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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Tam i' the Kirk

5th June 2007

O Jean, my Jean, when the bell ca's the congregation
O'er valley an' hill wi' the ding frae its iron mou',
When a'body's thochts is set on their ain salvation,
Mine's set on you.
There's a reid rose lies on the Buik o' the Word afore ye
That was growin' braw on its bush at the keek o' day,
But the lad that pu'd yon flower i' the mornin's glory -
He canna pray.
He canna pray, but there's nane I' the kirk will heed him
Whaur he sits sae still his lane at the side o' the wa',
For nane but the reid rose kens what my lassie gied him -
It and us twa.
He canna sing for the sang that his ain he'rt raises,
He canna see for the mist that's afore his e'en,
And a voice drouns the hale o' the psalms an' the paraphrases,
Crying 'Jean! Jean! Jean!'

Violet Jacob (1863-1946)

Poetry selected by The Scottish Poetry Library