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Tellin the Beads o Mornin, Balquhidder, by Sheena Blackhall

8th December 2014

Heres a seasonal new poem from Sheena Blackhalls handsome new volume The Space Between: New and Selected Poems, published this year by Aberdeen University Press. Sheenas unerring first-language use of Doric, or Aberdeenshire Scots as she prefers to call it, has earned her a huge reputation in her region and nationally.

There is a wholeness to this poem that stems from Sheenas complete grasp of her vocabulary (instances from her writings run all through the Dictionar o the Scots Leid), while her knack of observation, of listening to silence, is also evident.

Balquhidder in Stirlingshire is a favourite place she regularly visits, saying it reminds her of the Dee valley when she grew up there, in quieter times. 
This is a short, flawless, fine and traditional poem to take us over the winter festivals..


Tellin the Beads o Mornin, Balquhidder.


Cauldly, cauldly lifts the mist,
Fae the chitterin taps o fir
Dreiply, dreiply hings the frost
Blae wi smacherie o smirr.

Hye awa the brukken baa
O the yowes that reenge the glen
Brakk the seelence o the wurld
Birds an gangrel bodies ken. 

Gurly grey as dragons braith
Like a ghaistie fae the grun
Cauldy, cauldly lifts the Mist
Tellin winter has begun

Sheena Blackhall