Author Topic: Scottish Poetry  (Read 102624 times)

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #75 on: November 23, 2008, 09:05:51 AM »
Barbara, Thanks for your comments here and on the other regular threads I have going. They're all about things of interest to me, and I hope to others as well, and they tend to keep the forum active when things quiet down. That's the real purpose you know... to let people know there's someone here who is unwilling to let the forum die of neglect. It would be nice if more people would post. Start some new threads... someone once suggested recipes and I even posted one... more activity on the Famous Thompsons thread would be nice too... how about music? There are lots live entertainment at the games who's your favorites?
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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #76 on: November 23, 2008, 03:17:43 PM »
Hey Stu,
and I've used your Toad in the Hole recipe several times and everyone always enjoys it!   Thanks for posting it!


Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #77 on: November 25, 2008, 10:27:21 AM »
Another by David Thomson, this about the results of the Clearances...


GREAT changes come wi' passing years,
As noo in many a place appears,
If Scotland roon we scan ;
For whaur ance dwelt a hardy race,
Is noo a' wild, an' made a place,

For deer instead o' man.

Great tracks o' laun' can noo be seen,
Whaur crofters ance dwelt snug an' bien,

A' clad wi' bent an' heather ;
An' here an' there, a nowt or sheep,
A muircock, plover, or peesweep,

Whaur folk in bauns did gather.

The places whaur their hooses stood.
The crofts whaur com wav'd rank an' guid.

Can hardly noo be trac'd ;
An' whaur a' ance look'd blythe an' fair.
Is noo wild, barren, bleak, and bare,

A solitary waste.

What sin an' shame that laun' sae good,
That lots o' wark, an' walth o' food,

Tae man an' beast wad yield ;
Shou'd be allow'd tae lie a waiste,
Tae suit some selfish noble's taste,

O' bein' a huntin' field.

But nobles yet may sairly rue.
That crofters on their launs are few,

An' may yet come to ken
That grouse an' deer can ne'er oppose.
Nor staun' against invading foes,

Sae firm as hardy men. '

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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #78 on: December 01, 2008, 11:02:50 AM »
Song for the Lost    
 by Janet Paisley 
Globe turned between two hands,
first grasp of how small this isle
pushed away, alone, always
that head scrubbed by cold water,
flesh flayed with rivered veins,
mountains torn from valleys filled
to flooding, grass greening a back
beaten by rain, forever the sky
scanned for moon or star to light
the earth, light on lost children,
remind them where home is. Proud,

too proud, it’s caterwaul crazed,
a riot born, rabble-rousing rock
to live on, dreaming of warmth
drenched in sand, a drought blazing
bright colours, fine cloth, a hand
to hold, held out, holding out,
hanging on till the boat brings
the weary across the water,
brings back news, people chattering
sweet native tongues salt with ideas,
a flame in the blood sparked off.

It’s all grist, a spinning-top hum
of one world, the beat of one
old heart. Here is to belong,
where a wet wind can wipe off
the dust of wandering, snow
that could melt with the welcome.
It’s not far to a fireside yet,
kindling stacked, hot soup in the pot,
the clock that chimes quiet time,
a smoke, drink glowing in the glass,
that door always unlocked.

Sang fur the Wandert
translated into English by the author
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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #79 on: December 02, 2008, 08:45:00 AM »
A poem about the great explorer of Western Canada, David Thompson.

Carman, Bliss, (1861-1929)

A Gray Coat boy from London
At fourteen came over sea
To a lonely post on Hudson's Bay,
To serve the H. B. C.
A seeker of knowledge, a dreamer of dreams,
And a doer of deeds was he.

Before his feet lay a continent
Untrailed, unmapped, unguessed.
The whisper of the mysterious North,
The lure of the unknown West,
Called to him with a siren's voice
That would not let him rest.

'Twas but a step from the factor's door
And the wilderness was there,
Rivers stretching a thousand miles,
Lakes for his thoroughfare,
And forests fresh from the hand of God,
Waiting his will to dare.

Plains that dipped to the edge of the sky
Untracked from rim to rim,
The sorcery when the sun was high
Of ranges far and dim,
The summer morns and the winter nights,
They laid their spell on him.

Where did they lead, those waterways?
Where did they end, those plains?
And what is the joy of the wilderness
Only its lover attains?
Ask little Whitethroat, Killooleet,
Who sings through the soft gray rains!

Wherever they led, whatever the end,
This lad must find and know.
With pole and paddle and slender birch,
On snowshoes over the snow,
With saddle and pack and pony track,
'Twas his dream and delight to go.

He followed the song the rivers sang
Over their pebbly bars;
By spruce and larch he tallied his march;
The moons were his calendars;
And well he could reckon and read his path
By the faithful shining stars.

From the Churchill to the Assiniboine
And up the Saskatchewan,
Back and forth through all the North
His purpose drove him on,
Making a white man's trail for those
Who should come when he was gone.

So the days grew years, and the years a life,
Without reward or renown,
No heed of self, no greed for pelf
Nor the idle ease of Town,
Till he came at last to the barrier
Where the wheeling sun went down.

There the enormous ranges stood
Forbidding against the sky,
Where only the bear and the bighorn climbed
And the eagle's brood could fly.
His was the foot must find a road
For the world to enter by.

Up he followed the azure thread
Of the winding branch for guide,
By rapid and reach and shingly beach,
Then over the great divide.
Then he saw a river broad and strong
Swing past in a silver tide.

Down through a maze of canyon walls
He watched the mighty stream
Sweep on in conquering plenitude
With arrowy flight and gleam,
And knew that he had found at last
The river of his dream.

And here his house was builded.
Here let us stand and say,
Here was a man--full sized--whose fame
Shall never pass away,
While the stars shine and the rivers run
In the land of the Kootenay.

Invermere, B. C.,
August, 1922.

Poem is in the public domain..
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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #80 on: December 03, 2008, 06:36:49 AM »
From Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers by W. E. Aytoun (1813 - 1865)


  Do not lift him from the bracken,
    Leave him lying where he fell--
  Better bier ye cannot fashion:
    None beseems him half so well
  As the bare and broken heather,
    And the hard and trampled sod,
  Whence his angry soul ascended
    To the judgment-seat of God!
  Winding-sheet we cannot give him--
    Seek no mantle for the dead,
  Save the cold and spotless covering
    Showered from heaven upon his head.
  Leave his broadsword, as we found it,
    Bent and broken with the blow,
  That, before he died, avenged him
    On the foremost of the foe.
  Leave the blood upon his bosom--
    Wash not off that sacred stain:
  Let it stiffen on the tartan,
    Let his wounds unclosed remain,
  Till the day when he shall show them
    At the throne of God on high,
  When the murderer and the murdered
    Meet before their Judge's eye!

  Nay--ye should not weep, my children!
    Leave it to the faint and weak;
  Sobs are but a woman's weapon--
    Tears befit a maiden's cheek.
  Weep not, children of Macdonald!
    Weep not thou, his orphan heir--
  Not in shame, but stainless honour,
    Lies thy slaughtered father there.
  Weep not--but when years are over,
    And thine arm is strong and sure,
  And thy foot is swift and steady
    On the mountain and the muir--
  Let thy heart be hard as iron,
    And thy wrath as fierce as fire,
  Till the hour when vengeance cometh
    For the race that slew thy sire;
  Till in deep and dark Glenlyon
    Rise a louder shriek of woe
  Than at midnight, from their eyrie,
    Scared the eagles of Glencoe;
  Louder than the screams that mingled
    With the howling of the blast,
  When the murderer's steel was clashing,
    And the fires were rising fast;
  When thy noble father bounded
    To the rescue of his men,
  And the slogan of our kindred
    Pealed throughout the startled glen;
  When the herd of frantic women
    Stumbled through the midnight snow,
  With their fathers' houses blazing,
    And their dearest dead below.
  Oh, the horror of the tempest,
    As the flashing drift was blown,
  Crimsoned with the conflagration,
    And the roofs went thundering down!
  Oh, the prayers--the prayers and curses
    That together winged their flight
  From the maddened hearts of many
    Through that long and woeful night!
  Till the fires began to dwindle,
    And the shots grew faint and few,
  And we heard the foeman's challenge
    Only in a far halloo;
  Till the silence once more settled
    O'er the gorges of the glen,
  Broken only by the Cona
    Plunging through its naked den.
  Slowly from the mountain-summit
    Was the drifting veil withdrawn,
  And the ghastly valley glimmered
    In the gray December dawn.
  Better had the morning never
    Dawned upon our dark despair!
  Black amidst the common whiteness
    Rose the spectral ruins there:
  But the sight of these was nothing
    More than wrings the wild dove's breast,
  When she searches for her offspring
    Round the relics of her nest.
  For in many a spot the tartan
    Peered above the wintry heap,
  Marking where a dead Macdonald
    Lay within his frozen sleep.
  Tremblingly we scooped the covering
    From each kindred victim's head,
  And the living lips were burning
    On the cold ones of the dead.
  And I left them with their dearest--
    Dearest charge had everyone--
  Left the maiden with her lover,
    Left the mother with her son.
  I alone of all was mateless--
    Far more wretched I than they,
  For the snow would not discover
    Where my lord and husband lay.
  But I wandered up the valley
    Till I found him lying low,
  With the gash upon his bosom,
    And the frown upon his brow--
  Till I found him lying murdered
    Where he wooed me long ago.
  Woman's weakness shall not shame me;
    Why should I have tears to shed?
  Could I rain them down like water,
    O my hero, on thy head,
  Could the cry of lamentation
    Wake thee from thy silent sleep,
  Could it set thy heart a-throbbing,
    It were mine to wail and weep.
  But I will not waste my sorrow,
    Lest the Campbell women say
  That the daughters of Clanranald
    Are as weak and frail as they.
  I had wept thee hadst thou fallen,
    Like our fathers, on thy shield,
  When a host of English foemen
    Camped upon a Scottish field;
  I had mourned thee hadst thou perished
    With the foremost of his name,
  When the valiant and the noble
    Died around the dauntless Graeme.
  But I will not wrong thee, husband!
    With my unavailing cries,
  Whilst thy cold and mangled body,
    Stricken by the traitor, lies;
  Whilst he counts the gold and glory
    That this hideous night has won,
  And his heart is big with triumph
    At the murder he has done.
  Other eyes than mine shall glisten,
    Other hearts be rent in twain,
  Ere the heathbells on thy hillock
    Wither in the autumn rain.
  Then I'll seek thee where thou sleepest,
    And I'll veil my weary head,
  Praying for a place beside thee,
    Dearer than my bridal-bed:
  And I'll give thee tears, my husband,
    If the tears remain to me,
  When the widows of the foemen
    Cry the coronach for thee.

This book is available on-line at Project Gutenberg at
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Thomas Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #81 on: December 04, 2008, 06:31:35 PM »
          A CLAN BARD
      John Thomson. December 15, 2005

      “What exactly is a Bard – one might reasonably ask?
        A simple enough word, not too difficult a task.
        A writer of poems, a teller of tales,
        this singer of songs comes from Scotland and Wales.
        The Bard comes from Erin and other parts too.
        The ‘Man of the Mist’ comes o’er centuries to you.
        The warrior poet pens restlessly yet,
         recording of history to better beget,
        the heroic tales of battles of yore.
        imagination too, to better the score.
        Pathos and pun  - sharp weapons of choice,
        Battles hard won, the Chiefs to rejoice.
        A link to the Druids is certainly made,
        For those who are destined to make words their trade.
        So to all who would listen, let me pass on this clue..
       A Bard serves up history, in verse, that is true!”

                  The Scottish Goddess
       John Thomson.  Clan Bard.  December 31st, 2005

       The Scottish Goddess  has arisen,
        to steal men’s hearts,  their souls to prison.
       With a lilt ~ and a laugh,  why a smile is sufficient
       to capture our love, our minds made deficient.
       With glorious eyes that flash  and  emblazon
       a promise of love, of  intrique – amazin’
       ‘Mmm’,   little purr points
       are uttered to quieten our stuttering heart beats
       for her to enlighten. As female as Eve
      No poet can capture  that essence so pure
     What beautiful rapture.
     The Scottish Goddess has arisen
      poetic  license has ‘gone a missin’
     For we cannot string the verse to hail
     incomparable beauty, our words to fail…

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #82 on: December 05, 2008, 11:51:24 AM »
Good stuff! I really love poetry, unfortunately, I have no talent for writing it.
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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #83 on: December 12, 2008, 09:26:37 AM »
John Buchan (1st Baron of Tweedsmuir) was born in Perth, Scotland in 1874 and was the oldest son of Rev. John Buchan and Helen Buchan. He studied at the University of Glasgow and Brasenose College, Oxford.

He was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet and novelist. He wrote adventure novels, short-story collections and biographies. His passion for the Scottish countryside is reflected in much of his writing. Buchan's adventure stories are high in romance and are peopled by a large cast of characters. Alfred Hitchcock adapted his most famous book The Thirty-Nine Steps for screen.

In the spring of 1915, Buchan agreed to become one of the journalists reporting for the British Army. He was given responsibility for providing articles for The Times and the Daily News. In June 1916, Buchan was recruited by the British Army to draft communications for Sir Douglas Haig and other members of the headquarters staff. He was given the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Intelligence Corps and was also provided with the documents needed to write the Nelson's History of the War.

After the war Buchan continued to write successful adventures stories such as Huntingtower (1922), The Three Hostages (1924) and Witch Wood (1927). He also became involved in politics and in 1927 was elected Conservative MP for the Scottish Universities. John Buchan died on 12th February, 1940.

The Gipsy's Song To The Lady Cassilis

The door is open to the wall,
The air is bright and free;
Adown the stair, across the hall,
And then-the world and me;
The bare grey bent, the running stream,
The fire beside the shore;
And we will bid the hearth farewell,
And never seek it more, My love,
And never seek it more.

And you shall wear no silken gown,
No maid shall bind your hair;
The yellow broom shall be your gem,
Your braid the heather rare.
Athwart the moor, adown the hill,
Across the world away;
The path is long for happy hearts
That sing to greet the day, My love,
That sing to greet the day.

When morning cleaves the eastern grey,
And the lone hills are red
When sunsets light the evening way
And birds are quieted;
In autumn noon and springtide dawn,
By hill and dale and sea,
The world shall sing its ancient song
Of hope and joy for thee, My love,
Of hope and joy for thee.

And at the last no solemn stole
Shall on thy breast be laid;
No mumbling priest shall speed thy soul,
No charnel vault thee shade.
But by the shadowed hazel copse,
Aneath the greenwood tree,
Where airs are soft and waters sing,
Thou'lt ever sleep by me, My love,
Thou'lt ever sleep by me.
Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #84 on: December 16, 2008, 12:41:00 PM »
Here is a poem in Scots by Alexander Gray telling the familiar tale of "No room at the inn".

    Christmas Carol
 'Twas a cauld, cauld nicht i' the back o' the year;
    The snaw lay deep, and the starns shone clear;
    And Mary kent that her time was near,
    As she cam to Bethlehem.
    When Joseph saw the toon sae thrang,
    Quo' he: 'I houp I be na wrang,
    But I'm thinkin' we'll find a place ere lang;'
    But there wasna nae room for them.

    She quo', quo' she: 'O Joseph loon,
    Rale tired am I, and wad fain lie doon.
    Is there no a bed in the hail o' the toon?
    For farrer I canna gae.'
    At the ale-hoose door she keekit ben,
    But there was sic a steer o' fremmyt men,
    She thocht till hirsel': 'I dinna ken
    What me and my man can dae.'

    And syne she spak: 'We'll hae to lie
    I' the byre this nicht amang the kye
    And the cattle beas', for a body maun try
    To thole what needs maun be,'
    And there amang the strae and the corn,
    While the owsen mooed, her bairnie was born.
    O, wasna that a maist joyous morn
    For sinners like you and me?

    For the bairn that was born that nicht i' the sta'
    Cam doon frae Heaven to tak awa'
    Oor fecklessness, and bring us a'
    Safe hame in the hender-en'.
    Lord, at this Yule-tide send us licht,
    Hae mercy on us and herd us richt.
    For the sake o' the bairnie born that nicht,
    O, mak us better men!

    Meaning of unusual words:
    keekit ben=peeked through
    sic a steer o' fremmyt men=such a crowd of strange men
    fecklessness=weakness, incomptence
    hender-en'=latter days of life
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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #85 on: December 17, 2008, 11:51:18 AM »
Thanks Stu, I really love this one!   :-*



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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #86 on: December 21, 2008, 10:13:11 PM »
That was lovely Stu, I've never read that before.  Thank you.

"Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #87 on: January 08, 2009, 10:32:56 AM »
From Rampant Scotland website...

There is something rather couthie (snug and agreeable) about stories from the Bible told in Scots. At one time religion was a very significant part of life in Scotland, so it was only natural some of the stories from the New Testament should be retold in Scots verse. This one, about allowing the children to come to Jesus, was written by William Thomson. Although many readers will know the story, the specifically Scottish words are "translated" as usual at the end of the poem.

The Maister and the Bairns

The Maister sat in the wee cot hoose
By the Jordan's waters near,
An' the fisherfolk crushed an' crooded roon'
The Maister's words tae hear.
An' even the bairns frae the near-haun streets
Were mixin' in wi' the thrang,
Laddies an' lassies wi' wee bare feet
Jinkin' the crood amang.

But yin o' the twal' at the Maister's side
Rose up and cried alood:
'Come, come, bairns, this is nae place for you,
Rin awa' hame oot the crood.'

But the Maister said as they turned awa',
'Let the wee yins come tae Me',
An' he gaithered them roon' Him whaur He sat
An' lifted yin up on His knee.

Aye, He gaithered them roon' Him whaur He sat
An' straiked their curly hair,
An' He said tae the wonderin' fisherfolk
That crushed an' crooded there:

'Send na the bairns awa' frae Me
But raither this lesson lairn:
That nane'll win in at Heaven's yett
That hisna the hert o' a bairn.'

An' He that wisna oor kith or kin
But a Prince o' the Far Awa',
He gaithered the wee yins in His airms
An' blessed them yin an' a'.

Meaning of unusual words:
wee cot hoose=small cottage
Laddies an' lassies=boys and girls
yin o' the twal'=one of the twelve
yin an' a'=one and all

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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #88 on: January 13, 2009, 11:20:13 AM »
The Star o' Rabbie Burns
Words: James Thomson
Music: James Booth

There is a star whose beaming ray
Is shed on every clime.
It shines by night, it shines by day,
And ne'er grows dim wi' time.
It rose upon the banks o' Ayr,
It shone on Doon's clear stream.
A hundred years are gane and mair,
Yet brighter grows its beam.

Let kings and courtiers rise and fa'
This world has mony turns,
But brightly beams abune them aw'
The Star o' Rabbie Burns.

Though he was but a ploughman lad
And wore the hodden grey,
Auld Scotland's sweetest bard was bred
Aneath a roof o' strae.
To sweep the strings o' Scotia's lyre,
It needs nae classic lore;
It's mither wit an' native fire
That warms the bosom's core.


On fame's emblazon'd page enshrin'd
His name is foremost now,
And many a costly wreath's been twin'd
To grace his honest brow.
And Scotland's heart expands wi' joy
Whene'er the day returns
That gave the world its peasant boy
Immortal Rabbie Burns.


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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #89 on: January 16, 2009, 06:27:41 AM »
This is the complete poem referred to in the "Trysting Tree" article under Myths, Customs and Traditions.

The Soldier’s Return: A Ballad

Robert Burns (1793)

When wild war’s deadly blast was blawn,
  And gentle peace returning,
Wi’ mony a sweet babe fatherless,
  And mony a widow mourning;
I left the lines and tented field,
  Where lang I’d been a lodger,
My humble knapsack a’ my wealth,
  A poor and honest sodger.

A leal, light heart was in my breast,
  My hand unstain’d wi’ plunder;
And for fair Scotia hame again,
  I cheery on did wander:
I thought upon the banks o’ Coil,
  I thought upon my Nancy,
I thought upon the witching smile
  That caught my youthful fancy.

At length I reach’d the bonie glen,
  Where early life I sported;
I pass’d the mill and trysting thorn,
  Where Nancy aft I courted:
Wha spied I but my ain dear maid,
  Down by her mother’s dwelling!
And turn’d me round to hide the flood
  That in my een was swelling.

Wi’ alter’d voice, quoth I, “Sweet lass,
  Sweet as yon hawthorn’s blossom,
O! happy, happy may he be,
  That’s dearest to thy bosom:
My purse is light, I’ve far to gang,
  And fain would be thy lodger;
I’ve serv’d my king and country lang—
  Take pity on a sodger.”

Sae wistfully she gaz’d on me,
  And lovelier was than ever;
Quo’ she, “A sodger ance I lo’ed,
  Forget him shall I never:
Our humble cot, and hamely fare,
  Ye freely shall partake it;
That gallant badge-the dear cockade,
  Ye’re welcome for the sake o’t.”

She gaz’d—she redden’d like a rose—
  Syne pale like only lily;
She sank within my arms, and cried,
  “Art thou my ain dear Willie?”
“By him who made yon sun and sky!
  By whom true love’s regarded,
I am the man; and thus may still
  True lovers be rewarded.

“The wars are o’er, and I’m come hame,
  And find thee still true-hearted;
Tho’ poor in gear, we’re rich in love,
  And mair we’se ne’er be parted.”
Quo’ she, “My grandsire left me gowd,
  A maiden plenish’d fairly;
And come, my faithfu’ sodger lad,
  Thou’rt welcome to it dearly!”

For gold the merchant ploughs the main,
  The farmer ploughs the manor;
But glory is the sodger’s prize,
  The sodger’s wealth is honor:
The brave poor sodger ne’er despise,
  Nor count him as a stranger;
Remember he’s his country’s stay,
  In day and hour of danger.
Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!