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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Amy Rafferty : Diamonds

6th November 2013


"C'mon Hen, sing 'Diamonds' fur yir Granny"   

They're aw sitting round 
on sofas and chairs, 
wi mair on the flair, 
faces flushed wi laughing 
an drinking. 
An there's wee me, 
shilpit and shy, 
standing oan the rug, 
in front o' the fire, 
trying no tae cry. 

"C'mon, wee Marilyn, Belt it oot!" 

An ah look up, 
fae under ma fringe and ah start; 
'A kiss on the hand...' 
And as soon as the sounds 
come out o' ma mouth 
the tears come wi them 
and ah run as fast as ah can 
an hide behind the curtains. 

"Och, the wee soul, 
all a bit much for her, eh?" 

"Aye, she's ower tired, 
long day fur her, mind" 

The grown-ups all cluck and laugh 
and soothe and fret, 
ower their tired wee pet 
they've still no managed tae get oot 
frae behind they curtains yet.

Now we know we have one and a half million Scots speakers out there, there must be several thousand poets. And we won't run out of poetry while there are young people like Amy Rafferty writing poems in Scots.

Amy Rafferty was brought up, she tells me, in a house full of actors and musicians in Glasgow. She was well grounded by her maternal grandparents from Clydebank, from whom she learnt traditional Scots songs and much of her language. Theyd say bairn and breenge and bree and brose and other words not beginning with B but ending in achs and ochs and I loved it. 

Later she started hearing different accents in different parts of the country, and read Liz Lochhead and Edwin Morgan and realised they had her own Glasgow approach to the language. Then she moved to Dundee with her family where there was a cakeshop called Land O' Cakes and a Chinese takeaway called The Kerry Oot. Dundee taught her, she says, to 'Ehm' for 'I'm' and say 'minter' instead of 'riddy' for blushing and turned her voice all singy songy and cut the edge from her west coast ways. 

Amy Rafferty is a Glaswegian, although she is currently living in the West Midlands. Her poetry and prose can be found in several anthologies and publications, both on-line and off. She is a postgraduate student of Creative Writing at Glasgow University. She is also the baby in the graveyard scene of the original Wicker Man, which I suppose is what comes of having thespian parents.