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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Gayle Smith - The Mither Leid

11th February 2021

Gayle Smith is a transwoman and spoken word poet from Baillieston. She co-hosts the long running Words And Music night with her friend Jen Hughes. She has performed her work throughout Scotland since 1993 and is particularly proud of her connection with the Other Voices spoken word collective. 

The Mither Leid 

A' ken her fine the mither tongue ma ain folk's speak
a ken whaur she bides
in oor hames streets and schools
a weel mind the rules a wis taucht as a wean
dominees nipped ma brain and the brains o the bairns o the land
commanding us tae use the queens English
aye richt
like a wis gauny dae that
ma faither said it wis racist
and folk should ken the leid o the place whaur they bide
and no hide it fur naebody
no courtier nor crown
fur centuries we wur telt dinnae speak Scots
it maks oor betters look down on us
so when we didnae listen
we kent fine whit wid happen
and it wis nae laughing matter a
git belted when a was young
but we noo we claim oor richt
and Scots wull speak our mither tongue.
It's oor leid and we wull use it
 no as Wullie Shakespeare liked it
but as we dae
it's an easy leid to learn
but if ye want translations a kin gie richt fair few
bide means stay and menister means preacher
quine means woman and dominee the teacher
it's no just a dialect or a form o English
it's a leid o' its ain
and tae speak it oor privilege

Gayle Smith 2020