Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Christie Williamson Poem

Christie Williamson read at the Great Grog Bar on February 10th. I’m very pleased to feature one of his poems, written in Shetland dialect, which was commended in the Wigtown Poetry Competition 2007. It’s a very good poem and I hope you enjoy it.

Some readers might feel immediately daunted by the dialect, but once you get going, it’s not too difficult, and well worth engaging with. Du = you, de/da = the, aa = all, laek = like, hit = it. Just to start you off.

I'd be interested in comments on how anyone unfamiliar with Shetlandic dialect (I guess that means most of us) found reading this poem.


Whit does du tink hit means
wi de faunsy wirds
an de slack smile,
been wi aabuidy
gyaan naewhaar
laek da mapmakker
draain da hert o Shanghai
gittin lost
atween Dim Sum
an fresh lychees;
laek da accoontant
blaain aa his credit
an losin his cheenge
atween livin free
an deein aald;
laek da merchant
grown fat
on shakkin his heid
wirkin aathin oot
keepin aathin in;
laek da kind voice
hearin ay hoo it’s wrang
seein ay hoo it’s richt
keepin ay oot a sicht;
laek da queek tongue
firin verbal bullets
at conceptual targets
troo a funnellin telescopic gless;
laek da ivy
feelin hit’s wye
ee step faurder itae da wid
ivvery day
no keenin whit threatens hit
ony whit keeps hit alive.

.......... - Christie Williamson, 2007

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