Author(s): Mr John Waddell
Copyright holder(s): Mr John Waddell
Tae Ma Muse
Come back, come back, ma errant Muse!
Ye've been awa ower lang.
Ye besom, why dae ye refuse
tae help me wi a sang?
Ma pencil's sherp, the paper's white;
expectantly they wait,
an A'm fair fidgin fain tae write
whitiver ye dictate.
Here at ma desk A sit an brood,
aye seekin somethin new,
but ach! ye arenae in the mood
tae versify the noo.
But Muse, ma future's no sae blue
an bleak as ye suppose,
for if ye comena p.d.q...
A'll tak tae writin prose.
A Message for R. Burns
from A. Mouse
Och Rab, ye gied me sic a fricht
When bang! ye burst wi noise an licht
Through ma fine roof, sae snug an ticht
Intae ma den,
An whaur A am tae bide the nicht
A dinnae ken.
But certes, Rab, A'll gie ye thanks
Ye didnae chase me ower the banks
For wi yer lang an limber shanks
Ye'd shairly catcht me,
An wi yer pattle twa guid spanks
Wad hae dispatched me.
An thank ye for yer kindly thocht
For me - altho gey dearly bocht.
Co-operation aye A've socht,
A'm prood tae say it.
An if o mine ye're wantin ocht
Ye're welcome tae it.
But dinnae fash yersel for me -
Gang yer ain gait and let me be,
An if ye'll only mak me free
O yaird and stack
A'll winter fine. Come hairst, maybe
A'll pey ye back.
But Rab, ye're richt. It's truth ye spell!
Whit lies afore us nane can tell.
Ye micht no hae sae lang yersel,
An whit's ensuin,
Whether ye are for Heaven or Hell,
Will no be plooin.
So this is aw the thanks A get,
wha kept ye snug an warm.
A sheltered ye through Winter's wet
an this is aw the thanks A get.
There's shairly some wear in me yet
tae thole anither storm,
but this is aw the thanks A get
wha kept ye dry an warm.
A cloudless sky, a frosty nicht,
nae mune, bit och! the stars wir bricht.
The Milky Way stretched ower the sky,
Orion an his Belt forbye,
the Seevin Sisters an the Ploo,
the Twins, an aw the heavenly crew,
sae bricht that A could plainly see
the hameward road ahead o me.
Then, as A lookit tae the toon,
sudden a star cam dartin doon
atower the lift, a shinin spear,
tae fade awa an disappear.
Syne, as A gaped, there cam anither,
then twa, or three, or fower, thegither,
an eerie sicht, wi neer a soun
fae the bricht legions streakin doon.
The heavenly spearsman didnae tire
o castin javelins o fire,
far mair than A could coont or guess,
an yet there wis nae star the less.
Bit tho A marvelled at the sicht
A couldnae stey an gawp aw nicht.
Hameward A gaed, bit aften stood
tae watch in awe the fiery flood,
the flecks o flame that grew tae flare
an fizzle oot in middle air.
Got tae ma door, A turned an took
a lang an longin hinmaist look,
syne turned the sneck an opened wide
tae licht, an freens, an fireside.
The Road Hame
The miles fae schule, they wirnae lang
when A wis souple, young, an strang,
when simmer sun shone on the braes,
an soarin larks sang hymns o praise.
In autumn, as it sank tae rest,
the sun set fire tae aw the west.
It gied the fields a rosy glow
as hameward set we daunered slow.
But come the cauld o winter time
when dykes an fields wir white wi rime
the chilblains on ma hauns an feet
wir sair eneuch tae gar me greet.
A lang road then, when limpin lame,
sair trauchled, thankfu tae win hame,
A snecked the door, shut oot the storm,
an socht the fireside, safe an warm.
Ma mither wisnae free wi hugs
an whiles a skelp wad warm ma lugs,
an sae, ae day when A wis wee,
A said, "A'll rin awa tae sea."
"Aye," said ma mither, "that's aw richt,
bit see ye manage hame the nicht;
an here's a piece tae fill yer wame
an keep ye warm till ye get hame."
"Hoo big's the sea?" A spiered her. "Och,
ten times as big as Foswell loch.
Bit mind the time - an watch yer feet!
Ye're no tae get yer new shune weet."
A took a thocht, "The sea's gey rough,
an cauld saut water's nesty stuff;
an in the storm ships aft gae doon
an aw the puir wee sailors droon.
Forby, the sea's gey faur awa.
A'll mebbe stey hame, efter aw."
A Scottish Villanelle
Tae write a truly Scottish villanelle
(fur nane as yet, A'm thinkin, has been writ)
tae dae the wark, wha better than masell
or hauf sae guid, sae far as A can tell?
Yer weekend poet disnae hae the wit
tae write a truly Scottish villanelle
wi rhymes that ring oot like a silver bell.
Noo if ye seek a poet wha is fit
tae dae the wark, wha better than masell?
Tae end the drouth, bring water fae the well,
A'm ready noo tae hae a shot at it,
tae write a truly Scottish villanelle.
On ma repute A dinnae like tae dwell;
A only ask ye, when the rest hae quit,
tae dae the wark, wha better than masell? -
tho man, it's hard tae get the thing tae jell.
Bit critics noo an efter will admit
tae write a truly Scottish villanelle
tae dae the wark, wha better than masell?
When weary wi the huntin
A stacher hame at nicht
A've aw the meat A'm wantin,
Gin A hae coonted richt.
A hae nae bow an arrow.
A dinnae use a gun.
A widnae hurt a sparrow,
An A dinnae hunt for fun.
It isnae elk or eland
That fills this bag o mine,
But lamb chops fae New Zealand,
An beef fae Argentine
Oor faithers took great pleasure
In huntin, wild, al fresco,
But me - A hunt at leisure
Alang the shelves at Tesco.
The Unco Sicht
Yestreen A saw an unco sicht
But seein, gin a tell,
Ye'll swear A cannae hae it richt,
A'll keep it tae masell.
A'd willin tell ye whit A saw
Gin ye wad stop an listen,
But sin ye sniff and turn awa
Ye'll ne'er ken whit ye're missin.
But this A'll say: the lamps were lit,
The mune wis shinin bricht,
When, sudden, at the gairden fitt
A saw an unco sicht.
When A wis jist a bairnie A wid rin aw roon the place.
Ma uncle said A wis sae quick he'd pit me in a race.
A'd rin tae get the messages, the twa mile tae the toon,
An three miles back - sae stiff A got, A hardly could sit doon.
Ma uncle said that A wad win a medal or a cup,
But lang afore that day wad come A gied the rinnin up.
For then A got a bicycle. It helped tae set me free,
Transportin me fae whaur A wis tae whaur A'd like tae be.
An whit a joy it wis tae me, wi strang an limber shanks,
Tae set them pedlin up an doon, an whirlin roon the cranks.
But noo the handlebars nae mair will feel ma iron grup.
Ma bike is rustin i the shed - A gied the cyclin up.
When A wis nae mair than a lad A thocht that it wis fun
Wi ither loons tae hae a drag at Churchman's No.1.
An as A grew tae be a man A thocht nae herm tae hae
A shillin pack o Player's - that wis twenty fags a day.
But sune A learnt tobacco lords were sellin me a pup.
Tae save ma money an ma life A gied the smokin up.
A thocht tae be a fermer aince, an live upon the land,
Oot in in the open air and sun - A thocht life wad be grand.
A kindly fermer took me on tae be the orra loon,
But sune A wis a laughin-stock aw roon aboot the toon.
He tellt them aw A didnae ken a ewe-lamb fae a tup.
A ken the diffrence noo, but still A gied the fermin up.
The rinnin an the bikin an the smokin noo are dune.
Tae look for lastin pleesure is jist askin for the mune.
An as A warsle on thru life A find that time'll change
The things an weys we love sae weel tae ithers, new an strange,
An awthings bricht an bonnie fate is shair tae interrup,
An aw the things we love tae dae, we'll hae tae gie them up.
Noo when A'm pechin up the brae A get gey short o braith,
An gin a heavy shoor comes on A'm feart A'll catch ma daith.
A cannae rin tae shelter as A did when A wis young,
An ilka heavin breath is like a knife intae ma lung.
Aye, noo A'm gettin on A hae a bitter brew tae sup,
An life's byordnar hard, but och! A'm laith tae gie it up.
A Cannae Be Bothered The Noo
"Here, look, John! Yer breeks are aw torn, dear
The tail o yer shirt's showin through."
"Ach, A'll see aboot it the morn, dear.
A cannae be bothered the noo."
"Hae ye seen tae oor holiday bookin?
Ye ken ye ay get in a stew."
"There's plenty o time yet for lookin.
A cannae be bothered the noo."
"Bit ye'll hae tae ring up the hotel, dear,
Tae say when oor holiday's due."
"Whit wey dae ye no ring yoursel, dear?
A cannae be bothered the noo."
"Here, John, can ye no smell the smoke, dear?
A'm feart there's a fire in the flue!"
"Ach, this is nae time for a joke, dear.
A cannae be bothered the noo."
"Oh, John, did ye pey the insurance?
It's lang past the time tae renew."
"Ye nag me beyond aw endurance!
A cannae be bothered the noo."
"It's hame tae ma mither's A'm gaein -
A'm no bidin hameless wi you."
"Ach, wumman, whitever ye're sayin,
A cannae be bothered the noo."
A'll redd up the gairden the morn -
the day A'm jist lettin it rin.
A'll pu up the weeds an A'll pit in the seeds,
an it will be braw when it's dune.
A'll see tae the shoppin the morn -
A've plenty tae feed me the day.
There's prawns in the freezer wi chips an green peas, or
A micht get a quick takeaway.
A'll write tae the faimly the morn -
A'm no ane fur rushin or hurry.
Ma breath is gey short, bit A'm pleased tae report
A'm fine, an there's nae need tae worry.
A'll see ma will altered the morn -
it's gettin a wee oot o date,
fur Albert is gane, leavin Kate on her ane,
an Tam's in an awfie-like state.
A'll gang tae the doctor the morn -
the day, A'll be takkin a rest.
A'll try tae ignore (for A've had it afore)
this naggin wee p-pain in ma ch...
Waitin by the kirk,
waitin for ma dearie,
in the Winter's mirk,
cauld an weet an weary.
Hauf past fower is gane,
five o'clock is comin.
Still A'm on ma ain -
whaur's that blastit wumman?
Sic a bonny broo!
sic a denty chassis!
Oot upon her noo -
Niver trust a lassie!
Love is hurtin sair;
there's nae pleesure in it.
A shall wait nae mair,
No anither minute.
Guid eneuch the whiles
when we meet thegither.
Aw for me her smiles -
nane for ony ither.
But it's far ower cauld
for this weary waitin.
Ach! A'm gettin auld -
A'll gie ower the datin.
Here ye are, ma dear!
Blithe am A tae see ye.
Och! A'd wait a year
for twa minutes wi ye!
Dreich an drear the nicht,
wild an weet the storm -
ye're the bonny sicht
keeps me fine an warm.
Noo here A am, set doon tae write,
Bit whit aboot evades me quite.
A'm lookin fur a spark, a seed,
Bit naethin comes intae ma heid.
A find, Wi somethin o a shock,
That A am cursed wi writer's block.
Gane is the day a thocht has been
A vision tae ma inward een.
Wi blessins on the Grace wha sent it
A'd scribble on, like ane dementit,
Fur oors, fair heedless o the clock,
An niver think o writer's block.
A wondrous epic A had planned
That nane but me wad understand.
A product suited tae the time,
It widnae scan, it widnae rhyme,
A glorious enigma, tae rock
The world - but for ma writer's block.
The anxious world'll hae tae wait
Tae learn ma masterpiece's fate.
It's somewhere in ma heid, nae doot,
If only A could get it oot,
Bit noo A'm jist a laughin-stock,
A genius wi writer's block.
A'm truly sorry ma wee verse
is no the best A've ever writ,
bit if it bothers ye, of course
ye neednae read the rest o it.
A wee thing dodgy in the rhyme
an change o metre gie yer mind a shake,
bit A cannae be perfec aw the time,
fur efter aw, we poets are only human, fur guidness sake!
[A ken the line abune is far ower lang,
bit, as A tellt ye, whiles we get it wrang.]
Lament for Ellen
Oor gentle Ellen's left us aw
Efter a fecht baith sair an lang,
Weary at last tae win awa,
Bit A wis laith tae let her gang.
Ma Ellen sweet, ma dearest dear,
It wrung ma hert tae see ye dwine.
Tae gie ye jist anither year
A wid gae forfeit ten o mine.
Ye wir ma life, ma love, ma joy,
Sae close, sae dear, A cannae tell.
Ye wir pure gold, wi nae alloy.
Ye made me better than masell.
Fu fifty year, aye side bi side,
We bore the dunts an clours thegither.
A day apairt wis sair tae bide,
Sae twined we wir wi ane anither.
Ma Ellen, ye were leal an true.
Ye lo'ed me mair than ma desert.
A wis yer sun an moon. Bit noo
Ye're gane, an och! it braks ma hert.
Here's an end tae aw oor lovin,
Here's an end atween us twa,
Here's an end tae joy in livin,
Ellen, noo that ye're awa.
Weel A kent ye tae adore me,
Weel ye felt ma love respond.
Noo alane, whit lies afore me? -
Empty days, an years beyond.
Dearest, A could niver tell ye
Aw the achin love A feel,
An the horror that befell ye
Twisted in ma hert like steel.
God, if God there be abune us,
Tak a bitter word fae me -
When they say Ye love puir sinners
A will say tae them, "Ye lee!"
Noo Ye're Awa
Noo ye're awa A'll love nae mair.
Let cauld winds blaw. Let trees gae bare.
Let winter niver turn tae spring.
Let nae flooer bloom. Let nae bird sing.
Laughter an joy there cannae be.
Sorrow an care encompass me.
Through wintry worlds A wander, lost,
Wi in ma hert eternal frost.
A Cauld Comin
Watery een an rinnin nose -
ma cauld is here, ye micht suppose,
bit ach! although ma nose keeps rinnin,
A doot it's only the beginnin.
A try tae keep as warm as toast,
bit sune A'll hae a raspin hoast.
Ye hear that rumblin in ma briest?
It's gaun tae be a week, at least!
Ode to Influenza
Awa wi ye, ye nesty bug,
A thocht A'd passed the winter snug
An cosy, influenza free.
Hoo daur ye come tae daunten me!
Yer very name can gar folk grue.
There's naebody that wants the flu.
Here in ma bed A shake an shiver,
An sweat pours aff me like a river.
A cannae sleep. A can but doze,
Ay waukin up tae dicht ma nose -
Ma nose sae sair, aw red an blue,
Wi constant wipin wi the flu
A London fog becloods ma brain.
Ma legs an airms are no ma ain.
A stot an stummle in ma walk.
Ma throat's sae sair A daurna talk.
A remedy's lang overdue
Tae win the battle wi the flu.
The doctors say they're maist desirous
O findin vaccines for the virus.
Come oan then, lads. That wad be great.
Pit oan yer skates. A cannae wait.
A'm bilin het. A'm frozen through.
A'm fair forfochen wi the flu.
In the Surgery
Losh! Whit a feck o folk
An bairns, tae, makin a din.
A think A'll jist hae a wee smoke
A whilie, afore A gae in.
Whit are they aw daein here?
The maist o them dinnae look ill.
The men are work-dodgers, A fear,
The wimmin jist wantin the pill.
That lassie there, white as a ghost -
She'd be better bidin at hame.
She shouldnae be here wi that hoast -
If A get it she'll be to blame.
A've been here for near on an hour.
It seems A'm tae wait tae the last.
A got here at quarter tae fower
An noo it's near haun twenty past.
A think they should mak it a crime
For folk that hae gey little wrang
Tae tak up the doctor's time
An keep ithers waitin sae lang.
Aye, doctor! A'm here again.
Ach, no, doc, there's nae need tae check.
A want somethin for this wee pain
In ma - no, doctor, no in the neck!
Whit are they daein doonstairs?
A cry, bit they dinnae tak heed.
A doot that there's naebody cares
Whether A'm livin or deid.
Hoo can they blether an laugh
When A'm sweatin here in ma bed?
If they wis tae find A'd gane aff
They aw wid be greetin instead.
The door bell! Someane has come in.
A winder noo, wha can it be?
Considerin aw A hae dune
They'll shairly be askin for me.
The neibors maun aw be upset
An thinkin hoo much A'd be missed,
Though for the attention A get
Ye'd think that A didnae exist.
Sune they'll be haein their tea.
A hear the clink-clatter o plates.
Bit naebody's thinkin o me,
Sae near tae the Heavenly gates.
Bit whisht! There's a step on the stair,
An noo the door's openin, wi stealth.
"Ye're waukin then, John. Wid ye care
For some tea?" "Whit! In ma state o health?"
Here comes the doctor - at last!
He isnae a minitt owre sune.
Much later, A'm shair A'd hae passed
Awa, A'm sae dwaibly an dune.
Whit's that, doc? That cannae be richt!
Sic havers is no tae be borne!
He says keep ma bed for the nicht,
An then A can get up the morn.
A'm gled ye've fund time tae look in,
Bit ye ken that A've niver liked grapes.
Thae flooers are gey dwaibly an thin -
Whit are they - some gairden escapes?
It's a gey nesty turn that A've had.
Hoo am I? Ye'll hae tae ask nurse.
There's times that A feel no sae bad,
Bit maist o the time A feel worse.
Noo here is the doctor come roon,
Bit he has nae thocht fur ma pain.
A five-minute stroll up an doon
The ward, an that's it, an he's gane.
Ach, doc, dinnae ask hoo A feel.
Ye ken that ye niver tak heed.
"Hoo are ye the day - very weel!"
Then it's on tae the next bed, wi speed.
A'm gettin on brawlie! Ma foot!!
A've got this mysterious pain.
A'm no weel enough tae gang oot,
Forbye that A live on ma ain.
Whaur dis it hurt? In ma breist...
Or is it doon here in ma...no...
A think noo ye've got it.. .at least...
it micht be a bittie below.
Ye're wantin ma bed, A can see.
That's why ye're for sendin me hame,
But mind ye o this! If A dee
A'll haud ye entirely tae blame,
I went to Dr Brown last night
To see if he could put me right.
"My hands are shaky, Dr. Brown,"
I said, "and I keep falling down."
He took my pulse and smelled my breath
And said, "Man, drink will be your death.
Have less to drink," he said to me
And so I'm cutting down on tea.
I am a wee bacterium
Ettlin tae get inside yer tum
Whaur A'll divide an multiply
Awa fae aw the cauld ootby
A dinnae mean ye ony herm -
Jist board an ludgin tur a term,
An in yer wame, sae warm an sappy,
A'll feel at hame, an unco happy.
Ye'll niver jalouse whaur A am!
It's here, among the egg an ham.
Ye neednae look. A'm far ower wee
Fur you or ony yin tae see.
A'm in this sarnie, on yer plate.
Ach, niver heed the 'use by' date,
Bit, mindin ye're a canny Scot,
(Ye've peyed them fur it!), scoff the lot.
Whit's this? It has a foosty smell?
A hivnae noticed it masel.
An jist forget aboot the taste -
Ye cannae let it gang tae waste.
Och, no! Ye daurnae! That's a sin!
Ye've gaun an couped us in the bin.
Ach, well! It's no sae bad in here.
Ye'll get yer licks anither year.
The day before Christmas, an aw through the hoose
the word had gaen roon that the reindeer wir loose.
"Jist listen," said Prancer, as gleg as ye like,
"we're fed up wi nicht-work. We're aw gaun on strike."
Fair frantic wis Santa. "Och, whit can A dae
noo A've got nae reindeer for puin ma sleigh?"
Then up spoke an Eskimo, sparky an spruce,
"Now, just for today, mind, I'll lend you a moose."
"A moose!" shouted Santa, "an whit use is that?
A moose is nae use, but fur feedin the cat!"
"I do not refer to your Scots 'moose', of course.
The moose that I speak of is big as a horse."
"Guid save us!" cried Santa, "Hoo big are yer rats?
Nae doot ye'll be needin great monsters o cats!
Bit monsters or nane, it's gey time A got started,
or aw the wee bairnies'll be broken-hearted."
"Noo hearken tae Santa," said Prancer. "He says he's
concerned fur the wee yins aw wantin thir prezzies.
Fur sake o the bairnies we'll gie ower the strikin
gin Santa will promise us extras o lichen."
Sae on Christmas Eve, gin ye glance at the sky,
ye micht chance tae see a braw sleigh sailin by,
an tak a guid look as it flees ower the hooses -
ye'll note that it's harnessed tae reindeer - no mooses.
Lament for the Decline of Belief
This modern age o unbelief
Is cause o muckle pain an grief
Tae aw guid spirits, far an near,
Especially us bogles here.
We're gey reluctant tae complain
But faith! We maun defend oor ain,
An keep oor bargain wi the deil
Tae gar guidwives an bairnies squeal.
Gane are the days - A miss them sair -
When witches flew the darklin air
An bogles had their homage due
As ony witch that iver flew.
On a dreich day wi lowrin skies
Or mirk nicht, A'd materialise.
A'd cause the lads tae lose their wits,
An frichten lassies intae fits.
Aye, Rabbie wis the lucky man,
Tae write ere oor decline began.
He kent, when we sprang oot on folk
On moonless nichts, it wis nae joke.
Wi herts maist like tae burst fae fear
They felt the deil wis hovrin near -
For ay we wrocht on his behalf
An nane but Rabbie thocht tae laugh.
It isnae fair! It isnae richt!
A cannae noo gie bairns a fricht.
A'll loom oot o the mirk like mad,
But they jist cry, "Come off it, Dad."
An when they show nae trace o fear
Whit can A dae but disappear?
An tho A use a cloud o smoke,
They think it's jist their faither's joke.
Noo auld beliefs an customs wither.
The Scots hae tint them awthegither.
A graceless, unbelievin race,
They daur defy me tae ma face.
Fae dour auld men tae lovers daffin,
Gin A appear, they burst oot laughin.
A'll haud awa tae haunt anew
In Harrow, Brent - or Timbuctu.
Nae Second Coming
Noo listen, Dad, A cannae gang
Through aw that pain again.
Ye ken last time it aw gaed wrang
Wi thae hard hertless men.
Oor message, Dad, they niver heed,
That men should aw be brithers,
An ilka lot, since A've been deid,
Keeps murderin the ithers.
Whit think ye o thir latest ploy -
"A hit! Bull's eye!" they shout wi joy
Upon their intercoms.
An think o this - it's in oor name,
The shootin, bombin, burnin.
Ach, Dad, they hae nae sense o shame -
Thae folk are no fur turnin.
Aw richt fur you tae love the world!
They niver tortured you.
Ye had nae croon o thorns curled
Aw roon aboot yer broo.
A dinnae like the world o men,
An - dinnae get me wrang -
If ye should send me there again,
Look, Dad - A winnae gang!
Hello there! Aye, jist step richt in!
Noo, whit wis your besettin sin -
women, or wine? No, dinnae tell!
It's best ye keep it tae yersel.
Doon here we hae nae need tae ken
the petty sins o Earthly men.
Yer docket tells me ye're a Scot.
Ye'll find that there's an unco lot
o fellow-countrymen aroon,
tho maist o Scots gae up, no doon.
Watch oot for English tho, an run,
for ye're ootnumbered, ten tae one.
There's aw kinds here, for it's a place
that welcomes folk o evry race,
an white or yelly, broon or black,
aince in there is nae gaein back.
Aye, here they are, an here they'll stay
until the trump o Judgment Day.
Noo dinnae scream an stamp. A doot
that winnae help tae get ye oot.
An whit wey wad ye leave? A'm tauld
that Heaven above's byordnar cauld,
an tho it's no the Grand Hotel
ye'll find it warm enough, in Hell.
A weary wind, a lowrin sky,
The day wis drear, an sae wis I.
When fae the leafless rowan tree
A lanely blackie sang tae me.
Tae me he sang. There wis nae ither.
The birds had left us aw thegither.
Nae rival answered him. Nae mate
Respondit tae his sang sae sweet.
For me, wha had nae hert tae sing.
The Winter had nae hint o Spring
Bit och! his music thrilled the air
Wi Spring tae come, an mony mair.
"Puir bird," thocht I, "Ye're aw yer lane.
A doot yer state is like ma ain.
Sweet sangs that ask for nae reply
If ye can sing, then sae maun I."
As Ah gaed doon oor avenue ae mornin in the Spring
Ah had tae stop an listen when Ah heard a blackie sing.
He sat upon a rowan tree an sang wi aw his micht,
But lookin on the grass below Ah saw an unco sicht.
Twa blackies there were fechtin sair, (but seein they were hens
They werenae really black at aw, as everybody kens).
For shair they'd got their danders up, and lockit ticht thegither
They fairly made the feathers flee wi peckin ane anither.
Ah thocht, "This isnae feminine. It's no the thing tae do.
Whit maks ye think that bird up there will fa fur ane o you?
His singin is gey bonny, aye, but mebbe it's jist blethers.
Ah'm certain shair it isnae worth ye losin aw thae feathers."
They were sae set on battle that they had nae thocht o danger
Fae me, or cat or dog, or else the feet o ony stranger.
Tae stop the birds fae fechtin Ah took ane up in ma haun.
The ither wis dumfoonered, as to say, "Noo, whaur's it gone?"
"Geraff!" Ah said. "Get oot o here! Ye heard me. Come on, moosh!"
But still it widnae shift until Ah gied it a wee push,
Then aff it flew. When Ah let free the ane Ah held an aw
The blackie in the tree gied up his sang, an flew awa.
Av coorse ye're wantin me tae pint a moral, Ah've nae doot,
Bit Ah'll jist say that fechtin's no the wey tae sort things oot.
An blackie hens: ye cannae judge a singer by his sang,
An if he flees awa - there'll be anither ane ere lang.
Mother Goose's Advice
Noo listen, goslings, gaither roon
An stop yer squabblin. Settle doon
An hearken tae yer ma's advice,
For A'm no gaun tae tell ye twice.
Ye see thae craturs on the banks,
Thae weird-like beasts wi yaird-lang shanks?
Jist swim aroon an they'll no heed ye,
But play them richt - ye'll find they'll feed ye.
There's whiles the wee yins think tae chase ye,
But haud yer grund an they'll no face ye,
Or, gin they dae, stick oot yer neck
An gie the nearest yin a peck.
The big yins, pester them enough,
They'll throw ye bits o bread an stuff
The best tae try are aulder folks
Wi sandwiches in plastic pokes.
The auld, an wee yins, think it's grand
Tae haud oot somethin in their hand,
For ye tae tak - it's safe tae risk it.
Ye'll find it's cake or tasty biscuit.
Whit can we dae in recompense?
Ye gormless gosling, whaur's yer sense?
Up on the bank, whaure'er we pass,
Dae we no fertilise the grass?
The Wee Bird and the Pussy Cat
The wee bird sat in the rowan tree,
Singin, "There's nae pussy cat can catch me."
"Think ye sae?" thocht the creepin cat,
"A widnae be sae shair o that."
Wi that the cat made a michty jump,
But she missed, an fell in a thistle clump,
An the wee bird cam off awmaist hale,
Tho it lost a feather fae oot its tail.
"My," said the bird,"Ye gied me a fricht,
Bit it's you will hae sair banes the nicht."
"Awa," said the cat, "an haud yer blethers.
Dae ye think A wantit a moothfae o feathers?"
A'd hardly settled tae ma work
Or turned a divot Wi ma fork
When there wis Robin, watching me
Oot o his bricht, black-button ee.
He fluttered roon, fae twig tae twig,
Tae supervise, an watch me dig.
"Robin," A said, "it isnae me,
A'm weel aware, ye've come tae see,
For tho ye mark ma ivry move,
A ken it isnae dune for love,
But ilka turf that A turn ower
Ye look for somethin tae devour."
"Ach!" Robin said, "It isnae greed -
A've aw ma squawlin bairns tae feed.
Thae hungry hatchlings in the nest
Gie ma puir wife an me nae rest.
Gin A'd foreseen sic darg an strife
A'd bided single aw ma life."
Said I, "Noo Robin, fine ye ken
A braw cock robin needs a hen,
An love's the very breath o Spring -
It fills yer hert, an gars ye sing."
"Aye," Robin sighed, "Nae doot yer richt,
But A'll be gled tae roost the nicht."
Ma robin likes his porridge
as weel as ony Scot.
He hasnae far tae forage
when A clean oot ma pot.
He watches ower his table
fae ma auld aipple tree,
a perch whaur he is able
tae keep a check on me.
A winnae keep him waitin
afore he gets his share,
but robin isnae blate in
his shrill requests for mair.
The pile is sune diminished -
it disnae tak ower lang -
an robin, when he's finished,
rewards me wi a sang.
Come, aw wee birds an fellow-speugs,
Come, gaither roon. Lend me yer lugs.
It's fine an clear that things gae wrang -
we hardly noo can raise a sang;
no, scarce a twitter or a tweet
fae ony speug in ony street.
The times thirsels wir bad enough,
the winters lang, the simmers rough,
bit man has made it ten times waur -
aye, he has much tae answer for.
He's taen a scunner noo tae weeds,
forgettin their nutritious seeds,
an he directs his spray-gun heid on
aw the plants we used tae feed on.
A'll grant it maks the verges neat,
bit noo there's naethin there tae eat.
Aye, shairly somethin maun be dune
tae save us birds, or very sune
we'll fade awa, afore men's een,
wi neer a speugie tae be seen.
Noo listen, men, tae whit we're sayin,
an tak a thocht tae whit ye're daein -
an gie ower this incessant sprayin.
Sam Speugie's Sad Song
A saw a speugie clingin
The holly leaves amang,
An waefu wis his singin,
An this is whit he sang:
Oh, sorry for oor sinnin
That's brocht this fearfu curse,
Was bad fae the beginnin,
An aye it's growin worse.
A saw ma freens aw deein
As ane bi ane they fell.
Noo here's an end o fleein -
A'm no sae weel masel.
Nae mair ye'll rouse fae sleepin
An, welcome tae yer lugs,
Admire the cheerfu cheepin
O flocks o freenly speugs.
Nae mair ye'll see us flutter,
Dry bathin i the dust,
Or squabblin i the gutter,
Or fechtin ower a crust.
Noo is it in the watter,
Or somethin in the feed?
But sune it wullnae matter -
Yer speugs wull aw be deid.
The Cuckoo On Foswell Hill
The April air wis dowie, dank, an still,
when in the leafy darkness o the wood
a lanely cuckoo called fae Foswell hill,
an then a blackie, wi his mellow trill,
sang tae his mate an aw her hungry brood.
The April air wis dull an dank, but still
the blackie sang. His music seemed tae fill
the air wi messages hauf unnerstood.
A lanely cuckoo called fae Foswell hill,
an aswerin the blackie sang, tae spill
his golden notes. In silence that ensued
the April air wis dowie, dank, an still.
A huntin kestrel hovered for a kill,
an whaur the trees in serried order stood
a lanely cuckoo called fae Foswell hill.
As daylicht faded an the air grew chill
the darklin shadows brocht a sombre mood.
The April air waxed dowier; but still
the lanely cuckoo called fae Foswell hill.
Lament for a Pet Rabbit
The rabbit lopin ower oor green
he wis the finest o them aw,
wi his white jeckit, shinin clean,
an troosers, rabbit grey, but braw.
Oor twa-three cats he didnae heed,
nor yet oor cairnies, wild an yappy.
Aye, he wis brave, but noo he's deid,
oor puir auld Mappie.
Oor Mappie aye wis clean an neat
but kept his feelins tae himsel.
He'd come when there wis ocht tae eat,
but did he love us? Wha could tell?
Whiles he wad let ye stroke his fur
an gie him lettuce, green an sappy,
but och! a rabbit cannae purr,
an nor could Mappie.
He wis a rabbit fu o sense
an lovin life, like me an you,
but ae sad day, ayont the fence
we fund him, stiff, an wet wi dew.
But A'll tak grandfaither's advice
an no be greetin sair for Mappie,
for he's in rabbit paradise,
an unco happy.
Mither said, "Dinnae gulp yer food,
an dinnae stare at fowk It's rude!"
An sae A sit here in ma place
an niver look in ony face.
A keep on glowrin roon the room,
ma thrapple dry, ma belly toom.
A daurna eat - A'm feart tae risk it!
A jist keep nibblin at ma biscuit.
Bit whit's adae? A cannae see
whit wey the fowk aw stare at me!
"Mither, can A sclim
the aipple tree?"
"Na, na, ma dawtie -
ye're far ower wee."
"Mither, A can sclim
the aipple tree,
for faither says, "Ay" -
Weel, the mair fule, he!"
"Mither, A fell doon
fae the aipple tree."
"Awa an tell yer faither,
an dinnae bother me."
A'll tell ye a secret -
jist pin back yer lugs -
atween you an me
an ma twa wally dugs.
A'll tell ye ma secret,
bit tell me yours first,
an oot wi it quick noo,
or mebbe A'll burst.
Come oan wi yer secret
or A'll haud awa...
Och, lassie! that isnae
a secret at aw.
A'd gie ye ma secret
bit mebbe ye'd tell,
sae A'll jist be keepin
it aw tae masell.
Fair Play (for Fitba Owners)
A brocht oot ma fitba
an went tae the park.
A thocht we'd get playin
until it grew dark.
Sune twa teams o laddies
wir sorted oot fine,
bit A let them ken
that the fitba wis mine,
An yet a wee rascal
wi breeks fu o holes -
he played fur the ithers
an kept scorin goals,
an seein A coudnae
get winnin the game
A took up ma fitba
an held awa hame.
The Meanin o Life
When A wis strappin in ma teens
A kent whit Life an Awthing means,
the tap an tail o it - the lot -
bit time gaed by, an A forgot.
IN TIME PAST
Ma great, great, great, great, great, great, great,
Wi fifty greats an mair
Granfaither faced a fearfu fate,
Confronted wi a bear.
Bit, stannin stoot, undauntit, he
Transfixed it wi his spear,
An that wis awfie weel fur me,
For else A'd no be here.
Anither Brave Ancestor
on ma mither's side
Upon ma mither's side as weel
o heroes there's nae lack.
They tell me o ae special chiel
ten generations back.
When twinty rivals socht his fa
an set on him ae nicht
he, single-haundit, beat them aw
an chased them oot o sicht.
Ae day, while on a fishin trip,
an wearin on fur dark,
ma ancestor fell aff the ship
an landed on a shark.
He dodged aneath its gapin jaw
an punched it on the snoot,
an wi a guid richt hook or twa
he knocked the monster oot.
An when the Pharoah thocht tae send
him swimmin in the Nile
he gey near had a nesty end
inside a crocodile,
bit, warslin on, he won at length
a haun on either jaw,
an syne - ye ken his wondrous strength -
he tore the beast in twa.
An sae ye see, it faws tae me,
wi ancestry sae rare,
tae slay at least ae vicious beast -
A'm gled it isnae mair!
Half-hid in gress an stour,
Staney an rough,
The road atour the muir
Is plain enough.
Far aff, it winds an twists
Amang the braes,
Till lost in autumn mists
Or simmer haze.
Nae Roman laid thae stanes.
Set oot the kerbs an drains,
For nane are here.
The feet o mony men
Trod oot this track,
Wha lang syne left their glen
An ne'er cam back.
Ardoch Roman Camp: A Sodger Writes Hame
Latin Verses found at Ardoch, AD 1977 (1)
(translated by John Waddell)
Amico Meo Londinii Haec Carmen
(To My Friend in London, These Verses)
IN ARDOCHIVM SCRIPTVS XXIX DEC A D CC??
Hic non urbs est (etc)
Here it isnae like the city
Fur it's aw jist hill an glen,
An it micht be awfu pretty
Bit it's fu o pentit men.
Wi thir screechin an thir shriekin
In thir fearsome wild attacks
Ye can tell they're no jist streakin
Tho they've naethin tae their backs.
They're a puir benighted nation
If they'd only realise
Bit they've nae appreciation
That we're here tae civilize.
Aye, tae come here wis a blunder -
It's enough tae gar me greet -
For they winnae knuckle under,
Niver ken when they are beat.
Mind, it's grand here when it's sunny,
An the hills aw blue wi haze,
An the air that smells like honey
In the lang bricht simmer days.
Noo it's changed here awthegither
Wi the icy winds that blaw
First ae blizzard then anither,
Till thir's fifteen feet o snaw. (2)
Ach, Ah'm wheezin an Ah'm hoastin,
An it's cauld an gittin caulder.
Ah jist hope Ah git a postin
Afore Ah'm muckle aulder.
(1) Found at Ardoch, inscribed on a stone tablet. No doubt a copy on vellum went to London. In my translation into a more homely tongue I have tried to maintain the spirit of the original. Latin scholars, when they come to study the find, may judge whether or not I have succeeded.
(2) An exaggeration. Marcus Thedepthus records seven feet at most.
Whit are ye starin at, ma mannie?
Gie ower yer glowrin. It's no canny.
Ye fairly pit me aff ma spinnin -
Ah'll hae tae start fae the beginnin.
That's twice ye've gard me brak ma threid
A've spilet ma web, aw ower the heid
O you, ye glaikit gowk. But mebbe
Ye think tae steal fae ma bit webby,
Tho that wad be an awfu waste.
Ah doot ye'd hardly get a taste.
A bluebottle maks me a feast
Whaur ye wad want a rat, at least,
And aften Ah hae tae ma tea
A midge that ye can hardly see.
(If ye think 'tea' anachronistic
Jist mind that Ah'm a seer and mystic.)
But och, ma man, Ah see ye gantin.
It's no ma denner that ye're wantin.
Noo that Ah've looked ye ower Ah think
Ye dinnae seem ower that perjink.
Ye're fair forfochen, weet, an weary.
Ye're like a man wha's lost his dearie,
An fine Ah ken whit that can mean,
For Ah jist ate ma ain yestreen.
Ah miss him noo, that mate o mine
Bit och! it's true he tasted fine.
Hae a wee snooze an ye'll feel better,
An come the mornin ye'll forget her.
An then Ah hae a sma request -
Ma ain's the company Ah like best,
Sae ye maun leave me aw ma lane
An seek a cavie o yer ain.
Bruce, mounted on a palfrey, surveys the field
Bruce: Come, naggie, we'll jist dauner oot
Tae see whit Edward is aboot;
A wee step mair, till A can see
Gin there be aught tae daunten me.
Palfrey: A niver, iver, thocht tae gang
Whaur spears an arrows are sae thrang,
An shairly whit the maister needs
Is ane o thae great clumpin steeds.
Bruce: That's faur eneugh oot noo. We'll stan
The whilie A spy oot the lan.
Guid sakes! Bit they've a wheen o men!
They'd mak oor ain twice ower again.
Palfrey: Maister, A'm shiverin wi fear.
It's time that we got oot o here.
Here comes a knight, in shinin steel.
He disnae look tae wish us weel.
Bruce: Stan still, ma naggie. Gin A flee
Oor men'll think the waur o me,
Sae haud me up, or ca me doon,
A'll hae tae settle wi de Bohun.
Palfrey: Dear maister, see hoo fast he moves,
An hark! the thunner o his hooves.
A'm fair in terror o that lance.
A dinnae think we hae a chance.
Bruce: Aye, noo he's got his lance in rest
We'll sune see wha comes second best.
We'll stan oor grund, whate'er betide.
Stan still! Stan still!! Noo step aside!!
Palfrey: Losh, man! Ye hit im sic a crack
Ye've split his heid richt doon his back.
Come Edward on! A dinnae doot
Ye are the man tae sort him oot!
Bruce: Puir fule! A've sent his soul tae Hell,
Bit och! he brocht it on himsel.
Pray noo, nae mair o thae attacks -
A've broken ma guid battle-axe.
They cam at dawnin
doon the glen,
They spoke a tongue
A coudnae catch,
but fire wis flung
intae oor thatch.
An aye retumin
in ma dreams,
A smell the bumin,
hear the screams.
HOUSE AND GARDEN
Apologies Tae Ma Gairden on gaun on holiday
Fareweel, ma freens! A'm wae tae grieve ye,
But for a whilie A maun leave ye.
Ye'll hae tae manage on yer ain
Tae thole September's wind an rain.
Ye'll hae tae cope wi ticks an bugs,
Wi slaiters, greenfly, snails, an slugs,
Wi leather-jeckets, moles, vine-weevils
A hunner sorts o gairden evils.
But dinnae fash! Ye'll manage fine
Withoot thae clumsy hauns o mine.
Gin ye survive the mass attack,
A'll see ye richt when A get back.
Come in, come in! Afore wir tea
A winder - wad ye like tae see
the gairden? - tho it's past its best!
Thae squirrels, are they no a pest?
They brek ma floors an steal ma fruit,
an nuts an seeds that A pit oot
tae feed the birds - they clear the lot.
Ma roses - och, A ken - black spot
an mildew - they're a sorry sicht.
A spray? Och, no! It isnae richt
tae fling thae chemicals aboot
the place. A'd raither dae withoot
the floors; an certes, sir, it's true
ma floors are spindly things, an few,
an them A grew fae 'Meadow Seeds'
tae me are naethin mair nor weeds.
A glimpse noo, wad ye like tae snatch
o ma wee vegetable patch?
Ma runner beans are no sae braw -
the pigeons had them, shells an aw;
the cabbage whites hae spilet ma kale,
there isnae ane that's clean an hale;
ma lettuces are fu o bugs
an eaten doon wi snails an slugs.
A winder, is it worth the sweat
for aw the produce that A get?
Come this wey noo, an mind the step.
Och, man! ye've knockit ower the skep!
That step's gey shoogly, whaur ye fell.
Noo dinnae say ye've hurt yersel?
Jist stung wi nettles? Naethin broken?
Here, let me sort it wi a docken!
Lucky that yin wis growin near!
Aye faith! A'll grant there's plenty here.
Noo dinnae worry ower that hive
ye knockit doon - there's nane alive.
This winter past A clean forgot
tae feed them, sae A lost the lot.
Whit's that ye say? There's some still there!
Whaur did they sting ye? Is it sair?
Come oan, then! Noo the bees are loose
We'd best be makin fur the hoose!
A walk roon the gairden ye wantit?
Bit man, hae a look at the state!
That seedling that cam here unplantit
Will scarce let ye in through the gate.
It jist keeps on growin like crazy!
Aw simmer it flourished an spread.
Ma border is michaelmas daisy,
wi naethin else left in the bed.
The folk gie it colour in plenty,
for some are for pink, an some blue.
Ye could ca it kind o magentie -
ye could, bit it widnae be true.
It's sort o a blue, bit gey hazy,
wi purple intil it as weel,
an pink. Man, ma michaelmas daisy,
tae nail it wad puzzle the deil.
Ma indolence tells me tae leave it
for neibours keep sayin it's braw,
bit losh! gin A wir tae reprieve it
A'd sune hae nae gairden at aw.
A'll hae tae gie ower bein lazy -
aye, ca me an unfeelin brute! -
bit A'll cut doon ma michaelmas daisy
fur compost, an howk up the root!
Anither week o simmer gane,
the days are slippin past.
We'll sune hae autumn's wind an rain,
time rins sae fast.
It barely seems a week or twa
when snaw wis on the hills,
an aw the gairdens shinin braw
The lilies noo, that shone sae bricht
in simmer's gran parade,
mak a bedraggled waefu sicht,
an roses fade.
Ower sune the simmer's past, an then
we treasure ivry glint
o sun, fur winter cauld, we ken,
creeps close ahint.
Auld Faither Time, hing on a tick!
Slow doon, fur peety's sake!
Nae need tae batter on sae quick -
pit on the brake!
Answer to Aphids
'Twas on a braw, bricht summer day
That A went oot, intent tae spray
Ma rose, wi muckle pride invested,
That wis wi greenfly thick infested.
But as A went tae pu the trigger
A heard a weeny voice, nae bigger
Than gnat's or flea's - in fac, sae sma
It hardly wis a voice at aw.
"Haud off," it said, "yer nesty stuff
A thoosand perish at ae puff
Tae think, we - here afore the Druids -
Are subject noo tae noxious fluids.
Gie ower on yer ae-sided war.
Whit dae ye think a rose is for?
Can ye no see its foremaist use is
Tae provide us wi its juices?
The swellin buds we lo'e the best,
But whiles we'll settle for the rest.
There wis a time - it's mony a year -
Lang, lang afore ye men were here,
When greenflees' richts were uncontested
An we could sook here unmolested
Save for thae thugs, ower bad for words,
Thae hover-flees an ladybirds.
Noo shairly ye can grant a place
For oor maist humble, ancient race.
Ye cannae think tae act sae meanly.
Come on noo! Be mair eco-freenly!
Oor sins (if ony) please forgive.
Put bye yer spray, an let us live."
It touched ma hert, this piteous plea.
A had a mind tae let them be.
But when a saw ma rose's fate,
Its buds an leaves in sic a state,
A felt ma hert again tae harden.
A said, "Ye've dune ower much tae pardon,"
Ah aimed the spray, an wi ae shot
A polished off the _________ (1) lot.
(1) Interactive poetry. The reader is left to supply his own adjective here.
Why dinnae they open the windae?
Why dinnae they open the door?
Why dinnae they open the windae
as wide as they had it afore?
A'm bashin ma heid till A'm mair than hauf deid
agin this invisible pane.
A want tae get loose fae this terrible hoose,
sae open the windae again.
She wis makin the redcurrant jelly,
an och! whit a wunnerfu smell.
A wantit tae fill up ma belly
until it wis roon as a bell.
Jist whit A wis hopin - the windae wis open,
sae intae the kitchen A flew.
A golloped enough o the glorious stuff,
bit A cannae get oot o here noo.
Ochone! fur the windae inventor
wi niver a thocht fur us flees.
His gless is oor foremost tormentor,
tae tantalise, torture, an tease.
We buzz in the windae. The wives mak a shindy
an steer up their somnolent men.
Noo gie owre that caper wi rolled-up newspaper -
jist open the windae again.
The Vine-weevils' Plea
to Suburban Gardeners
All hail! suburban gairdners aw
That keep fer wee front gairdens braw
Wi bonny flooers ye plant, in lots
O fancy terracotta pots.
But if ye're thrifty, shift tae plastic,
Nor mind if neebors wax sarcastic.
For whit ye pit in - please yersel,
An plant for beauty or for smell.
Thae winter pansies suit us fine,
An polyanthus are divine.
It's no sae much the flooers, but fegs!
Yer pots are perfect for oor eggs.
We're mair nor happy oor wee grubs
Will thrive an prosper in yer tubs.
We'll tak a nibble at the shoots
The while they're feastin on the roots.
We'll munch awa, an winnae care
If the plant dees - there's plenty mair!
Sae noo A've tellt ye whit we're wantin
The rest is up tae you - get plantin!
In the lang simmer days,
sae still an hot,
the oak pits on its claes,
a braw green coat;
but in the wintertime,
when frosts are sair
an fields are white wi rime,
it's stark an bare
A marvel aye that folk complain
an wheenge aboot a drap o rain
for tho it perks up aw the weeds
it gars the daisies lift their heids
A cannae thole the snaw an sleet
that pit the skids aneath ma feet,
nor yet the dreich September flood
that maks the gress a sea o mud.
Ma roses niver ken the drooth
that bakes the gairdens doon the Sooth,
an maks the brawest plan miscarry
wi borders like the Kalahari.
They love a gentle rain fae Hevn
that starts at six an stops at seven,
eneuch tae see them through the day
aneath the sun's effulgent ray.
Gae tak the moanin wheengers whaur
the stoor neer sees a drap o glaur.
A'll warrant, then, they'll no complain
aboot a freenly spat o rain.
It's very strange that folk complain
about a friendly drop of rain,
the rain that cools us and refreshes
and fills the reservoirs. My guess is
give us a week or two without it
would they be happy? Well, I doubt it!
For such-like folk there is no pleasing,
whether it's baking hot or freezing.
Some gardens have to bear a drought,
but that's no problem hereabout.
We never see our plans miscarry
with borders like the Kalahari,
nor are we punished with a flood
that makes the lawn a sea of mud,
but gentle rain, as Portia said,
brings blessings to the garden bed.
It's hardly needful to explain
why we should thank the healing rain. -
but look! Out there it's teeming down!
My poor crysanths are like to drown.
Give over, rain! That's quite enough!
We've had our ration of the stuff.
It's set in for the day! I doubt
I'll have to look my wellies out.
The August rain cam slantin doon
on bonnie Auchterarder toon,
an like as no the flood wid fa
on Perth an Aberdeen an aw,
an mebbe - hoe wis A tae ken? -
on Muthill, Blackford, an Dunblane,
or even aw the kintra ower,
fae Applecross tae Aberdour.
But onywey, in Ruthven Street -
nae shelter - A got awfu weet.
A river flooded doon the road,
condies an syvers overflowed,
an noo A'm shiverin an sneezin,
whiles bilin het, whiles near tae freezin,
wi hankies soakit through an through.
A-tish! A-tish! A-tish! Atchoo!!
A bonnie flooer ye are, an sweet,
but och! ye're like tae gar me greet,
cut fae yer root while in yer prime,
tae dwine and dee afore yer time.
Folk wad hae peyed ye little heed
had ye been jist a common weed -
a daisy or a dandelion
they'd widnae pause tae cast an eye on
But och! Ye didnae care tae hide
but rose up in yer stubborn pride
tae haud yer heid abune the rest,
the bonniest o aw! The best!
Sorry the end tae showmanship -
alang the mistress cam, an snip!
yer beauty brocht ye nocht but ill,
tae wither on a windaesill.
A'm no gaun tae dig in the gairden again -
Did A hear ye sayin A'm past it?
Altho A micht hae a wee scratch noo an then,
A'm no gaun tae dig in the gairden again.
Tae aw that hard labour A'm sayin, 'Amen!' -
bit mind! it wis guid while it lastit.
A'm no gaun tae dig in ma gairden again,
bit dinnae be thinkin A'm past it.
A'm no gaun tae dig in ma gairden again.
Ma vegetable patch, A hae grassed it.
It may rin tae weeds, for aw A care or ken,
for A'm no gaun tae dig in ma gairden again.
A laboured like Adam in Eden, an then
A saw that ma neibors ootclassed it.
A'm no gaun tae dig in ma gairden again -
ye can say, if ye like, that A'm past it.
A'm no gaun tae dig in ma gairden again
when ithers aw roon hae surpassed it.
A pick ripe tomaties jist ae year in ten,
so A'm no gaun tae dig in ma gairden again.
In August ma border wad blossom, an then
the winds o September wad blast it.
A'm no gaun tae dig in ma gairden again
bit man! it's a lee that A'm past it.
Look whit the day has brocht!
The sun an rain
thegither they hae wrocht
A shinin bridge we see
fae earth tae sky,
but no fur you or me
tae sclim up by.
Seek, but ye'll niver find
the pot o gold
hid at the rainbow's end -
Jist earthly mould.
But it's a bonnie sicht,
brilliant an braw,
till in the deein licht
it fades awa.
Thochts o a Flyin Snail
Ach! Here A am, airborne again,
Tae satisfy the whims o men.
Up ower the fence A spin an soar,
An view the wilderness next door.
The air up here is awfu thin.
A doot A'm like tae clear the mune.
Bit noo A'm startin tae descend;
Anither flight is near the end.
The gairden A hae left behind
Wis jist like Eden, tae ma mind,
Wi lots o juicy biomass,
No like this patch o wizent grass.
The gairdner maun think it's sense
Tae send me birlin ower the fence,
Bit neebors, wise tae the attack,
Jist pick me up and birl me back.
Tae me it maks nae sense at aw
Tae substitute a tennis ba.
Awa an hae a proper match,
An leave me in ma lettuce patch.
A hear a step! A maunna bide!
Whaur can A find a place tae hide?
A cannae unnerstan thae men
Wha... Crivens! Here A go again!
Ma darlin wife is gairden mad,
as fierce as ony Turk.
She gies the orders oot, but sad -
ly A dae aw the work.
"We'll mak a sunny border here,
an ower there wull be shady,"
an aw A say is, "Aye, ma dear",
or whiles it's, "Yes, my lady!"
She gard me dig a goldfish pond,
though much agin ma wishes,
an herons noo are unco fond
o feedin on ma fishes.
When A hae raked the border ower
she sprinkles aw the seeds,
but whit the speugs fail tae devour
get smothered wi the weeds.
A'm stoppin noo tae wipe ma broo,
aw beaded i the sunsh-
ine, when she yells, "Hi, you!
Come in an hae yer lunch!"
Anither gairden? Deil forbid!
Ye'll find me, gin A'm spared, in
Nirvana, settlin in, for guid,
a flat withoot a gairden.
A Fishy Tale
A goldfish in the gairden pond
Wis speirin on the life beyond.
"Come Froggie, whit's it like oot there,
Wi nocht tae breathe but caller air?"
"Och," Froggie said, "oot there it's grand.
Ye'll find that there's a rowth o land.
The warld is big, o that A'm shair.
It gaes on for a mile or mair.
The gairden here, that smells sae sweet,
Gies on tae marshes, fu o meat,
For in ma jaunts A seldom fail
Tae find a juicy slug or snail."
"Ach!" said the fish. "Jist like a frog!
They think that Heaven is a bog!
For me, if it comes tae the crunch,
A couldnae thole a snail for lunch.
A'll tak a worm, or for a filler
A widnae baulk at caterpillar."
"Weel," said the frog, "ye'll please yersel!
A grant it's no the Ritz Hotel,
An hamely farin micht no suit
A swanky multi-coloured troot.
There's fowth o food for mooths sae denty,
There's caterpillars there a-plenty,
There's weevils, greenflees, beetles, grubs,
Mosquito larvae in the dubs -
Jist tak a trip oot there. Ye'll find
A feast for palates sae refined."
The fish said, "Dinnae tak the huff
Freend Froggie, for ye've said enough.
A'll tak ye at fer word, an try it -
A'm lookin for a change o diet.
A'll no forget A've you tae thank."
An oot he loupit on the bank.
"Guid help us!" said the gratefu cat,
"Here's denner served!" - An that wis that!
Ma grannie wis a cliver yin. Her bakin wis a treat.
Her pancakes an her girdle scones wir fabulous tae eat.
Her dumplins an beef olives made the denner simply grand.
Her jams an jeelies were among the finest in the land.
But though her skill in cookery wis gey near haun divine
The cream o aw her kitchen wis her elderberry wine.
The wonder o her brewin brocht her fame fae far an near,
An connoisseurs agreed that it got better every year.
An strangers passin through the toon wad visit her in haste
Tae win ma grannie's favour an jist mebbe get a taste,
An if they got the offer they wad nane o them decline
A tassie o ma grannie's special elderberry wine.
Ae winter time ma grandfaither had got an awfu hoast.
He'd nearly cough his heid aff an he looked jist like a ghost.
He had tae ca the doctor in, though waefu at the fee,
An asked him in a whisper, "Dae ye think Ah'm like tae dee?"
Bit the doctor only lauched and said, "Awa man! Ye'll be fine
Wi a gless or twa ilk nicht o yer wife's elderberry wine."
Ye' ve heard o Scottish justice, but ye've never heard the like
When Ah wis fined a fiver jist fur speedin on ma bike.
Ma faither only tellt me, "Weel, ye shouldnae be sae rash,"
Tho Ah wis jist a laddie. So Ah pleaded short o cash.
The sheriff said, "Ah'll settle, if ye cannae pay the fine,
Fur a bottle o yer grannie's famous elderberry wine."
Some puir misguided craturs mak an awfu song an dance
Owre fancy wines fae Germany or Italy or France.
They pay thae fancy prices, an the booze is... no sae bad,
An whiles Ah'll tak a gless o't if it's aw that's tae be had.
But Scotland can dae better than the produce o the vine -
There's whisky, an ma grannie's far-famed elderberry wine.
Whit made her magic recipe Ah wish that Ah could tell.
Ah've tried fur years an years on end tae mak the drink masell,
An fur a freenly gless or twa ma wine is guid enough
Bit och! compared wi grannie's it's gey ordinary stuff
Kind freens that share a drap wi me, they ane an aw opine
"Man, ye cannae beat yer grannie at the elderberry wine."
Then here's tae guid auld whisky! Ah widnae cry it doon,
An if it wisnae hauf sae dear Ah'd stan ye aw a roon
Bit grannie's elderberry wine wis aye the drink fur me,
The taste surpassin nectar. Ay. An mind ye! It wis free!
Sae here's a toast tae Scotland, an here's tae auld lang syne.
An here's tae ma auld grannie an her elderberry wine.
If ye are thinkin o a pet,
A budgie, mebbe, or a cat,
Jist mind that ye are like to get
Ane or twa beasties mair nor that.
But if ye want nae fleas or bugs
whit better than twa wally dugs?
A pair o wally dugs, ye'll find,
Are easy trained aboot the hoose.
Tae rin awa they're no inclined -
Ye'll niver see them rinnin loose.
They winnae scratch or fyle yer rugs.
They're cleanly beasts, are wally dugs.
Yer wally dugs are cheap tae feed
They dinnae pine, or fade awa.
A weekly dustin's aw they need
Tae keep them happy, clean, an braw.
Mair hansom far than Toby jugs -
A bonnie pair o wally dugs.
Year efter year, they winnae change.
A'll warrant ye, they'll niver get
Distemper (fell disease), or mange,
Or hae ye trauchlin tae the vet.
They need nae vaccines, pills, or drugs,
A healthy pair o wally dugs.
Content wi nane or muckle care,
They'll seek for neither praise nor blame,
(But dinnae drap them on the flair
Or they will niver be the same).
Cuff them, or gently scratch their lugs -
It's aw the yin tae wally dugs.
But every beastie has its faut,
An whiles they arenae muckle help.
At times o trial they will not
Sae much as gie a bark or yelp.
Wi burglars breckin in, or thugs,
There's nae response fae wally dugs.
They sit there, quiet, by the fire,
(Or whaur the fireplace used tae be),
For aw the neebors tae admire,
The whiles ye hae them roon tae tea.
Then see them raise their cups (or mugs)
Tae yer braw pair o wally dugs.
Epistle to Jimmy Mason
on his leaving Harrow
Och, Jimmy, dae oor ears deceive us?
Can it be true ye think tae leave us?
Man, that wid be a blow maist grievous
Tae aw yer freens,
A solar-plexus punch, believe us -
That's whit it means.
Lang syne ye bade guidbye tae Rangers
(Eschewin Edin's money-changers),
An heedless o the snares an dangers
Held awa doon
Tae seek a livin among strangers
In London toon.
Bit sune the strangers cam yer freens,
Fae youngsters, barely past their teens
Tae douce auld bodies, men o means,
Aw fellow Scots
Refreshin weel-lo'ed Scottish scenes
Wi freenly tots.
An often, Jimmy, ye hae starred
In payin tribute tae the bard
Maist lo'ed in aw the warld's regard -
Immortal Rabbie -
Fae Timbuctu, or Crieff, or Chard,
Tae Abu Dhabi.
Bit fae fer freens, noo, A hear tell
Ye're no that short o words yersel.
On aw that hear ye cast a spell
Wi spoken riches,
An wi yer "Haggis" ring the bell
An gie folk stitches.
Gin ye maun gang, we'll hae tae steel
Oor herts agin the loss. The deil
Hauds us fae sayin aw we feel,
Bit fine ye ken
That ane an aw we wish ye weel,
The best o men.
Postie Kemp, Contemplatin Retirement
A'll no get up at six o'clock;
A'll no get up at sivin;
but echt or nine'll dae me fine,
an ten'll be like Hivin.
A'll hear the windae rattlin
wi icy winds that blaw
on posties oot there battlin
wi hail an sleet an snaw.
All mind the mony drookins
that greet thae hardy men,
an then A'll turn ower in bed
an gang tae sleep again.
Fish & Chips
There is a food mair wholesome far
Than bacon, beef, or caviare.
Ye'll hear its name on coontless lips,
"Please, can A hae some fish an chips."
Let cockneys keep their jellied eels,
Let Frenchies eat their fancy meals
Let foreign folk tak spicy dips,
But A'll jist stick tae fish an chips.
For pudding we gie Yorkshire thanks.
For hotpot, thank the men o Lancs.
But the brave seamen on the ships
We hae tae thank for fish an chips.
Like Rabbie Burns, the best o men,
A'll tak some haggis, noo an then,
But haggis niver can eclipse
Ma weekly feast o fish an chips.
Let haggis on ma plate appear
Jist aince, or mebbe twice, a year,
Wi tatties, neeps, an whisky nips -
It cannae beat ma fish an chips.
The seaside toons are sand an sea
An windy piers. Whit can it be
That fetches folk on seaside trips
If no tae get fresh fish an chips?
Efter a day on hill or plain,
Wi stomach rumblin like a train,
Whit is yer dream? - Tae get tae grips
Wi a big plate o fish an chips!
Yestreen when walkin up the glen
Gaun hameward fae the toun
A met a man A didnae ken
As he cam spankin doon.
This mornin, walkin tae the toun,
As A gaed through the glen,
Wha's this gaen up as A gaed doon? -
The man A didnae ken.
A gied a freenly nod, but he
Wis birlin on sae fast,
He niver even looked at me
As he went stridin past.
When A gae up the glen the nicht
As day begins tae dim,
Gin he should nod, tae serve him richt
A winnae look at him.
McToonie & the Fermer
McToonie at the fermer's gate
Said, "Losh! yer yaird's in sic a state,
It's deep in glaur, an och, the smell!
Dae ye no think the same, yersel?"
"Aye," said the fermer, "man, ye're richt!
A'll gie it a bit soop the nicht.
It's jist A cannae get a minnit,
Bit mind yer feet. Och, there! Ye're in it!"
Come oan noo, gin ye're gettin oan,
No staun there hesitatin.
Here, mannie, gie yer pal a loan,
No keep awbody waitin.
Ach, shair, A ken Glenbogle Street.
That's 50p, the fare.
Noo here's yer ticket. Tak a seat.
A'll tell ye when we're there.
Whit's this? A franc? This isnae France -
Ye mebbe didnae ken.
Can A change twenty pun? Nae chance!
A couldnae manage ten.
Sorry! Did A gie ye ajolt? -
Nae need tae mak a fuss.
Did ye no see that heidless dolt,
Walk richt afore the bus?
Get aff ma bus lane, turnipheid!
Can ye no see the markin?
A doot the craiter cannae read
Jist look at whaur he's parkin!
That speed-mad cyclist beltin past
Gies safety nae attention.
A'll bet the mannie disnae last
Tae draw his auld age pension.
We're stuck noo in a jam - it's aw
Thae motorists tae blame.
It's time they wir compelled by law
Tae walk, or bide at hame.
Och aye, A saw him wave his han,
But he'll jist hae tae wait.
Ma bus is fu, ye unnerstan,
When A'm ten minutes late.
Deil tak me, mistress! There's a laugh!
Ye've caught me on the hop.
A clean forgot tae let ye aff -
Ye're miles beyond yer stop!
Oatridge Agricultural College
If ye are keen tae rin a ferm
Jist gang tae Oatridge fur a term.
They'll learn ye evry country skill
o ploo an pasture, field an hill,
An awthing that a fermer needs -
Exceptin keepin doon the weeds.
Ye'll find yer room is snug an ticht.
Ye'll find yer bed is saft at nicht.
They'll feed ye like a gran hotel,
An there's a healthy country smell.
Bit och! the air is fu o seeds,
Ensurin next year's crap o weeds
The servant lassies, trig an braw,
Are kind an helpfu, ane an aw.
The lecturers aw ken their stuff -
At least A think sae, near enough,
Bit they're sae thrang wi work, it breeds
Indifference tae aw the weeds.
They'll tell ye, ye maun spray yer fields
Tae kill the pests an boost the yields,
An that is very weel tae teach,
Bit dae they practise whit they preach?
Let's see their words backed up by deeds,
Wi bonny gairdens, free o weeds.
In Praise of Craigrossie
Craigrossie is a freenly hill.
It has nae spite, nae lust tae kill.
It's no like some bleak Hielan ben
That lours abune a peacefu glen
Wearin a dark, unfreenly froon,
An flingin muckle boulders doon,
Thinkin its aw a mirthfu joke
Tae terrify defenceless folk.
It's no ane o thae fearsome hills
Whaur daft dare-deevils seek for thrills,
Wham cliff nor corrie cannae please
At less than echty-nine degrees.
Strecht up they gang, agin the sky,
Whaur mountain goats are feart tae try -
Then doon they fa, a thoosan feet,
An leave their wives and bairns tae greet.
Tae the guid folk o Auchterarder
Its braes are jist a thochty harder
Than their ain weel-kent Ruthven Street,
Forby, they're safter tae the feet.
A dauner doon the Common Loan,
Syne oot by Coul and back by Cloan -
The circuit roon is easy dune
On a fine Sunday efternune.
An when ye scrammle ower the broo
Up tae the cairnie - och! the view!
The bonnie fields, the woods sae braw -
It fairly taks yer breath awa.
For backcloth, grand beyond belief,
The muckle hills the back o Crieff,
An in the strath ye whiles discern
A shinin glint o windin Earn.
Here's tae Craigrossie, smilin doon
On bonnie Auchterarder toon.
"Bonnie?" A hear ye say. Och, well,
Ye see, A'm fae the place masell.
Wi sunshine on its Simmer braes
Or shinin white, in Winter claes,
Changin, yet changeless an serene,
It lifts the hert, delights the een.
The nicht is bleak, the nicht is black,
the nicht is weet an windy,
an stray dogs, howlin in a pack,
are kickin up a shindy.
The water swirls doon the drain
wi mony a glurk an gurgle,
an burglers, heidin hame, complain
'It's far ower weet tae burgle.'
The roadman grumbles tae his mate,
'We'll hae tae work here flat oot!'
The wifie mumbles, 'It's gey late,
but A maun pit the cat oot.'
The Hevinly Power that rules on high
says, 'Noo ye've had yer warnin!
A'll turn the tap aff by an by,
but no afore the mornin.'
A'm in ma bed, aw fine an cosy,
No deid asleep, but unco dozy.
A'm clingin tae a bonny dream -
The star o Scotland's fitba team.
Bit then the milkman's float gaes by;
Milk bottles clink, an tho a try
Tae cover owre ma lugs, nae fears!
Ma dream's awa an disappears.
Nocht can A mak oot in the gloom
Au hovrin blackness o the room
Till fae ma bed, sae snug an warm,
A see the darkness takkin form.
The windae looms, a sullen grey,
Tae signify anither day,
An blustrin winds wi blattrin rain
Rattle upon the windae pane.
Five minutes mair, or mebbe ten,
A'll coorie doon in bed, an then
A'll up an face the world again.
The Wee Golf Ba
Och me! A'm in an awfu state
an naebody is helpin.
Why should it be ma cruel fate
tae suffer sic a skelpin?
Ma maister sets me in a cup
wi comfy curves that fit me,
but then he gets his dander up,
and taks a mind tae hit me.
An when A'm soarin near the mune
(tho in braid licht o day),
A'm thinkin, 'Whit can A hae dune
that he should treat me sae?"
An tho A duck intae a hole
A find gey little shelter.
He plucks me oot an, bless ma soul,
A get anither belter.
But he shall answer for his sins,
sin he shows nae remorse!
A'll hide awa among the whins
or settle in the gorse.
Efter the Meetin
Hoo can A get hame the nicht?
Ma puir auld brollie's busted.
The fabric isnae water-ticht.
The frame's aw bent an rusted
A hardly could believe ma lugs -
A thocht the man wis jokin.
He said, "It's rainin cats an dugs -
A doot ye'll get a soakin."
That TV lassie - A'll complain -
Has made an awfie blunder.
She said there micht be spots o rain,
No cloudbursts mixed wi thunder.
Gin a should get ma death o cauld
Wi soakin tae the skin,
Although A'm echty-five year auld
A'll sue the lass - an win!
A Week's Holiday
Setterday wis weet,
Sunday, snaw an sleet.
Monday, it wis wetter.
Tuesday wis nae better.
Wednesday, mair snaw.
Thursday, warst o aw.
Friday, jist the same.
Setterday - back hame.
The Wee Hoose in Skye
Let them flee aff tae Spain
Whaur it's stoury an dry.
Whit's a smidgin o rain
Tae the wee hoose in Skye?
Let it rain, let it hail,
Let it thunder ootbye.
Ye can lauch at the gale
Fae the wee hoose in Skye.
When ye're three-score an ten
An ye're no very spry,
It's a braw but an ben,
Is the wee hoos in Skye.
There's the sea an the hills -
Hielan cattle forbye.
Man!. There's nae end o thrills
At the wee hoose in Skye.
Though the sea is gey rough
An the hills are ower high,
They are bonnie enough
Fae the wee hoose in Skye.
Wi the East an the West
An the Hielans tae try,
Ye will aye find the best
Is the wee hoose in Skye.
EDEN AND AFTER
Aye, Eden wis a bonny place
afore the time o man's disgrace,
whaur Adam first wis sent tae dwell
an tend the gairden by himsel.
Bit, mind ye, it wis easy wark,
no like a weedy public park.
The floors aw flourished by thirsels,
wi beauteous blooms an glorious smells.
Nae weeds wir iver seen tae root,
an oan the trees delicious fruit
hung doon, aye ripe fur him tae eat,
(fur Adam niver tastit meat).
Bit here's the catch! There wis ae tree
on rootstock Mailing 9, sae wee
it hardly grew abune his heid.
Tae pick the aipples he'd nae need
tae sclim - they hung in easy reach,
mair succulent than ony peach.
Ane nestled in the leaves, hauf-hidden
fair temptin, bit it wis forbidden
tae pick it - penalties unkent -
an Adam, canny man, took tent.
Tae brak the rules he didnae dare,
forby that there wir plenty mair.
Bit Adam wearied, aw his lane.
He thocht he'd reason tae complain.
He saw the birds an beasts, in pairs,
cairryin oan their love affairs,
an waefu thocht, "That's no fur me,
fur love an bairns A'll niver see."
Bit then the Power that rules abune,
Wha dwells far aff, ayont the mune,
Wha set the warld first birlin roon
an spends His time noo keekin doon
tae see that aw are daein richt
(an nocht on Earth escapes His sicht),
this Heavenly Power saw Adam's state,
an takin peety on his fate
sent him intae a dreamless sleep -
hypnotic trance wis neer sae deep -
an, improvisin-like, ad lib,
fae Adam's side He took a rib -
He didnae need a surgeon's knife -
an fae the rib He made a wife
fur Adam, flawless an complete,
an beautiful, fae heid tae feet.
Oh, had He paused an taen a thocht
an pondered on the deed He wrocht
wi aw its fatefu consequences,
He'd hae brocht Adam tae his senses
an tellt him, "Thank yer lucky star
ye're weel eneuch noo as ye are."
Adam at last began tae stir.
He saw the lass, an glowered at her
an muttered, "Here is somethin new!
Madam, A'm Adam! Wha are you?"
The lassie noo began tae greet,
an kneelin doon at Adam's feet
she cried, "Oh, hoo did A get here?"
Said Adam, "Dinnae greet, ma dear."
(The puir impressionable man
wis hooked as sune as tears began)
He said, "Ye maun be sent by fate
tae be ma love an Earthly mate.
It's gloamin noo, sae A believe
a fittin name fur ye is Eve,
bit ye're sae bonny A can see
ye'll niver be content wi me."
Noo Eve, wi woman's intuition,
took in at aince the hale position.
She saw that Adam's urgent need
fur her wad gie her power indeed.
She thocht, "He'll answer every whim
o mine! Och aye, A'll manage him.
He's mebbe no a maiden's vision,
bit, tell me, whaur's the competition?"
An so the twa, wi equal voice,
proclaimed their love - they had nae choice!
That's hoo the first pair got thegither;
an let nae sceptic tell ye ither.
Let nae agnostic unbeliever,
nae wicked, evil, low deceiver
beguile ye wi his vile insistence
that Eden's pair had nae existence.
For, gin this story isnae true,
whaur did we come fae, me an you
an aw the millions noo alive?
The mony that noo grow an thrive
is shairly aw the proof we're needin
o Adam an his Eve, an Eden.
It's Eve wha gies the orders,
but Adam isnae heedin.
"Look, Adam, at thae borders -
get oot an dae the weedin."
But dour an sulky Adam
Is tempted tae rebel.
"If weedin's wantit, madam,
jist dae the wark yersel."
Exeunt Fae Eden
In Eden Eve an Adam spent
mony a year in sweet content,
happy eneuch tae be thegither
(bit, efter aw, there wis nae ither).
The seasons broke auld Nature's laws,
the trees gied fruit withoot a pause,
the floors wir iver fu o bloom
fur Eve tae deck her livin-room,
the cabbages an curly kail
wir free o slug, likewise o snail,
the sky by day wis clear an blue,
(it rained at nicht fae twal tae two)
an life, it seemed, like ol man river,
wad flow serenely on fur iver.
Bit och! ye ken, it couldnae last -
the sky ae day grew overcast,
the day when Eve wis by the tree
A tellt ye o. Whit did she see? -
och! far, far better had she missed it -
Aboot the trunk o it wis twistit
a serpent, wi an oily tongue
tae flatter an beguile the young,
an Eve o agein then wis free.
(A wish it wis the like fur me.)
"Och!" said the serpent, "dinnae fear,
A'm no fur bitin ye, ma dear.
Ye see the bonny ripenin fruit -
weel, A'm appointit guardian o't.
Gin ony unapproved should pick it
A hiv the job tae see they're nickit,
bit them that's in this list o mine,
they are approved. Fur them it's fine
tae tak an aipple. Here, let's look,
aye, here's yer name, writ in the book,
sae help yersel. Noo, this ane here
is ready ripe fur you, ma dear."
Said Eve, "Noo steady! A've heard tell
they're aw reservit for Himsel.
A maun consult wi Adam first
in case a fearfu fate should burst
abune ma puir defenceless heid
fur daein a forbidden deed.
Here, Adam! Come ower here!" she cried.
"Noo whit's the maitter," he replied.
"A cannae be at beck an ca,
A hae ma ain life, efter aw."
She said, "Auld Creepy in the tree
has picked this aipple here, fur me.
We micht as weel jist hae a taste
or it will only gang tae waste.
He cannae pit it back again,
an, onywey, He'll niver ken."
"Aye," Creepy said, "fur A'll no tell,
an He's no fond o fruit, Himsel."
Said Adam, "Dae ye think we should?
It isnae in oor listed food.
Whit think ye, Eve?" Like aw his kind
he wished that she'd mak up his mind.
"It's up tae you," wis her reply,
"an gin ye bite it, so wull I."
Sae Adam, fearfu, took a nibble
though it wis hardly worth his trouble -
his teeth jist barely broke the skin,
sae feart wis he o Him abune,
bit Eve, she took a monster crunch,
for, chattin there, she'd missed her lunch.
She took a look at Adam - then
she looked, an looked, an looked again,
an found it hard tae look awa.
(Whitiver could it be she saw?)
An Adam, when he looked at her,
felt in his bosom somethin stir.
He said tae Eve, "It isnae fair
fur ye tae staun sae comely there.
A think ye'd best pit on some claes -
ye ken thae ultra-violet rays,
A've heard they're like tae gie ye cancer.
A cover-up - aye, that's the answer."
Bit Eve spoke sherply tae him: "Tell
the same tale, Adam, tae yersel."
An sae they lookit roon tae find
a cover-up o ony kind.
An aipple leaf wis far ower sma
an didnae dae the job at aw,
bit when they cam tae try a fig
the leaf seemed adequately big,
an sune they wir, weel, partly dressed -
they didnae bother wi the rest.
Then whoosh! Richt on the tick appeared
an Auld Man wi a lang white beard,
a grand an maist imposin figure,
somethin like Santa Claus, bit bigger.
An my! Wis He no in a rage?
Jist like a lion in a cage
He went rampagin up an doon -
the lift wis ringin wi the soun.
'Whit's this?" He screamed, "Whit wey thae claes?
Fur modesty!? In aw ma days
A niver heard the like. A doot
ye've been at the forbidden fruit.
Na, nae excuses! Disobey
ma orders, wad ye! Oot ye gae!
Fae Eden ye're expelled, an then
ye're niver tae seek back again.
Get movin noo! Tae back ma word
an angel wi a flamin sword
ye'll aye find guardin at the gate."
Sae that wis Eve an Adam's fate.
Bit as they made awa, said Eve,
"That wis Himsel, A do believe,
bit whit a temper, whit a din!
Ye'd think it wis a mortal sin
tae eat an aipple. Weel, for me,
His aipples can stick on the tree.
Bit Adam, man, the warld is wide,
let's see whit there's tae dae ootside."
The Expulsion Fae Eden
Serpent: Noo here's a tale, A'll tell ye pat,
o an auld crabbit Autocrat
punishin whit He caud a sin
whaur nane wis meant. Let God begin.
God: Look Adam, whit A've got fur you,
this grand green gairden. Fur the noo
ye're the heid gairdner. Tend it richt.
A'll send ye gentle rain at nicht
sae ye wull niver need complain
o storms o hail, or sleet, or rain.
Aw lee-lang day the sun'll shine,
bit tak ye tent - this tree is mine;
the bonnie fruit ye maunna touch;
bit shairly, man that's no ower much
tae ask - a very sma request.
Ye're welcome tae tak aw the rest.
Adam: Och aye! He thinks its unco fine
tae say aw day the sun will shine.
It's me will hae tae spend ma days
ablow His ultra-violet rays.
An rain ilk nicht! - jist whit it needs
tae fill the gairden fu o weeds.
Whit wi the guid broon soil an sun
an rain, there's ower much work fur one.
The birds an beasts aw rin in pairs,
bit A'm alane - there's nane that cares!
A've dune eneuch fur noo. A'll creep
Aneath this tree, an hae a sleep.
God: A mate wis niver in ma plan,
but Adam is a lanely man.
A'll tak this rib fae Adam's side
an mak o it a bonnie bride
fur him, an hope he'll be contentit,
tho in ma view the man's dementit,
fur in ma blessed single state
A've niver felt the need fur mate.
Noo when he waukens he wull see
his fate - an pit the blame on me.
Adam (waking): Guid help ma conscience! Whit is this?
A'm shair A beg yer pardon, miss.
It's wauken A should be, tae greet ye.
They ca me Adam. Pleased tae meet ye.
Eve: Ma name is Eve... A think! It's queer -
A dinnae ken hoo A got here!
But hoo's yersel? It's grand, the wither.
A hope we'll git oan weel thegither.
Adam (thinks): We'll git oan weel eneuch, A'll bet.
(Fate, iver kind, grows kinder yet,
hooiver it has come tae pass)
(aloud): Fair Eve. ye are a comely lass.
Here, tak ma haun, A'll show ye roon
ma gairden, aw roads, up an doon.
Ma trees here bear delicious fruit
o ivry sort that's kent, tae suit
the maist fastidious taste. Jist pick,
an eat yer fill. Ye'll no be sick.
Serpent: Aye, Eve, that's richt! This aipple here
is ready ripe fur ye, ma dear.
Aneath the glowin, shiny skin
is juice tae trickle doon yer chin.
Jist pick the aipple, Eve, an bite it.
Come oan noo. Dinnae be affrighted!
Yell find nae better on this Earth
fae Auchterarder through tae Perth.
Adam: No, Eve! We daurna be sae bauld.
That tree is special, A've been tauld.
The Laird wull mak a fearfu fuss!
That fruit, he says, is no fur us.
Eve: Whit for, A'm askin, gin A may,
this aipple ban? It looks OK
tae me. Next week it wull be rotten,
an lyin in the gress, forgotten.
Serpent: Aye, guid fur you, lass! Tell him strecht!
That mannie disnae ken the hecht
o the guid fortune come his way
wi you tae tell him whit tae dae.
Noo Adam, man, she's tellt ye richt,
sae bite - an dinnae tak aw nicht.
Adam: Och, weel then, jist a wee bit nibble.
A hope this disnae lead tae trouble.
Gin He finds oot He'll be richt vext!
Come oan, noo, Eve. It's your bite next.
Eve: Och, Adam, ye're a cooardy custard!
Nae need fur ye tae get sae flustered.
Jist watch me tak a hefty crunch!
A like an aipple tae ma lunch.
God: They've been an gone an done it, noo.
A feared that this micht come, somehoo.
Serpent: Aye, richt! They've been an gone an done it.
This wis a battle, an A've won it.
Adam (gazing at Eve): Och, Eve, ma dear, A niver kent
hoo beautiful ye are. Ye've sent
ma hert tae beat at sic a rate!
Believe me, A can hardly wait;
bit wait fur whit, A dinnae ken.
It's guid there are nae ither men
tae look ye ower wi glowrin een.
Ye're far ower bonnie tae be seen.
Ye'll hae tae tak an hide yersel
or whit may hap A daurna tell.
Eve: An Adam, when A look at you
A'm aw atremble, through an through.
A loe yer voice, yer face, yer actions,
bit ye maun hide yer main attractions.
Serpent: Aye, Adam! Here, A'll gie a haun,
jist as a freen, ye unnerstaun.
Let me adjust this aipple leaf
fur Eve, afore she comes tae grief
Adam (angry): Yer impidence is fair disgustin!
Leave Eve tae dae her ain adjustin.
An, onywey, that leafs ower sma;
it disnae dae the job at aw.
Bit here! A fig leaf fae this tree
will dae fur Eve. The like fur me.
Serpent: An whit wull God dae noo, A wunner,
fur here He comes, wi noise o thunner.
God: Whit are ye humans up tae noo?
Get on yer knees. A tell ye true,
Ye're far mair trouble than ye're worth.
A wish A'd niver made the Earth.
Gin A had meant ye tae hae knowledge
A wid hae sent ye baith tae college,
but ignorance, ye ken, is bliss.
Ye've got the knowledge noo, but this
is aw that A have got tae say:
Get oot o Eden! On yer way!
Fae Eden ye're expelled, an then
ye're niver tae seek in again.
Serpent: Sae that wis Eve an Adam's fate.
God set an angel on the gate
an gied him thae instructions clear:
God: Thae twa may try tae enter here,
but ye maun niver let them in
for why - they sinned a deadly sin.
Jist wave yer flamin sword aboot -
that should suffice tae keep them oot.
Angel: But tell me, God, whit wis their faut?
God (sternly): A dinnae hae tae tell ye aught
o whit they've been an gone an dune.
Angel: Och, Hoity-toity! It's a sin
tae ask a question, noo A'm auld!
But A'm jist left oot in the cauld,
fur cherubim tae jeer an scoff.
Noo Adam, you an Eve, be off!
Ye baith heard whit the guid Lord said.
A'm no fashed gin ye shared a bed,
or picked ten aipples aff His tree -
bit then, it isnae up tae me.
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Cite this Document
Halesome Farin'. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved June 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=812.
"Halesome Farin'." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. June 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=812.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Halesome Farin'," accessed June 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=812.
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