Sma Fowk

by Rab Wilson

(fir LD)

Makkin oor wey up the brae o the Abbey Craig,
sheltert neath braid-leafed auld aik an pine,
cloods rollin drumlie ower the Stirling plain,
shot throu nou wi weird crepuscular licht,
wha’s shafts cam stabbin throu, lik blades o swords;
we courie briefly frae the blaudin shooers.
The monument tae Wallace towers abuin,
whaur frae its braithless heicht the vital grunnd
is seen; the anvil that we aa wir stampit oot oan.
Be’t Stirlin brig; else fawmous Bannockburn –
the lairds an nobles ne’er won Scotland,
but thaim unsung, forleitit in the past.
Ye maist can see thaim; hauberkt, helmed an greaved,
haunds raxin fir thon relict o Monymusk,
whiles in ahint, oan Gillies Hill, sma fowk;
ragabash waggoners, weemin an boys,
whaes heid-lang chairge aiblins taen the day?
Thon’s the eemage aye-an-oan that bides;
‘Gyff fredome failyhe’ – but oan that day it didnae!
Later, bi the auld mill lade we daunder,
Chartershall, its plaque lang worn wi eild,
up past the Boolin green, the battlefield,
we pass an meet an mingle wi thaim yet,
‘sma fowk’ juist bidin oan that unkent day,
whan pusht ower sair they’ll gird their claes aince mair,
tae rise agane an ettle tae the fray.

Ayrshire-born Rab Wilson writes in English and Scots. His ‘owersettin’ in Scots of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was published in 2004 and his first major collection, Accent o the Mind, in 2006. A second collection, Life Sentence, followed in 2009. His latest, A Map for the Blind, was launched at this year’s StAnza festival, which also screened his poetry-led film documentary, Finding the Seam, an elegy for Scotland’s mining industry. In 2007 he became Robert Burns Writing Fellow – in Reading Scots, a new post created by Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association and the Scottish Arts Council. He is currently working with NHS Ayrshire and Arran, setting up a creative writing post within an adult mental health setting.

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