Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Poetry Please

The Kirkcaldy train leaving Edinburgh

After yesterdays attempt at railway poetry by me my pal Richard Evans sent me a proper train poem. This is brilliant...

The Boy In The Train by Mary Campbell Smith

Whit wey does the engine say ‘Toot-toot’?
Is it feart to gang in the tunnel?
Whit wey is the furnace no pit oot
When the rain gangs doon the funnel?
What’ll I hae for my tea the nicht?
A herrin’, or maybe a haddie?
Has Gran’ma gotten electric licht?
Is the next stop Kirkcaddy?

There’s a hoodie-craw on yon turnip-raw!
An’ seagulls! - sax or seeven.
I’ll no fa’ oot o’ the windae, Maw,
It’s sneckit, as sure as I’m leevin’.
We’re into the tunnel! We’re a’ in the dark!
But dinna be frichtit, Daddy,
We’ll sune be comin’ to Beveridge Park,
And the next stop’s Kirkcaddy!

Is yon the mune I see in the sky?
It’s awfu’ wee and curly,
See! there’s a coo and a cauf ootbye,
An’ a lassie pu’in’ a hurly!
He’s chackit the tickets and gien them back,
Sae gie me my ain yin, Daddy.
Lift doon the bag frae the luggage rack,
For the next stop’s Kirkcaddy!

There’s a gey wheen boats at the harbour mou’,
And eh! dae ya see the cruisers?
The cinnamon drop I was sookin’ the noo
Has tummelt an’ stuck tae ma troosers…
I’ll sune be ringin’ ma Gran’ma’s bell,
She’ll cry, ‘Come in, my laddie’,
For I ken mysel’ by the queer-like smell
That the next stop’s Kirkcaddy!

He said in his email. "My auld ma (born in Portobello 1907) would recite to me when I was a wee lad. It's about a small boy's train journey from Waverley station to Kirkcaldy. The 'queer-like smell' refers to the fact that Kirkcaldy was home to the linoleum-making industry and the place stank (or reeked, should I say) to high heaven. It was written by Mary Campbell Smith, the daughter of Robbie Burns' minister. Recent years have seen me recite this on Burns Night at the London Sketch Club."

Kirkcaddy is of course our great fearless Prme Minister's constituency as well as the birth place of Coldplay's bassist and former Liberal leader David Steel (and the connection is? - Ed). It's in the Kingdom of Fife which is also the birthplace of Mrs. H.


CalumCarr said...

I love the poem!!

Oh, the smell of linoleum: I remember it well. The smell defined Kirkcaldy.

ian russell said...

I'm going to have to show this to the wife - her father came from Kirkcaldy (and he supported Raith Rovers!)

r morris said...

Wow. That's a hard read for an American who doesn't know the slang or the accents.
I caught about half of it.
I liked it.

Liz said...

Now that's what I call a poem.