whispers

I ask myself in fear
why it maun be harder noo
tae hear the whisper
in the leaves which
hae begun tae mind
me o’ scratching mice.

The color painted sae
prettily aboon the skies
defies the imaginative
longing it once inspired
in my younger eyes,
graying in the dusk.

The majesty o’ the bens,
the glorious glens
seem forever faded
in the waning sun
as winter settles its
cold claws o’er my world.

An’ love? Aye, e’en so.
Ablow my straining
heart appending points
o’ sorrow seethe seedingly
for attention, crying
for the hope tae believe.

Ghaists

The whisperin’ banes o’ Greyfriars
Throu their long fadin’ prayers
Chant endless verses in my mind

Ever vigilant skulls taunt me still
Peekin’ under crumblin’ eves
Wi’ laughin’ smiles far less than kind

Pretty the banes o’ silent poets
Pretty the teeth o’ thae bairns
When lust is a beggar’s remorse

Empty jails o’ rottin’ covenants
E’en weeds hold mair life than thee
Though surely ye did stay the course

Yet whit o’ me this barren bodach
Wi’ skin barely livid now
Whit stories are yet tae be told

Ablow the limbs o’ this creakin’ oak
Ower grass that maun niver dry
In a city sae clarty and cauld

Whit braw dreams ha’ brought me shiverin’ here
Tae rest on Alba’s shores
An’ stumble amang silent stanes

Tis certain the keen hoary bogles
And bean nighe o’ dreadful cares
Shatterin’ the night wi’ frightful tanes

Then whit o’ me this dull headed gowk
Appalled by life’s angry wynds
Droppin’ crumbs at every dark close

Whit chance mine o’ final redemption
When A canna even hope—
Whit horror will Dia impose

2015.05.19 Edinburgh.Greyfriars 048

The facade of a tomb at Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh.

 

IN ENGLISH

The whispering bones of Greyfriars
Through their long fading prayers
Chant endless verses in my mind

Ever vigilant skulls taunt me still
Peeking under crumbling eves
With laughing smiles far less than kind

Pretty the bones of silent poets
Pretty the teeth of those children
When lust is a beggar’s remorse

Empty jails of rotting covenants
Even weeds hold more life than thee
Though surely ye did stay the course

Yet what of me this barren old man
With skin barely livid now
What stories are yet to be told

Below the limbs of this creaking oak
Over grass that must never dry
In a city so filthy and cold

What fine dreams have brought me shivering here
To rest on Scotland’s shores
And stumble among silent stones

Tis certain the keen hoary bogles
And bean nighe of dreadful cares
Shattering the night with frightful tones

Then what of me this dull headed fool
Appalled by life’s angry streets
Dropping crumbs at every dark close

What chance mine of final redemption
When I can not even hope—
What horror will God impose

[Think of a bogle as a ghost, sometimes perceived as threatening, but others just as a trouble-maker, seeking to confuse or frighten people.  The bean nighe, literally the “washer woman,” is something like the banshee in Irish tradition.  She is said to haunt streams or waters, forever washing the clothes of those doomed to die, thus presaging death.]