ane anither.

Ye canna judge them by whit they say.

Ye cud share dreams; hae a guid crack,

but they’ll ne’er gie the slightest nudge

on how they’ll act if the chips are stacked.

Ye micht no hear their malicious tongues.

An’ I hope ye ne’er hae tae discover,

fir ye’ll only ken in war or tragedy -

Wha is true and wha will run fir cover.

Ye canna see sowels by nicht or day.

But I’d bet ye noo - the ane ye least expect,

wud staun up first - ne’r flinch nor flee,

dumfoond thaimsel alang wi you, an’ fecht

tae be the best a human being can be, but

ye dinna ken.

1. Sowel, Soul

Hazel Buchan Cameron

(photographs by Mike Knowles)

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