The Wind's Rant
The Wind's Rant: a Fiddlers' Set
(For Jen Hadfield)
I. Jen's Delight
Laurie is birling down the bus
round the poles, right, left and off.
What's got into her?
The wind coughs, like a grumpy scorie,
who huff puffs
then back-swerves, a frisbie across the sky.
On the school roof, the wind-gauge whirls.
Jeans and t-shirts are flytin' on the washing-line.
A peerie moustache
is whipped up on the ferry's prow.
The world is turning
tuning to the wind.
II. Slow Air
The wind from faraway Iceland drives the swell
beneath our feet as the Hendra lifts.
O my God! It's the Stoor Worm yawning.
The wind takes a deep breath from its diaphragm,
through the hollow aluminium rails.
The wind slides and slurs
the grass seeds with grace notes.
The wind dirls on the drystane wall,
or hums through the cracks.
III. Skeklers' Reel
Midnight titters, scuffles at the door.
It dares you to open:
the joke's on you.
Batten down your roofs!
Net down your rubbish bags!
Pebbles on the peat shed,
driving hail of showers.
Hold onto your heads!
Veering up the voe, swirling round the salmon-rings,
ripping out the mussel strings,
A fat lady in a helmet
and bronze cones for breasts
hits the High A.
Arms wide embrace the world.
birl - whirl
peerie- little, wee
skerry - rock, submerged in the sea, some of the time
skoosh (Scots) - whoosh
voe - sea-loch
The Stoor Worm was a sea-dragon in Shetlandic mythology;
Skeklers - were guizers who dressed up in straw-costumes, went round houses and played mischievous tricks
usually at Hallow-e'en or New Year's Eve. (Trick or treaters is the American equivalent.)
I am not a Shetlandic (Shaetlan) speaker. I have picked up words from my visits there and am also indebted to 'The Shetland Dictionary' by John J. Graham (The Shetland Times, 1979, revised 2009).
Published in the author's pamphlet 'Flout' (HappenStance, 2015).
An earlier version was first published in the Edinburgh Review: Wynd, Issue 30: Autumn, 2010.