A Hauf-a-Croun o Devolutioun

A Hauf-a-Croun o Devolutioun
‘Say efter me,’ said Rab, as he gied the waen
a hauf-croun muckle 's the muin i the middle air,
the siller mellow wi munificence,
‘Say, “Thank ye for the next yin, for I'm shair
o this yin.”’ A wyss man, Rab! An wysslik bairn,
obedient tae dae sae nane daur say
‘You dae it nane,’ aye mynds this lesson laerit:
whit's no in devolutioun for tae gie 
                       is independence free.
Ay, Rab, Rab Henderson, ye never thocht
ye'd gie the gowd o independence tae a bairn
wi yer kyndlie siller, but thare's mair ye wrocht
wi yer ‘As lang's we can say “Damn the damnatiouner,”
an “Tae hell wi sovereigntie”, we're aa richt.’ Here
I paraphrase in periphrasis. See,
yer gowdlik siller has at last fund whaur
this makar is an alchemist indeed
                       tae leade yer wurds or leid them!
The hauf-a-croun o devolution, Rab,                            
is never gien wi graciousness, but girns wi
greed in the giein as tho fae some auld crab,
fae some doon-moother. We ken thon soorlik face
fae thon timm back afore her doore grimace
for frichtin bairns was pentit oot o kennin.
Ay, girn she girns, but the mair she girns, the less
lyker is thrittie devolutioun pence
                       the croun o independence.

4th March 1978, final stanza 4th April 1978
T. S. Law

from At the Pynt o the Pick and Other Poems (Blackford: Fingerpost Publicatiouns, 2008)

Reproduced by permission of the Estate of T.S. Law.
T. S. Law

T. S. Law was a prolific poet who wrote mainly in Scots and produced work in a great variety of form and length, his subjects being working-class culture and community, the political condition of Scotland and the world-wide imperative of freedom.

Read more about this poet