A Blessin fir St Monans by John Brewster
15th February 2016
Bairn o wave an sea-wind, nursed on star-milk,
cooried in wi blankets o pitch-black nicht;
we thank ye. Thank ye fir yer stany licht,
a caundle o canniness lit fir ilk
an ivery wan o us. Nae sultan’s silk
or maharajah’s satin cloot ti dicht
awa yer tears. Jist honest weave, fish-bricht;
stitched wi thraids o saut an saund an prayer whilk
rin lik a luver’s fingers throu yer hair.
St Monans, aince a holy man, a craw,
dreamin staundin-stane facin oot ti shore;
an aye a hame fir fishin fowk an lore.
But, in the beginnin, God’s bairn; a raw
cry fae Hivin: a blessin ti the puir.
A very nice sonnet from a new book published by Cultured Llama in Medway, Kent. It’s rare to find Scots poetry published in the South East of England. John Brewster’s book, Automatic Writing, contains mainly poems in English but there are a dozen poems in Scots, including one or two in both Scots and English, always an interesting mix.
John Brewster is based in Fife, as can be heard in the language details. It’s a cleverly rhymed sonnet which sticks to its own logic and gives a very moving account of the fishing village. I particularly like the line ending prayer whilk, prayer foreshadowing the sestet rhymes and whilk completing the octave. And I like the neatness of the whole, and the fact that the writer avoids using Scots for the seamier subject matter in a book, which can sometimes happen.