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Friday 16 November 2012

Lourd on my Hert

Victoria C Slotto at dVerse Poets' Meeting the Bar suggests we attempt a poem with literary - or other - allusions to another work of art. I have chosen a poem by Hugh MacDiarmid who has long been perhaps my most constant influence. If I were to be allowed two poems on my desert island, I would want them both to be long ones, and would choose two by this man: his great masterpiece, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle and On a Raised Beach . Today's choice is a lightsome thing - but don't let that fool you into thinking him a lightsome poet!

Lourd on my Hert

Lourd on my hert as winter lies The state that Scotland's in the day. Spring to the North has aye come slow But noo dour winter's like to stay For guid And no' for guid! O wae's me on weary days When it is scarce grey licht at noon; It maun be a' the stupid folk Diffusin' their dullness roon and roon Like soot Nae wonder if I think I see A lichter shadow than the neist I'm fain to cry: 'The dawn, the dawn! I see it brakin' in the East, But ah --It's juist mair snaw!
..................................... Lourd, heavy : dour, hard : wae, woe guid, good : licht, light : mair, more maun, must : neist, next : snaw, snow And here, my reply -- which strikes me now as more a parody - something I'd not intended:- To Hugh MacDiarmid I take your drift, your Bardic thoughts for England's state lies parlous too. It's not the seasons -- snow or sun -- but self-inflicted pain I rue. We long for gilt It's guilt we see. We all are drawn into the stew... God damn it man, will no one bless the stupid folk we've set in charge who've caused -- and go on causing -- our distress? It's loot man, loot, keeps good times oot! If all you've got to draw your tears are shadows lightening in the East, you'll get no sympathy from me; your dawn will come -- this time or neist! but as for me... I scrimp in abject poverty!


Sabio Lantz said...

That was fun -- well accept your poverty.
Thank you for the intro to your poet.
Reading that pre-English language is tough work for us unschooled!

Brian Miller said...

we long for gilt, its guilt we see....nice...was a lot of fun to read his and then your response dave....scrimp on man...loot keeps good times oot....ha....

Anonymous said...

This was wonderful, Dave. I've heard of Hugh Macdiarmud, but not read so thanks. You show your own voice too though, that cleverness that seizes both the anecdotal and the whole. K.

Kathy Reed said...

Delightful..thanks for the into..

Laurie Kolp said...

Marvelous, Dave!

Daydreamertoo said...

Lol....Hard times are upon us all.

Very witty and apt reply to this poets lament. And, so right about the powers that be being fools. We're all scrimping right now trying to keep that big bad wolf from the door.
A really great response to the prompt Dave.

Tabor said...

I really like this, perhaps because it resonates for so many including the U.S. I cannot comment on the parody part because it seems to work for me. Guilt and gilt...love those two lines.

A Cuban In London said...

I loved this post so much that I don't even know where to begin.

First the explanation for your inspiration. I checked those two other poems you mentioned and all I can say is thank you for introducing me to another fine poet. Even if I will struggle with the vernacular (typical stanza "Lately it turned—I saw mysel’In sic a company doomed to mell,I micht ha’e been in Dante’s Hell.")

Your poem was actually more serious than you gave it credit for. But, I, too, do detect a humourous note there.

And of course as a linguist I loved the glossary. Licht for light? What was he, German? :-)

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Cressida de Nova said...

Yep... England is still green but the pleasant part is in question...big fuddle muddle mess Dave ole son.
Loved those two poems.
The Scoot-ish one wooz Grund!

hedgewitch said...

I love the Scottish dialect--thanks for introducing me to one of your favorites. I love the way you play off the soot image--really a perfect one for the vision-pollution stupidity exhales around itself. I don;t read it as a parody, but as an equal satire. Enjoyed it much, Dave.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for this intro to MacDiarmid's poem. Enjoyed it :)

Unknown said...

Yes, the introduction to MacDiarmid is a real gift. I haven't time to read the longest this morning but have immensely enjoyed On a Raised Beach, pure linguistic bliss that sent shivers down my spine. As to what you've accomplished here I see your frustration, in working with another writer or poet's voice I find I have to decide whether to fight, compromise or surrender in order to do it and the work justice. I think you did a fine job, your poem is engaging, witty, and piercing. Also, your comment brought sublime happiness, thank you, it was another true gift.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Fantastic write, and I preferred yours to MacDiarmid's. Love the humor!

Victoria said...

I'd never read him and guess I find it challenging but your response clarified so much. One of the things I'm enjoying about this prompt is being able to discover so many new poets.

Claudia said...

oh nice...love what you did with this..love the scottish accent and your sense of humor

sm said...

wonderful poem

Cloudia said...

"It's loot man, loot,
keeps good times oot!"

Kleptocracy seems humanities curse

EVERYWHERE. Liked "gilt/guilt" - well done.

Happy Aloha Friday!
Comfort Spiral

~ > < } } ( ° >

> < 3 3 3 ( ' >

><}}(°> ~

Mary said...

An impressive response to the poet. I had never heard of Hugh Macdiarmud, but he must be quite well known if he is a favorite of yours. (Now, if you had quoted Robert Burns....)

I enjoyed the humor. "We long for gilt, It's guilt we see." Very clever. And the universal complaint that it is the stupid folk in charge who've caused our distress.

A worthy write in every way.

Lisa said...

Delightful indeed.

Anonymous said...

love the last stanza of your poem... a great write, very gutsy!

adan said...

well this was an unexpected treat david ;-)

i'm not a big fan of dialect poems, but the pairing of the original (which caught my interest immediately with it's readability and authenticity) followed by helpful word-translated, paired with your own response, was a total package

that line of yours if the poet thought a shadow was light was really striking and true-felt

and your own perspective to his, brought us back to today's realities firmly - thanks so much david, very nice job, best wishes ;-)

Dave King said...

To All
Sincere thanks to you all for the many kind words. One of the most satisfying aspects of your comments was the interest aroused in the poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid. I should perhaps have said more about him and the Scots Language.

He was a contankorous man with highly dubious politics which got him thrown out of more than one outfit - including the Communist Party, but for me the essential fact was that he achieved for the Scots very much the sort of reinvigoration that T.S. Eliot achieved for the English. He set himself against sentimentality of the poetry of his day, the music hall-type songs and the hypocrasies of Burns Night and the adulation of Burns - much of which had very little to do with the real Burns. His aim was a revival of High Culture in the common tongue. In the attempt it could be said that he reinvented the common tongue. Others joined with him, notably Edwin Muir.

His oeuvre is extensive but extremely uneven. Some of it is in the Scots (obviously), some in English (almost!), the later work is an easier intro -- in terms of dialect -- than the earlier.

A heart-felt apology that I haven't answered you all personally, but thought this might be of more use. A special thank you and Welcome to those who were visiting and/or commenting for the first time.

Ygraine said...

I had never read Hugh MacDiarmid either, so many thanks for the intro!
And the addition of your voice enriches his immensely...:)