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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Lament for a Lost Dinner Ticket by Margaret Hamilton

See ma mammy
See ma dinner ticket
A pititnma
Pokit an she pititny

See thon burnty
Up wherra firewiz
Ma mammy says
Am no tellynagain
No’y playnit.
A jist wen’y eatma
Pokacrisps furma dinner

The wummin sed Aver near
Jistur heednur
Wee wellies sticknoot.

They sed Wot heppind?
Nme’nma belly
Na bedna hospital.
A sed A pititnma
Pokit an she pititny

They sed Ees thees chaild eb slootly
Non verbal?
Nwen’y sleep.

Learning resources

'Lament for a Lost Dinner Ticket' can provide an enjoyable and accessible introduction to poetry in Scots. Because it is a dramatic monologue it lends itself to reading aloud and role-playing activities. The effect of the poem is probably greater if pupils are left to 'decipher' it by themselves rather than listening to it or the teacher reading it first.

Take it in turns to read this poem out loud. It may take a few goes before you work out how to do this.

Reading / listening

Listen to the poem and compare your reading with the audio file.


Who is talking to us in this poem, telling the story?

What happens in the poem?

Apart from the narrator, who else is speaking in the poem?

Which lines in the poem sound different from the rest? In what way? Who is speaking here? What can you tell about them from the way they speak?

Some of the words in the poem are like two or more words run together (eg 'pititnma'). Try to find some more examples of this in the poem. Why do you think the author made these into one word?

Look at the spelling used in the poem. Pick out some words which are spelled differently from the way you might expect. Why has the author spelled them this way?


Create a cartoon strip telling the story of the poem.

Act out the story of the poem.

Practise saying the poem out loud till you can do it really well, then recite it in front of your class or group. You could maybe have different voices for the different characters in the poem.

In your own version of Scots (or your own dialect) write ailment for something you have lost, eg Lament for a lost football, Lament for a lost dog.

Improvise / write scripts based on one or more of the following scenarios. Think about how each character would speak. Would they sound the same in each situation? For example, would the mother speak the same way to her friend as she would to the council official?

A The child's mother speaks to the doctor in the hospital, telling her/him what happened and asking how serious the child's injuries are, how long she will be in hospital, etc.

B The child's mother phones the council to complain about the dangerous state of the wall which fell on her child.

C The child's mother phones either her friend or the child's father to tell them what has happened.

D A reporter from the local paper comes to interview the child's mother about the accident.

Write the council report which the official has to produce after the mother complains about the wall.