The siller moonlicht straiks ower
this boorach o neds that jumped me,
hellbent oan ma daith. Ah feel the reek
o nicotine an mingin bodies.
There’s Auld Bawheid, gowpin lik a trout;
an Wee Yin bummin’ awa at me an speirin:
Haw, Andra, whaur’s yer God noo?
Naething lik bein stark deid, is there, pal?
Thir’s a hale tsunami o fowk soomin towards me:
some wifies are staunin lik bubblyjocks at Christmas.
But wan lassie is hunkered doon oan a cauld stane
in the clarty watter unner ma feet,
luikin glaikit an disjaskit, as if she’s hud a lugfu
o Sunday sermons. Here’s nae place fur a lassie.
Whit are they daein here?
Is there naethin oan telly?
Or is the Net doon oan thir computers?
Ocht, wid ye luik at thir een poppin oot thir heids,
ettlin fur a wee swatch o me hingin here?
This wisnae whit Ah’d planned
when Ah tuik ma career break fae fishin.
Ah shuldnae huv listened tae aw that patter
aboot fishin fur men – whit a load o guff!
Insteid o hingin here by a threid,
raxed oot lik an Arbroath smokie
an flung ower a saltire.
Thir’s nae rest fur the wicked!
An Ah’m gey feart an dinnae ken
whaur Ah’ll be the morra.
About this poem
The inspiration for the poem came from Peter Howson’s painting “The Crucifixion of St Andrew” (along with the preparatory sketches). His distortion of the faces and figures of both the executioners and onlookers made a deep impact on me. This unconventional portrayal of a familiar topic inspired me to write the poem.
The poem was the Scottish Arts Council’s featured poem in Scots in March 2010.