Deid Leid

Sheena Blackhall

Amo amas I lued a lass an she wis tall an slender,
amas amat she caad me flat an dang me ower the fender.

Rhyme learned from Lizzie Philip, my maternal grandmother at Migvie school in the 1890s. Junior pupils, even in remote rural areas, were given a smattering of Latin.

It's forty year granmither's laired in yird,
wirm-maet, her bonnie smile's noo skin an been.
Ye hae her sweirity, her lugs, her verra een,
still, I am telt. Heirskip can ne'er be gien awa nur selt.
I likit the calm sooch o latin verbs,
their rules held stinch, as strang as roads that rang
wi chariots, shelts' hooves an sodjers' shoon.
Foo lang thon reets ran back frae wirds aroon.
It's a deid leid, quo faither. An nae gweed
can cam o hunkerin roon a cauld hairth's rikk,
yon's fossil wirds nae livin sowel can spikk,
sic wirds sit wersh an tasteless in the moo.
There's better things tae stap ahin yer broo.
They gart me tcyauve instead wi geometry,
wi vulgar fractions, trigonometry,
tae senators an satyrs wave ta-ta,
gied me the dry boak, fur Elysia.