I notice that some other bloggers have the audacity, or rashness, to publish verse of their own making on their columns. While I hold no realistic expectation of kudos from the Scots literati, I thought it might be amusing for everyone to print a specimen or two of my own. I’ve been composing rhymes and blank verse [some very blank] for all my life, or at least since my teens, along with a good few tunes of various sorts. I’ll be uploading some of the latter fairly soon, but for now have a keek at this:
The mune tauld me the ither nicht
Endymion was deid,
And aa alang the droonin lift
The starns had bowed the heid;
But still the houlet caas on him,
And she is no dismayed,
For weel she kens he hears her still,
Altho he is a shade.
As waters flow in whirlpools
Sae turns the hert around,
And as the wun steers widdershins
The mind greets wi its wound.
I’ll rive sic disobedience out,
And kill my discontent;
For luve has come to ravish me –
Why suld I no consent?
That’s actually a Scotification of a thing I composed originally in English. On the other hand, in a deliberate attempt to write a poem in Scots from the word go, I came up with this:
The eldritch skreich o gowlan winds
That souch awa within thir stanes
Wad rive the mind clean out o ye;
And the sterk dureness o the granes
Thro aa the dernit ingyne rins.
Granite, grim granite, aa aroun,
And near outby the greetin trees;
The drumlie yird alow the feet
Some caution to the spirit gies,
And gars the saul to courie doun.
Aye, as thir hard wancannie stanes
Staund stockstill here as they were laid,
The hert, nae movin, sees itsel
In the daurk chaumer it has made,
And liggs doun by forgotten banes.
It’s a far cry from such stuff to the likes of Hugh Macdiarmid or Sydney Goodsir Smith, or even, I hear you mutter it, dear old William Topaz McGonagall. But let me segue neatly into an encomium on those two former poets, particularly Smith. I came across his writing in my late teens and was captivated by the contrast with the run of the mill Scots verse I had been used to in the anthologies and old books on my mother’s shelf – which of course were somewhat kailyairdy, to say the least. But here was a new kind of writing that mirrored the modern productions of such as Ezra Pound & Co., while being evidently Scottish to the core. I naturally have grown a bit more sophisticated since then, but I still quote Under the Eildon Tree to myself, and reach for my first edition to leaf lovingly through the pages.
Bards hae sung o lesser loves
Than I o thee,
O my great folly and my granderie.