Circle Gemme

Simmer's been greetin affy this year, wakkin-woundit,
steepit in cloud, sappy gutters an dubs aawhar.
Seek Mr Sun's packit a caiss an's gone awa, takkin a lang brak.
Simmer's gaun limpin oot.

Thon raggit penter’s noo elbowin eez wye, smudgin an smirrin,
dustin copper stour owre aathin. Glints o dull sun
free-fah fae eez specklt jecket,
smearin gowd, yella an roosty oarange;
a glisk o laifs hingin, sweengin beh thir fingrtips,
feart ti let go, birlin in the sough.
Wha'll be first ti lowp, ti laive
thir burnin hoose, flee the nest?
How come things hiv ti be dehin ti look si bonnie?

Sleekit Winter waits in the weengs, corpse-cauld,
hunkert doon in laifdrifts, switherin whither ti bide or no
bit bydin aa the same, daen a dervish daunce,
desprit ti mak eez entrance, shivrin in anticipation. Tremlin.
Naebiddy wahnts ti wait fir the Spring roondaboot.
Thi wahnt spinkies noo.

Fran Baillie

Lost Loons

Lament o the Mithers

“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”

But is't ‘a sweet and noble thing’?
Thae bonnie words can leave the taste
O soorocks in a mither's moo.

A mither's mem'ry's ivver green,
Wi reets that rin doon ti the hairt.
A mither's ee has merked it aa
An teen in ilka pairt:
Annunciation, leebour pynes
An nichts o broken sleep.
The cuddlin days, the dandlin days,
The day o that first step.
Aff ti skweel, his haan in hers,
Trickit oot in bran new cleys.
The time he had his tonsils oot,
The day he lernt ti go a bike,
The day he first wore 'langers'.
The day he strak a downy lip,
Gaed oot, an bocht a razor.
The day he proodly plunked his pey
Doon on the kitchen table.
A mither's ee taks in them aa
An time can nivver dicht awa
Fit's skreivit on her hairt.

Havoc! Ay, cry havoc!
The dogs o waar are lowsed!
Wi sichtless een an snappin jaas
They rip ilkither's thrapple oot,
Life-bleed drippin fae their teerin claas,
Fyte faim fleein fae their snarlin maas,
Ivver Waarrrrr! an Guerrrrrre! an Krrrrrieg!

Tak Dougie ower at fifty-three.
Simmers foun him at the park ti sail his boatie on the pond,
Gaan for walks alang the pier, watchin traalers cross the bar.
(‘Onything ti dee wi boats!’’)
Ay, Dougie, jist turnt sivventeen, set ti mak his mither prood
The day she watched him mairch awa ... ti jyne the Hood.

An Airchie doon at forty-five? Ayewis lookin ti the sky,
Pullin a kite on a mile o string, makkin model planes forby.
(‘Ony blessed thing that flees!‘)
Airchie in the cockpit, fulfilment o a dream,
Taxies oot inti the nicht ti jyne the bomber stream.
Coned bi searchlichts ower the Ruhr; a Stirling faain lik a steen;
A chute that disna open; an Airchie's day is deen.

An Chairlie Gerrard up the close? That loved the sands at Filey?
Biggin castles wis a game, but Normandy wis nae the same
Fan swarms o stutterin Stukas made
A bagatelle boord o the beach.

Havoc! Ay, cry havoc!
The dogs o waar are lowsed!
The Deil has let them aff the lead
An we are left ti moorn wir deid.

It's an aal, aal sayin, aal as man hissel,
‘Sae lang as men maan waar, weemen aye maan weep’
For loons that should hae grow'd ti men
But sleep in endless sleep.
Ay, sleep ... forivver ... sleep.

Stephen Pacitti


Cheeky wee tuffets
Pufflin up the stour
Rummelin in the pooder
In a warm simmer oor
Scartin aa ma seeds
Siftin in the win
In aa yir fechtin chatter
Nae sang amang yon din.
Saft bumblin tots
Y’ir worth mair by far
Than aa the scarlet glory
O the high papaver.

Edith Buchanan


The nicht a the pictoors,
a lichtsome lassie
comed sashayin doon
the pass an hunkered
forenent me.
Ah wiz blinkit
an naur aboots
drappit ma bevie.
Her rush o hair,
theek an lang –
aw glaizie
an gowden
wiz cascadin
ower airm rests,
spewin oot the fluir
mair like a Lammas spate
floddin the locus
wi waw efter waw,
o swawin yella.
Swirly locks
strintled wi kames,
jewelled peens
glintin in the licht
an peerie flouers
daikitin ivery kink,
mebbe daises an siclike
haud in wi diamante clips.
The wee gaudie
needit twa seats,
t’ae fur hersel,
the ither anely fur
thon feck o rinaway ringlets.

Miriam Sulhunt

Tae a Scotch Pie

Fair faa yer gustie mutton mince,
Scotland's michty Pastry Prince,
Mair hertsome nor a quiche or quince
Or finnan haddie,
I've looed yer sairin ivver since,
I wis a laddie.

Wi Bovril on the Gorgie braes,
I mind ye in a blythsome haze,
O muckle joy and scantlins waes,
An Jam Tarts fame,
As glegly on thae cantie days,
Ye beeked ma wame.

I champed inil yer crinchy crust,
Wi blythe delicht, for I cuid trust,
That smervie juices syne wad brust,
Apon ma pree,
Tae satisfee ma eydent lust,
I haed nae dree.

Ower Forfar bridie, sassidge roll,
Cullen skink, taid i the hole,
Ower batter't haddie, breidit sole,
An aa sic slaister,
Ower aa the trashtrie man cuid thole,
Ye are the maister.

The wunners frae the baxter's han,
Scones an breid, baith plain or pan,
They beir the gree aa throu this lan,
Maist douce an braw,
But Scotch pies tae the fitba man,
Is pride o aa.

David C. Purdie