Now that this year’s McCash Scots Poetry Prize has been announced, here are three little poems in Scots that show the language’s eloquence and versatility. In the first, Hugh MacDiarmid is sky-gazing; next, William Soutar suffers the heartbreak of impossible love; Douglas Young ends the trio with a sardonic moral.
THE BONNIE BROUKIT BAIRN
Mars is braw in crammasy,
Venus in a green silk goun,
The auld mune shak’s her gowden feathers,
Their starry talk’s a wheen o’ blethers,
Nane for thee a thochtie sparin’,
Earth, thou bonnie broukit bairn!
But greet, an’ in your tears ye’ll droun
The haill clanjamfrie!
O luely, luely cam she in
And luely she laid doun:
I kent her by her caller lips
And her breists sae sma’ and roun’.
A’ thru’ the nicht we spak nae word
Nor sindered bane frae bane:
A thru’ the nicht I heard her hert
Gang soundin’ wi’ my ain.
It was about the waukrife hour
When cocks begin to craw
That she smool’d saftly thru the mirk
Before the day would daw.
Sae luely, luely, cam she in
Sae luely was she gaen;
And wi’ her a’ my simmer days
Like they had never been.
The Minister said it wald dee,
the cypress buss I plantit.
But the buss grew til a tree,
It’s growan stark and heich,
derk and straucht and sinister,
kirkyairdie-like and dreich.
But whaur’s the Minister?