Gie’s yer haun an gie’s yer lui
gie’s yer haun an dance wi me
jist ae flooer, me an you,
jist a flooer is aa we’ll be
Merkin time in the reel thegither
ye’ll be cantin the sang wi me
girss in the wund, wund in the heather
girss in the wund is aa we’ll be
I’m cried Howp an you’re cried Fair
but tyne oor names, we’ll baith gang free –
a reel on the brae an naethin mair,
a reel on the braes is aa we’ll be.
haun – hand; lui – love; thegither – together; cantin – singing; girss – grass; tyne – lose; braes – hills
About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2022. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, which includes 5 poems in Scots chosen by a different editor each year with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor for Scots in 2022 was W. N. Herbert.
‘Gie’s yer Haun’ is ane o thae dancin lyrics that leans intae its ain melody and jist sways. It’s the long ‘ee’ soond continuin as the B rhyme across aa three quatrains that diz it, while the A rhyme shifts wi a licht bittie fuitwork. It exemplifies Paterson’s principle that the poem must risk what ithers micht suppose is sentiment if it is ever tae reach the hert – whether o its ain maitter, or that remarkably intelligent organ in the reader, which kens whit’s whit afore the intellect gets near the dance flair. The maitter here is whit ye’d creh Philemon and Baucis syndrome: that crazy tenderness those in love feel when they contemplate the finite nature o that love – no jist that ane must precede the ither, but that baith shall be ‘a reel on the braes an naethin mair’
‘Gie’s Yer Haun‘ is a Scots version of a wee poem by the great Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1945; it forms part of a sequence of four of Mistral’s poems in Scots, which appeared in The Arctic.