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‘Birthday’ by Fernando Pessoa

18th September 2020

Jim Ferguson is a well known Glasgow poet I've had the pleasure of poeming with at many a Glasgow spoken word event over the past 5 years I've known him, he is such fun to have attending any poetry event. Jim had been on the Glasgow poetry scene for many a year and would argue the fact he is one of the creators of the 'scene'.

Jim is a published poetry author and enjoys adding his poetry to music from the comfort of his own home, and regularly sends me his recordings toplay on the radio. Its Jim's Birthday, so from all at The Scots Language Centre, I'd like to wish Jim a very happy birthday. He has submitted his suitably fitting birthday poem for all to enjoy, written in his mother tongue Scots. Happy birthday Jim. 

‘Birthday’ by Fernando Pessoa (Alvaro de Campos)

Translated into Scots by Jim Ferguson 

Back in the day at ma birthday pairty 
Ah wiz cheery an naebdy wiz deid.
In yonder auld hoose, ma birthday, 
it wiz even centuries aulder than me.
Oor joy, your joy, n ma joy, wuzziz good iz any religion. 

Back in the day at ma birthday 
Ah wiz that fuhlla joy, ah wiz daft.
Ah cared nuthin fur hopes headin furrit,
Wiz the brains o oor hail clan.
Later, whin hope ah wiz needin, ah didny ken how tae hope,
An ah just couldny fun any meanin, as lang at ma life ah did peer.

Fur ivrihin ah thoat that ah wiz,
Fur aw in the heart an the hame...

Whit did ah tak frae oor cosy nights
Frae being loved and secure as a wean?
Whit? oh my God, an right just thismorn ah kent,
Noo it’s gone, aw loast, canny funnit,
It’s aw gone so faur away.

Back in the day at ma birthday 
Whin ah wizny cauld, damp an auld,
An there wiz nae mould oan the wa’s.
The day am the mould in the hallway,
Am a hoose o tremblin an tears,
The hoose o ma loved yins is sold,
Ma loved yins aw deid,
An me bae maself, just a spent match heid, just a skelf ...

Back in the day at ma birthday, 
Ma love, we are livin this time,

Oor souls an oor boadies will meet there again,
For houghmagandie, plus, the divine.
Lovin masel like maself loves you,
We’ll wolf doon the past like butter an breid
Nae time fur worries tae trouble oor teeth, 
Ah see it again razor sharp, but am blin tae aw that’s right here;
The table is set furra throng, wae glasses and china sae fine,
Sideboard loaded wae sweeties an fruit, an mer sits just oota sicht,
Auld aunties and cousins aw come frae afar, an aw because o me.

Back in the day at ma birthday...
Stoap, my heart’s gonny brek, I canny think...
Uch, leave thinkin just tae the heid,
Uch God, dear God, oh my God!
Ah canny be arsed wae ma birthday,
Dinnae pairty fur thon anymer,
Ah just coont the days,
An ah go oan ma way
An ah’ll be auld whin am auld.
That’s it.
An am fashed wae masel fur no haudin,
The jewels o the past in ma pouch, 
Back in the day...
Whin they 
ma birthday.