The Daith-Tree ( For Pam Aitken)
14th April 2009
Jesus wis a jyner – lang lang syne,
In Joseph's shap, in Nazareth,
The laddie ser'd his time.
He wrocht the bonny cedarwuid, the gopherwuid, the beech,
Wis skeily wi the cheisels, wis hantie wi the eetch,
Coud fettle plous or cairt wheels, coud kirn, coud scrunt, coud snig
Cuid scutch wi the Rob Sorby, snod an squerr an trig
His faither learnt the laddie tae kerve a bonnie yock,
Tae big braw rambust raughters an no lea onie brock.
Tae ken the weys o timmer, its navis-bores its awte:
Tae kep it happ't an caller tae stey oot daise an rot.
He learnt tae dunt the stobs hame, intil aik or esh or yew;
Tae mak a stuffie fixin, strecht an strang an true.
His wrists wis slee an soupil, his airms wis sture an teuch,
His shoothers braid an canty, his hauns wis gleg bit reuch,
Wi Simon an wi Andra He fushed on Galilee,
He kent whit wey the skiff wis colfed tae cowdle on the sea.
An whan He timmed the tables owre, tae skail the nipscarts' gelt,
He kent whit wey the jints wis duin an hou the buirds wis stell't.
Sae whan He humphed His daith-tree, He kent its wecht an lenth,
Coud cairry it fell aisy gin He'd ainly hid his strenth.
An whan they drave the stobs in, He kent hoo mony dings,
Wad dunch them throu the shackle-banes, hou mony hemmer swings.
They liftit up the daith-tree, He kent its awte, its spails,
Its rouchness doun His back-bane, the bluidie skaithin nails.
The lee lang day He hung there, stechin for His braith;
His bluid weezed oot the stob stangs: fell slaw an sair cam daith.
Jesus wis sair rackit on the ruid lang syne,
The bluid weezed doon the daith-tree,
Like roset dreeps doon pine.
David C. Purdie
Chosen by the Scottish Poetry Library for April 2009