Seasons

Seasons
Skeich wes the hert i the spring o the year
whan the well-sawn yird begoud tae steer
an the plewlan’s promise gledened the ee
atween Balgerran an Balmaghie.

The lang het simmer cam an rowed
the haill Glenkens in a glent o gowd
an the gangan fit on the hill gaed free
atween Balgerran an Balmaghie.

Hairst an the cornriggs flisked i the wun
like a rinnan sea i the southan sun;
then ilka meeda peyed its fee
atween Balgerran an Balmaghie.

Nou the lang year’s dune, an the druim grows stey
an the snaa liggs caal ower Cairnsmore wey;
the crannreuch’s lyart on ilka tree
atween Balgerran an Balmaghie.
William Neill

from Selected Poems 1969 – 1992 (Canongate, 1994)

Reproduced by permission of the publisher.
William Neill

William Neill was born in Prestwick, Ayrshire in 1922. He joined the RAF on leaving school, and having seen many parts of the world, left the forces in the 1960s, and studied Celtic literatures as a mature student at the University of Edinburgh. He then taught English in Galloway, before retiring to the village of Crossmichael. 

His first collection of poems was published when he was in his fifties; Selected Poems 1969-1992 was issued by Canongate in 1994, and Caledonian Cramboclink by Luath Press in 2002. William Neill's impressive body of work includes translations from various European languages, often exploring other 'minority' European languages and attitudes to them. He saw his poetry - in Scots, Gaelic and English - as 'a standing up for the small tongues against the big mouths'.

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