Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Poems frae Ben the Hoose 71: George T Watt

Here's a braw an stalwart spikker o the leid, George T Watt. As wis said afore, ma ain folk wir a mix o bona fide heelanders an pitmen frae the likes o Auchinleck an Lugar. Ma paternal granfaither has oan his marriage certificate coal miner an masseur, an haed a name fur spikking tae speerits, too, or so ah jalouse. He wis a healer. But a they Ayrshire McMillans wid hae spoken the Scots leid, nae doot aboot it. An ma mither, Gaelic. An here's me, mitherin awa a the time in this hybrid tongue. But am ettlin tae scrieve mair in Scots aiblins an ma new collection o poetry is aboot strange tales frae Scots history. A in Scots, or ma version!  Mair leal-hertit tae the cause an skeely is ma freend ben the hoose the day tho, fur, haein footert aron wi in English fur a while he is noo bent set on writin in his mither tongue. An a gallant makar he is.

George T Watt haes been published in Lallans, (magazine o the Scots Language Society) Gutter, an New Writing Scotland as weel as in some anthologies. Ane o his poems wis selectit in the tap twinty o 2014. He haes ae new collection, Furth Frae The Darg that’s unner Lockdoun aye noo. The recorded poem is frae this collection. He dis streive nae tae be ower political but finds it haird in thay fell politic times.

"I’m fur independence, I’m fur Europe, I’m fur a carin, sharing, aa inclusive society, I dinnae fit in awfy weel wi Brexit Britain. Hooiniver, I maun admit that screivin in Scots is ae political statement anaa. It is a wey o sayin I can express masel fine in ma ane Leid an gin ye dinnae unnerstaun, yon’s nae ma problem. Fowk faw screive in Scots are sayin Scots is as guid as ony ither Leid, nae better, but as guid as. It maist certain isnae some gameramous, gabble o skite frae the moos o an unnerclass faw cannae spik ‘proper’"

As fur his past, thare’s muckle o it, he saies,an that’s whaur it’ll bide. Noo he bides blithe in Arbroath.

Here he is, readin 'The Openin o the V and A Dundee':

Here, George's profile frae the Scottish Poetry Library:


Twa mair poems tae listen tae:


Linnhe View

Deylicht cams in canny on ae winter’s morn,
nae sunlicht heralds this slaw dawn,
rid an green the bouylichs flicker in the loun,
luikin Linnhe-wards frae Ardgour.

Beinn a’Bheithir tourin frae Appin’s shore,
ae shudder haudin agin the distant moor
an aa aroon the mountains cologue thair pooer
luikin Linnhe-wards frae Ardgour.

Lismore like ae sentry bars the seaward yett,
the wurld will nae gain entry yet,
fur here the ceinturies ar juist ae puckle stour
luikin Linnhe-wards frae Ardgour.

Nicht gangs weary like yuletime snaw,
slaw the lift taks on ae lichter hue,
will gled tidins cam wi this grey hoor
luikin Linnhe-wards frae Ardgour?

Faw can tell fit this dey micht bring,
we hae nae control ower hoo the sang will sing,
we maun haud atween the rid an green,
luikin Linnhe-wards frae Ardgour.

(First published in Lallans Magazine)

Niel Gow

The blin man wuid aaweys ken yer bow sicsyne,
sic wis the fluence o yer wrist as ye played,
an fit in hobnail bit, clog, or saft calf skin
wuid step the heichtmaist fan ye reeled.

But mair important ye kent hoo tae flatter an fawn
ladies faw socht a tune by Gow named i thair honour.
Ye gar thaim wi guid braid tung an wuts weel hewn
tae kep thair place an ye yer ain, nae seekin favour.

Frae Baden Baden tae the great ha o Blair,
thay cairrit symphonies tae the gentry’s parlours
an ye wuid gae thay maisters licht an air,
the tunes Europe sailin ower heilan arbours.

Music was yer aa be it castle ha or cotter hous,
for Scottish Country Dancin echt by thirty twa
fan the Bratach Bana frae turret cairriet the news,
or kintra ceilidhs wheechin birlin, gaein thair aa.

Yer chair bides noo whaur it aaweys stuid,
waitin for the Maister’s dowp tae tak its saet,
ye wir niver some mechanical fiddler cours an rude,
but a classical violin player, ane o the greats!

(Frae 'Scotia Extremis')

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