Document 509

The Humpty Dumpty Man

Author(s): Sheena Blackhall

Copyright holder(s): Sheena Blackhall

This document contains strong or offensive language


Humpty Dumpty

At a gaitherin o the glitterati,
Efter the raw salmon wis communin
Wi a daud o mutton,
A heeze o peas
An a purple pudden,
A fooshty orral hytered tae his feet
An reesed oot standard English ower Scots.

'It's so refreshing.' sez he
'To hear a language everyone understands'.
Rinnin up the flag for Reductionism,
Aabody reduced tae a twa three nasal whines.

On the road hame,
Banquo's bogle jyned me on the bus.

'Egg heids like thon,' quo the ghaist in ma lug
'Think spikkin Scots makks ye a tartan numpty.'

Bit I said, 'Na, a shitehoose
Is the same in ony leid.
Fit maitters are the harns inbye yer heid
Scots is a waa that isnae gaun tae faa
I'd raither be a steen, than Humpty Dumpty'.

Leopard an Lion

Leopard an Lion gurred ower a bane:
'City or kintra, fa's greater claim
On the fowk o this lan. Hame, or Embro sae braw?'
Leopard an Lion... it's cauld in the snaw
O Scotlan, far pickins are lean-like an bare.
Leopard an Lion maun learn tae share.


Rockabye baby, your cradle is blue,
No gold at the end of the rainbow for you.

You are the well where the icicles fall,
The mist on the moor scarcely noticed at all.

You are the echo that nobody hears,
A ragbag of troubles. A patchwork of fears.

You are the footsteps that melt in the snow,
Unnoticed, unfollowed. None care where you go.

Rockabye baby, your cradle is blue.
Lead is your birthstone. Your emblem is rue.

Ward Off

Rock, rock. Shut up shop.
Hide, hide. Hurts inside

Cutting skin, boundary's thin.
Broken sleep. Nightmares creep.
Tightrope walk. Family talk.

Reason, fused. Speech confused.
Hermit shell. Getting well.

Wax and wane. Home again.
One in four. Revolving door.


Bulldozer music's a Panzer tank offensive
Matchsticking conversations.
Groupie girls, faces like Halloween moons,
Are using their unripe sex to trick or treat.

Stormy Spring

"How are you loved?"
As a purse loves plunder.
As daffodils shrink from the crack of thunder

"What do you wish for?"
That I could be snow
So no-one could follow where ever I go.


At two, he filled my lap
My little dough-boy
Little man-seed.

His curly hair smelt fine
As new-baked bread.

Mittra at a Bus Stop

Slight as a wishbone
Mittra at a bus stop
Carrying two white bags

In Transit

"How has your day been?" asks the waiting dark.
"Rest for you must be weary", sings the chair,
When, like a split backed beetle, I leave the town,
Break from the tides of traffic flowing there.

An so I sit, like a pebble on Time's shore
Washed by the tide, up in the moonlit room,
Watching the stars drop onto the river's back.
They ride the waves, so bright, so full of joy,
Like a tribe of gypsies shining gold and black.


A fir-branch wigwam, smelling of pine and green,
The den was a hideaway, a shadow wrap-around.

Through chinks of childhood, I watched a hoodie crow
Peck the eyes from a still-born lamb in the field.

Its cold caw spelt out needs that were legitimate

E-mails in Purgatory

Good afternoon sir. Can I help you? Half an hour you've tried to call?
I'm a typist not a robot. Just be glad you're through at all!

You were passed to Bob in Finance? No excuse for being gruff!
You're the man who sorts the plumbing? Heavens! Now I've cut you off.

Karen's invoices are ruined? Why's it always ME they blame?
A mere foible that I date-stamped over every sender's name.

Mr Khan in Abu Dhabi lodged complaints with our HQ,
When I faxed him Nigel's time sheets, destined for Rosheen in Crewe.

Where's I.T.? My screen is empty. This computer's crashed, quite gone.
Thank you Kieren for observing that I'd never switched it on.

Why is Matthew so crestfallen? No one said his favourite mug
Was the one I broke on Friday... Tell him he can use the jug.

No I don't shout down the pager. No I didn't deafen Joan.
She's off sick because I stapled her left finger to the phone.

Now the photocopier's grounded. "Clean it" Phyllis ordered me.
Am I psychic? Who'd think Brillo ruined new technology?

Urgent e-mails all have vanished into files I never raised!
Logging off time. Halleluja. Homeward bound, the Lord be praised

The Pass-a-fist

I bide awa fae bampots. Heid bangers nip ma heid.
Haud the blanket ower the parrot's cage has aywise bin ma creed.
Causin rows in empty hooses his niver bin ma style...
Raither Minnie Moose an Bambi, than Harry Crocodile.
I'm a pass-a-fist bi natur, bit dinna ding ma bell..
Fur gin ye pit ma birse up... ye'll be in a villanelle.


A neep isnae culture-specific. Tatties are fand
Fae Spain tae Bogendreip.
It's nae foo ye parlez-vous that draps ye in the merde,
It's lack o thocht ahin the spukken wird.

Aipples gie me the pip, an grapes turn black.
I'd raither be an ingin, culturally spikkin,
The spitfire o the veg, it ay cams roarin back.

Blin Robin

Blin Robin wis a fiddler, he played his tunes sae weel,
They skipped doon tae the herbour, tae gie the waves a reel.
Syne, wi the Nor East breezes, his melodies tuik wing...
Their rhythm's in the ocean, thon tidal beat can bring
A lichtness tae the gloamin, a thrill ye'll nae forget,
Blin Robin's deid an beeriet bit his music's playin yet!


Daddylanglegs like a crane, stots agin the windae pane,
On his stilts he styters ben, wanderin willies in the fen,
Like a muckle lang giraffe ower mony legs bi hauf!

Measles, RIP

Far dae plooks an measles gyang fin they lowp aff yer face?
They hide thirsels in dumplins, the cake an pudden race.

Flee cemetaries are different, fin ye chaw a bap that's nice,
Think o the Angel bluebottles, that bizz in paradise.

Ongauns at Auchensheen

Twa mobile phones an a piper's drones sat doon tae hae a blether,
Wi a singin kettle fae Auchensheen on the state o Scotlan's weather.

A hoodie craa drooned oot them aa, their skreichin an their textin,
Wi a deefenin caa fae his orra mawe, which wis maist byordnar vexin!

Bath-Room Bogle

Doon at the foon o oor fite bath, dowpit on echt black legs,
A wyver sits wi a smirk on its mou, wytin tae gie fowk flegs.
Turn on the tap. Sweel him awa, belly oxter an lug!
Ae black wyver on echt black legs vanishin doon the plug.


Fa's that stottin ower the sna? Robin Reidbreist, roon an sma,
Wi a fire upon his sark tae licht his hoosie in the dark.

Trysy wi a Hedgehog

Dauchle awhile an gie's yer crack. Michty, siccan a jobby back!
Preens fur a sark like a besom's bristles, yer as stobby as dykeside thrissles.
Fin danger threatens, yer heid's in yer dowp. Heestergowdie, ower ye cowp.

My Wee Harmonica

My wee harmonica flashes its gap-toothed smile
Wearing its thin livery. It tastes of wood and tin
Those pigeonholes where notes fly out and in.

Ice Breaker

Ice breaking's like eating glass shortbread,
Like holding scalding tea in a knitted cup.

Adrift in the room
I make Titanic efforts to stay afloat.

After the ice-breaking, I usually drown.

Een Twa Three a-leerie

Een twa three a leerie, Bingo keeps Ma Peerie cheerie
Specially fin fuskers beerie cream aff aa the gravy.

Een twa three a leerie, dole cheat mannie wi a query
Fan did she see Mr Peerie? Hear he's jyned the Navy!

The Rain in Toon

The rain in toon cams teemin doon,
It weets wir hats an heids.
A richt doonpish is gran fur fish,
Bit fowk hae ither needs.

Thor, silkie, kelpie, keep yer bree
Fur poorin ower the flooers,
They've greater need o't. Gie's the sun
Tae wyle the Simmer oors.

Hauf Licht

Hauf licht. Aa's blae
Mochie Ben. Misty brae
Weety smirr. Fyaachie day.

Fire (i)

Electric's fine fur heatin haas
Gie me real fire... it his baas.

Fire (ii)

I'm oot. She thocht she caged me, that the stove wis aff at the waa...
Bit I lowped fae the cooker, a flame sae wee,
I'm reid an I'm hett an I'm rinnin free,
I've brunt the mat that lay in the haa,
I've brunt the picturs... hear them faa,
I've brunt the bed an the cot sae sma,
Birssle an hiss I've brunt them aa!
The wummin thocht she'd caged me...
I'm oot an rinnin free.

The sofa's blaik an rikkin,
As I daunce fae cheer tae fleer.
I sterted aff as a spirk o flame,
Sae wee that naebody spakk ma name.
Noo 'Fire', they skirl an 'Fire' they skreich,
As I lick the reef wi ma dragon's braith.
The hoose is aisse an kinnlin,
An I am the maister here!

Wolf Fussle

Wolf-fusslin, quine, is nae a slur,
Ower seen men winna even gurr.
Takk aa the fussles ye can muster,
An auld wife winna raise a fusker.

Widlan Smachrie

A wasps' nest, tapsalteerie in the win,
Is teem o stingers. Pyoke o paper pooches
Sae delicate, the ghaistly gollach chaumers!

Smachrie o fur an wippit tooshys o strae,
A nest that held a wheeplin blackie's breist
Is showdin in the boughs, a wicker coracle.

Howked clean's a neep at eildritch Halloween,
A hurcheon's prods. Its tenant's in the mools.

The siller birk sproots umpteen elfin mowsers,
Green halflin bum-fluff hingin fae its chooks.
Taedsteels blicht teh sides o timmer trunks

Far twa birks blythely sweyed sax year thegither,
An aixe replaced their reeshlin leaves wi silence.
Twa jewel boxes ryped an stown awa.

Advice tae a Hyterer

The leerip o a skelpin bough, the lapper o the loch,
The wallop o a cuddy's tail, drooth-slokin fae a troch,
Hillwauker... tie yer pynts richt weel, muir roadies can be roch.

An Eden Sky

An apple tree holds up an Eden sky,
A beetle treads the hammock of a leaf,
Three birdcalls bubble up from hidden beaks,
A shadow paints a boulder dapple grey.

A cumulus of midges haunt the hedge,
A spider topples spinning down a thread,
The sun's a camera, opening and clicking,
Snapping a rhododendron's pink flamenco.

View from a Six Pane Window

Foxglove sweeps the air from one grey slate.
Cherry shuffles its leaves, a card sharp ace.
Far away in the woods,
A lone leaf, falling, gently parts the air.
Looking through the window this fine morning,
My eyes stop by the loch,
As necessary's a hammer to a nail.

A kettle fills with rain behind the nettles.
Sun slips from the grass, a disc on fire.
A ewe is grazing grass beneath an oak

A fly walks on a cloud, black legs tread glass.
Sleek as the Fuhrer's moustache, a slug blows bubbles.
Newts navigate the oxo soup of water.

Draiglin Skirts Gaun Ben the Muir

Draiglin skirts gaun ben the muir,
Treelipin hem, bi the weety linn,
Drawn bi the skelp o the drappin wave,
Breengin brakk-neck, ramstam din
Inno the foun o a peaty weir.

Heels that dig in the glaur, sae sweir,
Draiglin skirts gaun ben the muir
Fa dae ye gyang tae tryst wi here?

A Hint o Rain, Keith

Nests o shiny raindraps, are clouds baith grey an roon,
Wytin ower the toon o Keith tae shakk their cargo doon.

Nests o shiny raindraps, leaky as a seive,
Wytin fur a thunnerstorm tae cam an shakk its neive.

Reid Admiral

Twa Geisha sleeves, jyned wi a pitmirk preen,
The wippit furlieorum o her tongue
Is a lasso fur catchin thrums o gowd.

Station Flower Boxes

Like penguins in the zoo,
Caged flowers stand to attention,
Bagged by British Rail.

Blaik Lichtnin

The heich tree's boughs are lichtnin stangs that forkit wins are knappin,
As caul an snell the gurly clouds, wi storm the Bens are happin.

The reets are anchored in the grun, far mowdies howk the yird.
The bog an fen, fower cheenges ken, rowed in the Sizzens gird.

Fowk steer like wasps roon hinneypot, here, in the simmer weather.
They cooer awa in the Deid Thraa, fin Winter wauks Balquidder.

Wintry Spell

Dark swirls around like Nefertiti's veils,
Stars are snow-seeds sown in the black sky,
Moon snags on spindly trees. Lace ruffs ring stones.
Tracks leave a tell-tale flurry in the briers,
Branches creak like doors on rusty hinges,
Ivy's hooked on oak, can't get enough of it.
The loch has a footpath gleaming on its waves,
Like paw-prints left behind by a cold hare
After the frost has touched his feet with fire.
The shivering robin huddles in its nest
Sealed in the pond, dead newts have turned to ice.


Fin Autumn flichters ben the streets, her plumage will be reid.
She willnae stop fur car nor man. She willnae prigg fur breid.

She'll nest in sheuch, in stank, in drain. She winna beg nor busk,
Fur Autumn in her wizzent cleuk hauds seeds in ilkie husk
That keep the infant tree an flooer safe coddlit till the Spring...
Fin Autumn flichers ben the streets, new life's aneth her wing.


Lilac, lavender and thrush,
These are images that rush
Forward, heralds of the Spring.
Flags, that wave like anything!

Meeting the Deadline

Everything's black and white
When you're high and dry
It's a real nail biter
On the edge
On the ledge of nowhere
Wouldn't it be easy?
Wouldn't it though?
To let go
To chop
To drop
Old unhappy spaces

Scotch on the rocks
Meeting the deadline
Quick time
One way ticket
Full stop.

The Lady of the Loch

The way to the loch is hidden by starts and stoppings,
By blink-bright sun. By a blackbird's chirps and hoppings.

The lady of the loch is not for knowing,
Though her skirts are full and her petticoats are showing.

Don't be conned by the flash of a lacy frill,
For the heart of the lady's's rot gut still.
The blood that runs in her veins is cut throat chill.

Aeons crumble to must in her in her murky bed,
Though the moon's her pillow and stars shine round her head.

The Big Round Moon

Last night the big round moon walked down to the loch
Carrying stars to drop into the dark nest of my heart.

Today in the rattle bag of the train's motion,
They tap against my ribs, eager to tumble out
Eager to shine once more before my eyes.

Time the File

Time wears you down to dust.
Ideals enter ancestral vaults.
Hope sips a double brandy, packs and flits.

One day a postcard will come, addressed to you from the past
In your own hand, and you won't even know it.
Time wears you down to dust.
The winds of change will blow it.

Conjugal Manoeuvres

Conjugal manoeuvres ceased after I was born.
Dad should have fired blanks.

The Box (a fifty word story)

I've always lived in a box. Bit of a loner. I used to sit in a corner all day. Recently, though, I fancied a change. I set off to explore my box. Guess what! Each corner was the same! Then, I noticed the box had no lid. Watch this space!


acorn oak plank
stone wall warmth
cup well fly
storm benediction grass
shout shadow whisper

Elementary, Mr Holmes

The sky is limitless. The wind horse rides it.
The sea is fathomless. The dolphin leaps it.
The land is bottomless. The mole ploughs it.

The feather and the eagle.. both, ascending
The corn and the sower, both are bending
Green force that's the beginning and the ending.

Marks and Spencers as an Insect Fetish

This morning during meditation
A cabbage white butterfly flew in.
Not cuffed away, it settled on a shirt
Sipped strange pollen, male deodorant
Pretended to be a tiepin, then flew off.


Caunles kinnle kin-rikk roon the shrine
A quine's heid boos like a snaadrap
On the fite stakk o her neck

Cross-leggit, barfit, in the shrine-room
Quaet breathin, gowden bliss in bowls
Liftin the lid on day, bubbles o thocht float aff
Like tooshts o mist.

I hae sidestepped aa connection wi the warld,
The warld that gars me tichten like a neive,
Like a cut flooer in a cleaned glaiss

Inbye, the lotus petals stert tae open,
Inbye the tarn sattles, peace grows clear.

Kidney Bean Child

Stars stare from hollow sockets.
Moon wears a sad face,
Like a woman I knew once,
Far to the North of Kindness
In a withered time and place.

When we finally parted,
Frost sat where tears should have shone.
I had rolled from her womb like a kidney bean
Gathering dust and grudges. Dry as an old bone.

It's Coming Yet

No more nine-to-fivers! Dialect make-overs...
Aerial skyway.... Intergalactic byway
Virtual reality for work and play.
For collection by the parts recycling service,
Deceased will be uplifted every Monday.

Quine wi Guitar
The curves o the guitar are smeeth,
Gracefu its thrapple, sweet its string.
It's willin fowk tae touch its sides,
The slichtest stroke will garr it sing.

Wi flooers in her tummelt hair,
Its mistress stauns, hauns on her hips.
Her derk een dinna say fit pit
The lichtsome smile upon her lips.

Her flooers will dwine, her chikks turn pale,
The quines admirers will forget her.
The broon guitar, tho plain o face,
Will age richt weel, its tunes growe better.

Mind Poem

In the lenses of the mind, thoughts are cloudy or refined
Blurred or skewed, enlarged or small. Microscopic. Ten feet tall!

Through its landscape, when disturbed, prowling tigers can't be curbed.
Sun drips blood and devils prate. Here, breeds sorrow. Here, breeds hate.
Here, no hunger after fame, wealth nor love nor high acclaim
Brings the calm that wise men find. The priceless jewel's a quiet mind.

Gin Wishes war Shelties

Gin wishes war shelties, beggars wad ride.
Gin wishes war seas, I wad leave wi the tide.
Gin wishes war tears that drapt saft as the rain,
I'd use them tae wash awa aa the warlds' pain.

Cerebral Bree

Grippin anither's haun, is nae great shakks.
Is merely pumpin win.

Hoochmagandie's a cocktail mix
O luv-juice. A quick fix.

Bit thocht, dear bocht, that bares the sel itsel
Yon's intimate fin harns thegither mell
Cerebral bree, sharin the same shell.


Grief is a trapped bird,
Beating its dusky wings
And raging, raging.


The crisp, new- minted moon shines cold and certain.
Storm clouds shatter against it, white and flaking.
In a shadow- room in the heart of the wintry town,
A child waits to be born, not of my making.

New life when your tinkling voice rings out
Like a tiny bell, as you leave the silent womb
Will you come with chains and anchors?
Will you be the one bright yarn on a damaged loom?


Friend always has six letters.
Not to me.
My friend was Jim.
His name had only three.

Mither Tongue

Scots cam fae the gut.
It cairriet a bog in its mou,
Wi a hint o furze.
It wis an emotional belch.

English was the censor,
A carving knife of a tongue.
Gaelic poured like
Honey from dead drones,
Opaque, through wax ears.

I'm happiest


Death, the cat, is stalking one of our number.
He flicks his tail, he crooks his yellow paws.
His widening maw's where all hopes come asunder,
Flesh turns to bone in the teeth of his grave jaws.

Some of his kills are sudden as a hanging,
A trap door fall from this world to the next.
Sometimes the door's ajar, he's softly tapping,
His calling card is elegant mourning text.

Hiss puss, there's plenty pickings! Choose another!
Choose hang-dog Jade, or dreary, prattling Finn!
Choose snuffling John. Choose Jenny's half-wit brother
Draw back your claws. Choose anyone but him.

On a Roll

Barking makes me nervous.
Every fibre of my being tenses, near a bark.
I like to be stretched
Indeed, I am no slouch
I dislike change...have no desire to move.

I am easily put upon.
My character has frequently been stained
At night I dream of pastures...dewy meadows
Red wine and curry are the stuff of nightmare.

I am Axminster, mutton made fleece.
I, the descendent of Baa whom Abraham slew,
May be on a roll.

Ferry Trip

Da sun's nae s heenin, there's a pick o wind
Da froddin sea aboot, that brakks an swalls

Night vaporised like smoke on a Norseman's pyre.
Dawn's lit lamp was huge.

Leaving the harbour,
The Shetland ferry bites through fable- fathoms.

A grazing sheep becomes a blur on stilts,
A seagull opens its beak,
Empties its screech into a cold morning.

Here, fjords are doors ajar from land to sea
Haar wets the decks, drapes ocean on ship's mast.


English bounds like a puppy
Wearing a tartan collar

The Burn's Monologue

Drip slip dripple drapple
Lit split lit split
Splat stars trippy tars
Splat stars trippy tars
Linn spin linn spin
Liddleplump liddleplump
Plupple plupple plupple
Blub blub blub blub
Whimple whumple whump whoop

A Ferry of Poems has docked at Blaikie's Quay

Some poems travel steerage,
Others are first class.

Some halloo from the deck,
Waving a red silk hanky.

Some run up the mast,
In strictly semaphore order.

The captain encourages stowaways
Slipping aboard at midnight
He never closely studies their credentials
Grateful, when his table's full of guests,
Taking his mind off storms,
The attentions of sharks.


Beneath their creamy breasts,
Seagulls tuck their legs like resting oars,
Sky-high tea cosies, beaks split in eggy smiles.
Fleets of them anchor on roofs
Warming their feathery bums.

Points of the compass They slip-stream air,
Cliff skimmers, cloud swimmers, screechers,
Waddlers on divers' flippers.


Old grey donkey cropped the grass
Slowly, with yellow teeth,
Then lifting its head,
It peered in the trough's foul mirror
Before it began to walk on a path of palms
Tramping tomorrow's ashes into the earth
Hosannas cheering its hairy legs
Bearing their burden on towards a tree.

Barking Dog Haiku

Thought's a barking dog.
Today my mind is tethered,
Chasing its own tail.

Can of Worms

The can of worms held its secret for 50 years.
One day the tin rusted,
Out flew a May-fly brother wonderful as Troy.
Who'd ever have thought
We'd stewed in the same juice!

Portrait of Self as a Dead Bat

Look at the bat on the sofa!
Dead, by its own misogyny.

Its claws are cut to the quick.
It used to plan an itinerary, then stay home,
Make a few turns of the ceiling,
Watch the stars through glass.

Now, its wings are packed like an old umbrella
Left over from somebody's funeral.
Its tin tack eyes are wide,
But sightless, sightless,
An old bat there on the sofa,
Still as a doll that nobody really wanted.

Bird in a Dark Room

No-one ever told it the hunter'd been dead for years.
A fresh world turned on its axle,
A new sun shone,
So it continued to flutter its wings
Down behind a press in terrible darkness.

No-one got close enough to clean its wounds,
Too raw for tenderness, too sore for touch
And so the bird, Despair could not move on
Out through the open door
Up to the sky where swallows swooped in joy.

A Scottish Cashier's Fantasy

Oh Sikh with black moustaches, and turban gold and red,
You'd make a lovely parcel to unwrap in some bed.
Not mine, of course. My boyfriend works with Lloyd's TSB,
But- purely out of interest- what do you think of me?
I'm on the Atkins diet. I'm on the pill as well.
My salary is rising. I'm solvent. Can you tell?
My hair is layered and tinted. Flight's called! I've got to go!
Now, Sikh with black moustaches, we'll never ever know.

Twa Wishes

1: Scots Receptionist's Wish
I wish I wish fae foun tae croun
The Sun-Bed God could bake me broon

2: Thai Tour Guide's Wish
I wish I wish with all my might
One day I'd wake and I'd be white

Bangkok Get-abouts

Buddhist monk in saffron robes and trainers
Cycles past, his air-waves plugged into peace,
Overtaken by a Bangkok tuk-tuk
Three speed trip:
Turn right, turn left, turn over.

Elephant squashes a carry-out,
Sways out behind a street of open shops
Sucks pollution up like a vacuum
Sashaying heavily into a dead end.

Across the Braid Atlantic: tune: Corachree

Across the braid Atlantic, there's siller an there's gear,
Across the braid Atlantic, there's industry an steer,
Across the braid Atlantic, there lies a steeny foun,
The stoory lair o grief an care far the twin touers call doon.

The quine at the computer, the porter in the haa,
The skiffie booin ower her cloot, heid bummers heich an braa,
The lover wi the diamond ring he'd niver live tae gie
Aa wheeched awa in thon firebaa fur ilkie lan tae see.

The chat room an the internet far fortunes they are won,
Held oot nae sanctuary fin the touers struck the grun,
As faimilies watched aa hopes war dashed fin fowk fell throwe the air,
Likes files deleted fae a screen they wadna see nae mair.

Across the braid Atlantic the pouers that shakk the warld,
Tae commerce an tae indusry, tae progress they are thirled,
Fit price is profit, fame an gain, fin Sorra weirs the croon?
Fur trust wis tint, wi fire blinnt, fin thon twa touers cam doon.

Hate crosses ilkie boundary it disna weir a face,
It disnae see a citizen, it anely sees a race.
It disnae coont the penalty o fit its minions de,
An noo it stalks the thoroughfares far hawk an eagle flee.

This warld o yird an ocean, it birls like a baa.
Its big eneuch fur continents, bit whyles its unca sma.
Fin lions roar fae desert tents can we ignore the soun?
Or wish awa fit brocht thon faa that shook the mapamoun?


Arriving is a steen drapped in a pond
The ripples brakk in, nae oot

Far the Heather Briers

The bawd gaes breengin ower the park as cloudy August clears,
An syne the Dee sets claim on me; it's far the heather briers.

The roddens boo, wi berries fu, each fir the emerald weirs,
The ernes glide far rainbows bide hyne far the heather briers.

Spring may be brawe fin breezes blaw, the wid wi blossom steers,
The hairst is best wi ripeness blest, it's fin the heather briers.

The barley broon is bendin doon, the grain it shines like tears.
The hinney bee wauchts ower the lea, roon far the heather briers.

I've wauked the stran o furreign lan, ower fremmit paths an muirs,
Gie me the stag an steeny crag, up far the heather briers.

As Time wins roon tae cut me doon, wi'ts deidly prunin shears,
I winna lie neth coastal sky, bit far the heather briers!

Scotch Missed

I am a mythical Scot, I niver read Kant or Jung.
I'm hung like a haggis aneth my kilt, which I ayewis weir wi a West Coast lilt
The laird o the ludicrous up tae the hilt, beer belly wi hauf a lung.

I am a mythical Scot, a Disneyland-Scott amalgam,
I swallae rna parritch wi fusky, as I stick on a Corrie's album.
I am a mythical Scot, sae mind yer fuckin langwitch!
Wi smack in rna stream o consciousness, I'll gie ye a knuckle sandwitch!

I am a mythical Scot, a Jekyll an Hyde persona.
I'm neither here nur there. I'm Charm, wi a Carcinoma!

Rev. John Skinner (1721-1807): tune: The Flower o the Quern

Fae Balfour's Braes tae the Howe o Echt the Skinner faimly cam,
Tae makk their wye on a dominie's pye at the fit o the Barmekin.
At thirteen years, the auldest son pit on the scarlet goun,
In Marischal's steer, tae gaither lear as a Bayjan in the toun.

Fin he quit thon waas tae Kemnay's haas he set aff tae earn his breid,
Syne at Monymusk, he'd tae rise an busk fin Sir Archie Grant decreed
That he maun dine an sup gweed wine wi the laird an his fine ladye,
An a great strathspey wis born thon day aboot fowk fa'll ne'er agree.

Tae the icy flowes o the Shetlan voes he sailed tae Scalloway,
There his sweethairt won, far a Viking sun shines ower the skerries grey.
In Meldrum toun he set him doun, wi faith an a Christian zeal,
Tae read the wird o the Risen Lord wi peats an a pucklie meal.

Syne he fand a reest as a pairish preist, in the leylans o Langside,
An the Bethle'em star, throw the skaiths o war, blessed the Reverent an his bride.
Fin his chapel brunt, defeat he scornt tae preach bi a tree ootbye,
An the verses flew fae his pen sae true, they're as fresh as the buds in Mey.

Wi bairns an sang his hame wis thrang, wi Scots an the Latin wild,
Till wi wecht o years an a rowth o tears they'd tae kist him in the yird.
Bit we canna tyne, fur we'll aywis myne, the yowe wi the crookit horn,
An the weel-lued chiel, wi the hairt sae leal, the airt far the sangs war born.

Aphrodite's Anklebiter

High noon in thundery grass. Aphrodite's anklebiter,
Cupid, has chosen a flower fit for a Valentine.
Violet, velvet face formed like a heart,
Has one dark eye that winks from its creamy centre,
With spiky lashes of jet on stalks of green.
Thornless and delicate, subtler than the rose.

The Wids Spikk Oot

We hae heard the cooncil planners, will come here wi rules an spanners,
Bringin saws tae cut us doon, flattenin wids tae swall the toun.
Brither Brummil, scrat the jyners, teir the plumbers an designers
Holly, caa the hard hats aff, ilkie haimmer-haudin nyaff.
Sister Tod eat up the sannies o the architecture mannies
Brither Spider gie them flegs. Sister Hedgehog powk their legs.
They wid pit a multistorey far the beech tree in her glory
Shelters birdies, squirrels, ants. Forkies, nest inside their pants!
Doon the braes o wyvin girse, they wad bigg an underpass
We'd appeal tae Holyrood, Brocks an Hoolets, gin we cud.
Win an Storm an Thunner pelt them. Hailsteens wi yer anger belt them!
Drook them, sook them, cleuk them, hook them!
Let the bobbies come an book them!
For offences against trees. Save us fae the planners, please!

A Scots owersettin o the poem 'Lost' frae the North West American Indian tradition, translatit inno Inglis bi David Waggoner, chair o poetry, University o Washington.


Staun still. Staun still's a stook. The trees ayont, the buss aside ye, Arena
tint. Far e'er ye be's caad HERE
An ye maun greet it like a pouerfu stranger,
Maun prigg tae be alloued tae ken it, an be kent.
Takk tent! The wid is breathin. It is fusperin ' I hae vrocht this airt aroon
ye. Gin ye gyang awa, ye micht return sinsyne
An murmer 'HERE'.'
Nae twa trees are the same tae craikin corbie.
Nae twa branches are the same tae cutty wren.
Gin the wyes o tree or branch tae ye be fremmit,
Syne, ye are fairly tint, ayont aa savin.
Staun still. Staun still's a stook. The wid kens far ye are.
Staun still. Staun still's a stook. Let it find YE.


Sleep-Ticht Jumbo

Saftly at first, set doon his shadda in the box bed.
Takk tent o the flichterin halo roon his lanely thocht,
Ca cannie aroon the dreich lirks o his pachydermatous hap
Faain ower an inbye his shooders.
Myne, frae his tusks. A priest-like fite moat
Will creep alang the nail o yer orange pinkie.

Hooiver still ye bide, myne, that it maitters
That even the quaetest jumbos
Shoogle their trunks fin asleep.

Aroon ye, the blythe breengin o watters,
Watters o sleep,
Wytin fur the dwinin o thou crined circles
Roon the hinmaist shards o thocht
Until sleep takks ower,
An the image cams back, weariet an winkin,
An the oor purrs on, tailin aff its fringe
Wi the hinmaist last meenit reeshlin.

Hooiver little ye micht hodge is a maitter o import,
Fur elephants takk tent even fin asleep.

Fin smeethin the blanket, ca cannie gin his lug cocks
For ower an ower, heidfirst...secretly...
Ower the rugged tartan plaid, he's luggin in, wide- reengin,
Aa the unkent neuks o the deid knowe
That he kens the oots an ins o.

Hooiver little ye micht hodge,
Is a maitter o import
Fin a jumbo's sleepin.

The Fairmer Spikks tae the Scholar (after Alojz Gradnik 1882)

Aneth, I finn the solid grun,
An coontless starnies see owerheid.
Foo dae ye show tae me insteid
Abysses anely.... derk, profun?

Far div ye staun? I've aften thocht,
Yer bit a spider in a neuk.
Ae roch win's reivin cleuk,
An aa yer spinnin's gaen fur nocht.

I lue the yird, the starns that flame
An glimmer ben the skinklin nicht,
An haein faith, I ken nae fricht,
Fin on the road that takks me hame.

I'm weel acquant wi Yule, wi Spring,
I ken that Time will on me turn,
Bit fin I cross the dowie burn
Daith will uplift me, on his wing.

Forge me on yer Anvil (after Oton Zupancic)

Forge me on yer anvil, life,
Gin I'm flint, a spirk I'll makk.
Gin I'm steel, syne I shall sing.
Gin I'm, glaiss, syne I shall brakk.

The Bonnie Fite-Haired Loon: Tune, Tramps & Hawkers

Twis on a braw sunshiny day fin blossoms brier in June,
A bairn lay in the Mither Kirk rowed in a christenin goon,
The meenister held up his haun fur fowk tae gaither roon,
Tae hear the blissins heaped upon the bonnie fite-haired loon.

He toddlit at his mither's skirts, his faither's pride an joy,
An innocent an merry wis his ilkie bairnhood ploy,
A tender sprig o Scotia's stock, saft curls upon his croon,
A rosy future at the feet o the bonnie fite-haired loon.

A halflin grown he raxxed his wings wi ithers o his age,
An mony's the time his mither wished his hame cud be a cage,
Tae keep him safe fae aa the wrangs that crowd like craws aroon,
Oh it's nae easy brinbrin lip a bonnie fite- haired loon.

A young man noo he trod the streets his fortune fur tae try,
Far dealers in the shaddas stalin, their pysonous gear tae ply,
His friens fan hames an destinies in different pairts o toon,
His anely luv wis heroin the bonnie fite-haired loon.

Ae nicht the streets o Aiberdeen aroon the Music Haa
War thrang wi fowk in festive mood, in festive claes sae braw,
As tae the glitterin orchestra decked oot fae heid tae foun,
They walked, bit didna drap a luik at the bonnie fite-haired loon.

He coories like a cooshie doo or seagull in the street,
A hudderie heeze o yirdy cloots, at the city's passin feet,
In mony's the door his kind ye find, ye dinna daur luik doon,
Fur fear ye see a face ye ken, some frien or neebor's loon.

Ay, Aiberdeen's o granite biggt an steeny is its hairt,
As far frae Tilly tae Steenhive are rich an puir apairt,
Sae if yer family's safe an warm, jist takk it as a boon,
Fur they micht aa as easy faa as the bonnie fite-haired loon.

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The Humpty Dumpty Man. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 19 April 2024, from

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Information about Document 509

The Humpty Dumpty Man


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 2004
Word count 6223

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Self: Limited Edition / Thistle Reprographics
Publication year 2004
Place of publication Aberdeen

Text type

Other Collection of poems


Author details

Author id 112
Forenames Sheena
Surname Blackhall
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Brought up Protestant, now Buddhist
Occupation Writer and supply teacher
Place of birth Aberdeen
Region of birth Aberdeen
Birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Aberdeen
Region of residence Aberdeen
Residence CSD dialect area Abd
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Manager of Deeside Omnibus Service
Father's place of birth Aboyne
Father's region of birth Aberdeen
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Private Secretary
Mother's place of birth Aberdeen
Mother's region of birth Aberdeen
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gaelic; Scottish Gaelic Yes Yes Yes Yes Elementary. Gaelic choir. Poetry.
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes