Read and listen to the poem in Shetlandic Scottish below. Scroll down to read the modern English translation.


faddom du dis fur me
da lies o da feddir​​​
maunna makk​​​​
da sun stop burnin​​​

run oot o fingirs​​​
and du’ll wakk intae taes​​
wi’r aa riggit oot​​​
fur da biggest gaem​​​
du nivvir hed a chance in​​

we come ta lippin​​​
green girse​​​​
wi da shadoos​​​​
maddenin da brunt lugs​​

whit geengs doon​​​
maun come back up agien​​
but on whitna tide​​​
on whitna shore​​​
wha can keen?​​​​

afore da sun slips​​​
hit’s grip apö de life​​​
drap da teddir​​​​
o de five heukit line​​​
an see whit faddom​​​
fins de​​​​​

geddir pollen whan da sun​​
is high as a peerie boy’s​
windblaan kite taen​​​
bi de fierce tap wind​​​
abön da laevriks​​​

dat fu o blue truth​​​
du could turn a supertanker​​
i da spaes atween his lugs​
an his moo​​​​

dir wan tree rötit
i da blue high sky​​​
sall du crop da boo’s ​​
whicht licht da day​​​
or lat hit bide?​​​​



you fathom this for me
the lies of the father
must not make
the sun stop burnin​​​g

run out of fingers​​​
and you’ll walk into toes
we’re all dressed up
for the biggest game​​​
you never had a chance in​​

we come to expect
green grass
with the shadows​​​​
maddening the burnt ears

what goes down
must come back up again
but on which tide​​​
on which shore​​​
who can know?​​​​

before the sun slips​​​
it’s grip on your life​​​
drop the tether
of your five hooked line​​​
and see what fathom
finds you

gather pollen when the sun​​
is high as a little boy’s​
windblown kite taken​​​
by the fierce top wind​​​
above the skylarks

so full of blue truth​​​
you could turn a supertanker​​
in the space between his ears
and his mouth

there’s one tree rooted
in the blue high sky​​​
shall you crop the bough’s ​​
white light today​​​
or let it stay?​​​​

Christie Williamson comes from Yell, in Shetland, and has been writing poems since 2003. He lives in Glasgow where he helps run Tell it Slant Poetry Bookshop and the Scottish Writers Centre. He has two full-length collections, Oo an Feddirs and Doors tae Naewye.
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