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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Unner the Fold by Jim Mackintosh

5th June 2017


Unner the Fold, a poem based on a small item in a newspaper, comes from Jim Mackintosh. Along with Andy Jackson, Jim has been busy compiling a book of poems about football, soon to be published in Dundee. It is good to have Scots language poems integrated with Scottish English in the book.  This poem (not in the book) features Andrew Watson, born 1864, who was the first black international Scottish footballer. The quiet unassuming position of the newspaper item reflects the attitude of the player and his followers.

Jim is the poet in residence for Johnstone football club, and a member of the Souter poetry group, which meets in Perth. He has a website where he heads his feature Comfortable Slippers, giving an image of a poet who canuse words easily in ordinary settings – such as football. Our Scots version of Barnsley poet Ian Macmillan, perhaps?


in the sports section, twa paragraphs
unner the fold, an oot o the spotlicht,
I saw a photograph o a toosled chiel
impassive, beckonin me tae find him
beyond the January transfer windae
proodly displayin his country's badge
oan a jersey o pink an yellow bands,
no in a puffed oot boastin way, no
in a hunkered doon ashamed way,
but as it shid be, ain o his nation's best
a nippy ain tae, wi a hint o Jinky's weave
a ready capped fir Scotland, his faither
a sugar plantation owner, a player o sorts
but as I listen tae the kettle bile an coffee
steams the inky stains oot ma thochts
Andrew Watson's gaze turns a sombre like
when he hears the Classified's, his noble
Queens Park no dae'in sae well noo'adays, no
since he went sooth, gaun fae tanner ba enigma
tae bein swallied up in time added oan.
Jim Mackintosh
Jim Mackintosh