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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