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Tinker

Scot / Scottish Verse

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Tinker

Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry

Scot Verse can be traced back to an oral tradition of the Celtic and Gaelic poets of the 2nd century. However unlike other cultures hailing from the same Celtic roots such as Ireland and Wales who's poetry was recorded and passed on to future generations, there are only a few ancient Scot manuscripts from the 12th century which contain only "scraps of (Scot) poetry." In the 13th and 14th centuries, there are a few poets whose work has been preserved. One is Scot poet George Buchanan who wrote primarily in Latin and is known for his lyrical translation of the Psalms. With the turbulent political history of the Scots, their language and literature have been equally as turbulent. By the 14th century, Scots was the language of the lowlands while Gaelic remained the language of the highlands. The Reformation of the 16th century saw not only religious reform but also a Scottish language reform which seems to have put a halt to Scottish literature for a couple of centuries. The few who survived the era were influenced by the English poet Chaucer and were known as the Scottish Chaucerians. But since the end of the 17th century, many Scot poets have written in English. Though the "English" of the early Scot poets is riddled with Gaelic and Scot words and one can audibly hear the Scottish burr in some pieces. Then in the 18th century, there was a resurgence of Scottish poetry spearheaded by Robert Burns. The current British Poet Laureate is a Scot, Carol Ann Duffy and she stays true to her Scot roots.

The Scottish Prince by Carol Ann Duffy

Every summer, I visit the Scottish Prince
at his castle high on a hill outside Crieff.
We dine on haggis and tatties and neeps –
I drink water with mine and the Prince sips
at a peaty peppery dram. Then it's time for the dance.

O Scottish Prince, the heathery air sweetens the night.
Bats hang upside down in the pines like lamps waiting
for light. Ask me, ask me to dance to the skirl o' the pipes.

All the girls are in dresses. The boys are in kilts,
but no boy's so fine as the Prince in his tartan pleats.
I wait for a glance from the Prince, for the chance
to prance or flounce by his side, to bounce hand in hand
down the Gay Gordon line. Och, the pleasure's a' mine!

O Scottish Prince, the heathery air sweetens the night.
Bats hang upside down in the pines like lamps waiting
for light. Ask me, ask me to dance to the skirl o' the pipes.

At the end of summer, I say goodbye to the Scottish Prince
and catch a train to the South, over the border, the other side
of the purple hills, far from the blue and white flag, waving farewell                  
from the castle roof. The Prince will expect me back again
next year – here's a sprig of heather pressed in my hand as proof.

O Scottish Prince, the heathery air sweetens the night.
Bats hang upside down in the pines like lamps waiting
for light. Ask me, ask me to dance to the skirl o' the pipes.
Ask me, ask me, ask me to dance to the skirl o' the pipes.

Sweet Rose of Virtue by William Dunbar1460-1525
                      loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sweet rose of virtue and of gentleness,
delightful lily of youthful wantonness,
richest in bounty and in beauty clear
and in every virtue that is held most dear―
except only that you are merciless.

Into your garden, today, I followed you;
there I saw flowers of freshest hue,
both white and red, delightful to see,
and wholesome herbs, waving resplendently―
yet everywhere, no odor but bitter rue.

I fear that March with his last arctic blast
has slain my fair rose of pallid and gentle cast,
whose piteous death does my heart such terrible pain
that, if I could, I would compose her roots again―
so comforting her bowering leaves have been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brus
Burns Stanza
Flyting
Stave


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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