A Mither Worries

Sheena Blackhall

Oor universities stap planes wi bairns.
My son will flee awa, leavin ahin a banknote
frae a far kintra. Its name is Azerbaijan.
The banknote is siller an blue,
it is faced wi an ile rig an relatit machinery.

I hae luiked it up on the wab.
It wis pairt o the Great Silk Route.
It has minarets an mosquitoes.
It trades in cement an baccy,
petrochemicals an tay.
It hairsts caviar frae the Caspian Sea.

A hunner billion coggies o its ile
wyte tae be plumbed.
Medes, Persians, Romans, Turks,
hae crossed its howes,
suppit its vodka, etten its spiced meats.
It has weathered Stalin's purges,
reivin, pollution an wars.
It gushes wells.
Its singer-bards, the ashugs, croon fey sangs
strummin the kobutz in the Turkish mainner.
A lan o tigers, wins, an lowp-the-dyke gazelles.

I canna taste or smell this lan on the banknote.
Is it safe tae wauk its bywyes efter dark?
Is the watter clean tae drink, is the workplace frienly?
He says fin he drinks vodka in their bars
sittin alangside Rashid, Tojo, Kamran,
they think he's Georgian, dinna ken he's Scots.
This lan, this Azerbaijan, dae they like incomers?
Are they ootlinned, or waur? A mither worries.