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Stirling Thompson:
I have always loved poetry so lets try some here!

From Best Scottish Poems of 2007

The Big Mistake by Jim Carruth

The Big Mistake

the shepherd on the train told me

is to clip hill milking ewes too soon

I put my newspaper down;
he'd got my attention.

Nothing puts the milk off them quicker
than just a day like last Wednesday.
And when it goes off at this time of year,
it never comes back.

His warning continues

They never get so rough in the backend,
and have less protection
against the storms and the winter chill.

He glances up,
checks his crook in the luggage rack

And another thing
is that the wool neither weighs so heavy
nor looks so well. It's the new growth
that brings down the scales.

A fleece from a ewe that's near
hasn't the same feel as one from a ewe
that has plenty of rise and a good strong stoan.

In the beginning of July the new wool on a thin ewe
will grow more in one week under the fleece
than it will do in three with the fleece clipped off.

He summarised his argument for me

Experienced flock masters never clip hill stocks
before the second week of July.
In terms of the sheep's sufferings
a strong sun is little less severe than a cold rain.

He stopped there
looked out the window at the passing fields
then fell asleep to Waverley
content that a stranger in a suit
had listened to his wisdom
this wisdom I now share with you.

Stirling Thompson:
“This poem is said to have been a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Considering the last verse (by the boastful McAllister) it must be assumed that the Queen Mum had that famous twinkle in her eye when she said she liked it! The poem is by the late D.M. Mackenzie”

McAllister Dances Before the King

Clansmen, the peats are burning bright,
Sit round them in a ring,
And I will tell of that great night
I danced before the king! For as a dancer in my youth,
So great was my renown,
The king himself invited me,
To visit London town.

My brand new presentation kilt
And ornaments I wore;
And with my skein dhu,
I rapped upon the door.

Soon I heard a Lord or Duke
Come running down the stairs,
And to the keyhole put his mouth,
Demanding who was there!

“Open the door” I sternly cried,
“As quickly as you can.
Is this the way that you receive
A Scottish gentleman?”

The door was opened; word went round,
“McAllister is here.”
And with the news, the palace rang
With one tremendous cheer.

The King was sitting on his throne,
But down the steps he came.
Immediately the waiting Lord,
Pronounced my magic name.

And all the ladies of the court
With pearls and jewels bedecked,
Did blush and tremble as I
Bowed to them with due respect.

Slowly at first with hands on hips,
I danced with ease and grace.
Then raised my hands above my head,
And swifter grew my pace.

At last no human eye could see
My step so light and quick.
And from the floor great clouds of dust
Came rising fast and thick.

The King was greatly moved,
And shook my hand in friendship true.
“Alas,” he said, “Although a king,
I cannot dance like you.”

And then the gracious queen herself
Came shyly o’er to me,
And pinned a medal on my breast,
For everyone to see.

Her whisper I shall n’er forget,
Nor how her eyes grew dim.
“Ach, where were you, McAllister,
The day I married him!”

 ;D  Love that poem.  ;D  Always liked the Queen Mum too, think she was a better Queen than her daughter.


Thank you for the poem, Stirling.


Stirling Thompson:
Can't do Scottish poetry without Rabbie Burns!

Robert Bruce's March To Bannockburn

Robert Burns

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie!

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power-
Chains and Slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a Slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha, for Scotland's King and Law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or Free-man fa',
Let him on wi' me!

By Oppression's woes and pains!
By your Sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!-
Let us Do or Die!


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