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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Pool by David Eyre

9th April 2018

David Eyre, who has command of the three languages of Scotland, was the Gaelic writer in residence at StAnza poetry festival in March this year. He has made a presentation for StAnza on kaleidoscopic vision, presenting poems in two languages. His poem about the Pool, where a number of the visiting poets took bracing swims, uses Scots along with Gaelic.
    The Scots used in this poem is experimental.  David explains it thus:
“Tom Leonard’s Unrelated Incidents is an important book for me, but I’ve never before attempted this kind of orthographic representation of west of Scotland voice. I’ve no idea why it felt so appropriate for me to try it here. One thing that’s I’ve done differently is to represent a glottal stop with a struck-through t.
Gaelic speakers will recognise that I’ve stolen the theme and rhythm of ‘An Ataireachd Bhuan’ by Domhnall Maclomhair.”
    This is challenging and makes us work and think as we read. Taking the trouble to identify glottal stops is doubtless more than a standard orthography can handle, but it is the job of poets to explore and develop language, and this poem is clearly flagged as an exploration.
    As well as drawing on Tom Leonard, the spellings are a little like Sandie Craigie’s, also based on Glasgow and demotic Edinburgh Scots.

Pool by David Eyre

Thi swelly thi see it bee thehr
whin am chaokin ma lahst.
Bit thi day, ahm swimmin in a pool
wher thi brine hiz been clahspt
atween waws thit wur bilt
bi thaim thit thawt thay shood rool,
bit fir me thirz mehr heer
thin thay bugurz new.
Coz iz thaht no whit weer it – uz poits -
buldin new waws?
Pitin frames oan bawld naychir tay mayk it
adapt tay ur cawz?
Mayk it eezeeur fir us tay ehcoa oor
hingkin purvehrs?
Iz this reely a swimin pool?
Coz am hingkin it mite be a vehrs.