The Bonnie Broukit Bairn

The Bonnie Broukit Bairn
Mars is braw in crammasy,
Venus in a green silk goun,
The auld mune shak's her gowden feathers,
Their starry talk's a wheen o' blethers,
Nane for thee a thochtie sparin'
Earth, thou bonnie broukit bairn!
- But greet, an' in your tears ye'll drown
The haill clanjamfrie!

crammasy             crimson
wheen o'blethers    pack of nonsense
broukit                 neglected
haill clanjamfrie      whole crowd of them
Hugh MacDiarmid

from Complete Poems, vol I ed Michael Grieve, W. R. Aitken (Carcanet Press Ltd, 1994) Reproduced by permission of the publisher

Hugh MacDiarmid

Hugh MacDiarmid (C.M. Grieve) was Scotland’s most influential and controversial writer in the 20th century. He urged and enabled the regeneration of all aspects of Scotland’s literature and culture through his poetry, polemical writing and political activity. A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926) is generally regarded as Scotland’s masterpiece of Modernism.

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About The Bonnie Broukit Bairn

This poem is included in the second edition of Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors (Scottish Poetry Library, 2016). The anthology was edited by Kate Hendry; Dr Lesley Morrison, GP; Dr John Gillies, GP and Chair, Royal College of GPs in Scotland (2010-2014); Revd Ali Newell, and Lilias Fraser. A copy of the first edition was given to all graduating doctors in Scotland in 2014 and 2015, and with support from RCGPS and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, to all graduating doctors in 2016, 2017 and 2018. We are very grateful for the individual donations which funded the cost of this anthology, and to the Deans of the Scottish medical schools who made it possible to give the books to their graduating students.