Plainsong 1

Shetland 1907

Hit's a lang gaet ta Lerook, an me
at da faain fit wi twins. A'll sell
spencers an glivs fur linen.

Da boys wir up afore scöl. Dey'll
seek lambs i da hill aa day
if A'm no dere ta scoom dem.

I hoop da lasses is mindit wir kye
flitted dem tae da wattery höls.
Hit's lichtsome wark i da simmer.

I sud be blyde o wir göd well
aye clean, aye lipperin.
Der's no mony days at A'm missed.

Whit a mird o fock i da rigs da day
turnin da hay. If da wadder hadds
we'll cole wir mödow da moarn.

A'll change mi feet at da Staney Hill.
Rivlins is fine fur traivellin, but
A'll wear shön i da toon.

I hae a göd man. He'll meet me
at Fladdabister apö mi hameward gaet.
A'll sit i da kert lik a queen.

We'll hae sookit piltocks whin
I win hame, an a plate o mellie tatties.
Fur noo, blaand 'll hadd mi haert.

Dis bairns 'll gien on, baith o dem
if dey'r spared. We'll sell a quaig
if we hae een, an twartree lambs.

I wid lik a widden flör i da but end
an a peerie black stove. I could roast
a duke, bake a curn lof. Whitna day!

hit's: it is; gaet: footpath; at da faain fit: about to give birth; A'll: I'll; glivs: gloves; wir: were, our; scöl: school; dey'll: they'll; aa: all; no: not; dere: there; scoom: chase them off; hoop: hope; is mindit: have remembered; wir: our; kye: cows; flitted: moved tethered animals to fresh grazing; dem: them; wattery höls: small patches of permanent surface water; lichtsome: cheerful; sud: should; blyde: glad; göd: good; lipperin: almost overflowing; der's: there are; at: that; mird: throng; fock: folk; i: in; rigs: fields; da day: today; wadder: weather; hadds: holds; mödow: meadow; da moarn: tomorrow; change me feet: change my footwear; rivlins: soft shoes made from untanned hide; traivellin: walking; shön: shoes; toon: town; apö: on; kert: cart; sookit piltocks: wind-dried saithe (coalfish); win: reach; mellie tatties: floury potatoes; noo: now; blaand: sour whey; hadd mi haert: sustain me; dis: these; gien on: go on to secondary school; dey'r: they're; quaig: heifer; een: one; twartree: a few; wid: would; widden: wooden; flör: floor; but end: kitchen; peerie: small; duke: duck; curn lof: fruit cake; whitna: what a; muzi: homestead; go-go: granny

Christine De Luca, The Shetland Library, 2002


  • "Christine De Luca's bilingualism makes her liguistically alert and accute."Northwords, Winter Issue, 02/03
  • "There is no suggestion that the old days were better; instead, we are made to feel that the present is just another stage."The New Shetlander, No. 221 - Hairst Issue 2002
  • "De Luca is an excellent reader of her own poetry, as the accompanying CD to this volume attests."Scotland on Sunday, July 2002
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