Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dear Santa

Sadly, Christmas is coming fast. All over the world children will soon be writing letters to Santa Claus, asking for things which they may, or may not, get.
A couple of years ago (2008), my youngest daughter came up with her usual Santa wish list, and in a reflective moment, I wondered what an old Shetland man, like me, would ask Santa for. This poem was the result.

Dear Santa

Wir peerie bairn wis sittin ben,
heed bent low ower paper an pen,
writin oot her Santa list,
an hit wis wirded sometin laek dis.

"Dear Santa I have been good all year

and never shed an angry tear,
so here’s the things that you can bring me,
when you sneak in through our chimney.

Nintendo DS with a game,

pyjamas printed with my name,
a singing Kettle DVD,
and new pink slippers, in size three.

A Mouse Trap game for me to play,

and paints and brushes on a tray.
A great big, cuddly, fluffy dog,

and a mobile ringtone, the Crazy Frog

The latest CDs in the charts,

a doll that burps, pees, and farts.
Lots of sweeties and lots more toys,

ones for girls, not for boys.

So Santa I’ll ask for nothing more,

and enjoy what you bring for ever more.
I’ll  even leave you some cake to eat,

and get Dad to leave you a dram as a treat."

Weel whit shö wrat med me tink dis,
geen da chance, whit wid I wis?
So I set mesel doon an wrat me a list,
an hit wis wirded sometin laek dis.

Auld Santa me boy du haes de a wark,
fae du gets up at Yöl an hauls on de sark,
bit here’s whit I’d laek, if du sud come,
asumin du fin’s dee wye doon wir lum.

Me auld rubber böts ir laekin a bit,
a’m been feelin some weet upö me left fit.
So a pair o new Argyls atil size eleven,
dan muckin da byre will just be laek heeven.

A twartree new tedders ta fasten da rams,
an a new pair o pliers fur libbin da lambs.
Mebbe a brand new bled fur da sye,
an a bucket ta ös whan milkin da kye.

New piltock flees wid be awful fine,
an a box o new heuks fur wir auld haddock line.
An if du tocht ta fin dy wye clear,
new airs fur da yoal, dir been dön since last year.

Bit dir’s wan peerie ting dat I fairly wid laek,
ta fill in a slap atil lifes rummeled daek.
Ta add tae da bed, fur da wife an me,
Loard bliss de, we’d laek a new dreultin tree.

Auld Rasmie (Gamle Rasmus)

As usual, if anybody wants a translation of any words, just ask. With the possible exception of "Dreultin Tree". I'm finding it really hard to come up with an explanation of that in English, but suffice to say that it is one of the most famous 'trees' in Shetland, likely the most used, and without a doubt the most useful.

Onywye, yun's aa fir enoo.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet thingy,, here's a rare video recital of this poem by yours truly, Da Auld Een.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wrack Wid

Now that autumn is approaching rapidly, and stormy weather more likely, I started thinking about the thrill I used to get from finding drift wood (wrack wid) along the shores (banks) of Shetland.
There was no greater excitement for a beach comber (wrackie man), than hearing on Radio Shetland that a wood carrying boat had lost a deck cargo.
I'll never forget the early 70s when such an event happened. A form of driftwood fueled insanity crept into the daily life of many Shetlanders. Women were left wondering if they still had a husband, until he came home in the middle of the night soaking wet from his nights work of dragging timber from the sea.
That particular event was even immortalised in a song, by Eddie Barclay  on his 1983 album 'Hame Aboot', called 'Widdy Ert'.

Well, here's my thoughts on the noble act of saving timber from the ocean. It may not read well, but it sounds good when sung. Even with my voice. ;)

Da Wrackie Man’s Prayer
(Set loosely to the tune of: My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean)

I stood on da banks bro dis moarnin,
Wi my een peegin hard ‘po da sea,
An I offered a prayer ta da Guid Loard,
Wid he please send som wrack wid ta me.

Wrack wid, wrack wid,
Dael planks an battens,
A wrackie man’s spree,
Wrack wid, wrack wid,
Oh Loard send some wrack wid ta me.

I ken a’m no much fir da kirk Loard,
So please dunna tink ill o me,
Whin I ask dee ta do as a’m biddin,
An please send some wrack wid ta me.


Da last time du sent wis a scaur loard,
Hit fair filt me auld heart wi glee,
Bit hit aa guid ta big a new hen hoose,
So send a deck cargo ta me.


Dis time I need wid fur a box bed,
Ta keep da wife closer ta me,
Shö wins oot o a king size ower aesy,
So Loard send some wrack wid ta me.


Inch planks wid be awfully handy,
Less cutting an sawin fur me,
An meybe a guid fower inch pit prop,
Loard I need a new dröltin tree.


By the way, if anybody wants translation on any of the words, or verses, just ask, and I'll do my best.

Yun's aa fir enoo

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


This is a new concept for me. I'm going to try to explain a few words from my Shetland dialect, by making verses about these words. Worst of all I'm going to write the verses in English.

In some cases I might get it right, but most likely I'll make a complete gonads of it. This could be a project doomed to failure.

The first word for this treatment is Snyirk:

It's many years since I last heard
the snyrkin of a straining oar,
or the snyirk of a rusty hinge
on  an ill-maintained barn door.

When motors replaced oars
boats fly along so fast,
and that, with well oiled hinges,
means that snyirk is a word of the past.

I'll try to do better with my next verse explaining a Shetland word, so bear with me. Some Shetland words are damned hard to find any way of explaining within the restrictions of the English language.

Yun's aa fir enoo