Four Poems

For the English translations, please click here.


Tirlin headicraa


Seen fae different erts, da island sharpens
fae auld man streekit oot apö da skyline
ta tree prunk peaks apö da wirld's aedge.


An seen at different times, headlands
clös lömin eftir rain, distance demsels
anunder asky veils. We lift wir een


fae waddered end-o-saison sichts. Autumn,
wi fingers saaft an lingerin, lichtens baith
laand an haert; bricht glims o newness.


An aa da gödless fechts at come
fae tinkin we can only see ee wye, dwine
inta naethinness. A glöd o licht apö


da drabbest laand, a glisk o love aroond
da soorest heart, an aathin is tirled
headicraa. We man un-self wirsels,


unreffel aa at trachles een anidder,
traivel wi wir difference, an savour
aa da common winders o wir wirld.


Chance o a lifetime


Fae da aeroplane, taas o licht pick oot
a peerie toon, plunkit dere bi chance:
an accidence o burns an broos,
heads an tails o nature's providence.


Fur wis -nae mair, nae less - da time,
an place an fortune o wir birth
is happenchance; dine an mine,
mi jewel, is dicey is da rest.


Hed dis fine braidin o wir burn no come,
- dis blissit odds - I wid a virmished
fur hit. Whin du's aroond, dy fun
an lichtsomeness sends ivery penny dirlin
i da air, ta laand da richt wye up,
heads or tails, whitivver een is ca'ad.


Starn Sign


Vidlin, Shetland 21.10.1914


Nor haeven nor aert is bön at paece da nicht.
War's runnicks* barely cut, still lines on maps.
But life gengs on: a ting o lass is boarn.


Birth's bassel owre, da howdie maks fur hom
doon da toons o Neegirt, wi tengs o fire fur licht.
An i da firmament, a comet's flicht records
da moment, ootstrips a hairst mön is shö rides
da sky. Da haevens demsels blaze furt nativity,
hap a blissin on a peerie ting whase first braeth
reincarnates da stoor o galaxies, obscures,
reveals: links daeth wi life an love an po'er.


reference ta excerpts fae Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2


*byre drains


O for da Wings


Tae da unnamed builder o Woodwick doocot, Orkney


Dy doocot staands, a chapel noo;
nae currie-coo, nae flaachter
o gluffit wings, nor guff o doos.


Smooth, dark flags; flör ta röf boxed
wi steyn skelfs lik doorless presses.
An ivery steyn set sae is ivery skelf
is tae da waa an tae da biggin
is ivery filament is tae da fedder
an tae da doo; ivery bit a wirk o art.


Did du bigg hit, i da mind, a library
fur books o air, wi winged servitors
ta rekk ta tapmost skelfs; ta hoose
da silence o a thoosand vellum scrolls,
da sneck raised only bi a holy haand?


Whin at last du laid da hidmist steyn
du man a steppit back, apö da seevent day
an, wi da speirin een o wan at kens
da human haert, du man a seen at whit
du'd med, dis testament, wis göd.