Document 1401

Broken sleep

Author(s): James Hiddo Moncrieff

Copyright holder(s): James Hiddo Moncrieff


Daffodils don't grow here
On this grey granite city crag.
Only the sound of seagulls
Nesting - cliff-face sounds.
Ravens and seagulls flood
The rooftops and the early evening sky
With their acrobatic glide and twisting stall
And the shalder runs a noisy boundary
On the slopes of this Georgian

I fly in like a homing pigeon
To roost within its walls.

Midnight and an old bull
Bellows his anguish down the hall.
A young woman rattles her cage
And mine - deaf on methadone.
All around me, heavy breathing
From the others trapped here.

Fire-flies flit the open spaces.
The monsoon arrives
With the tinkling of bells
And old age stares back
From the bed opposite.
A cricket perched on a tripod
Rubs its legs all night long
And the young worker bees
Toil like ants.
Daylight flies in on a predatory wing
To claim the empty space behind
Your curtain and the gap against the wall.
The drones are silent.

Breakfast arrives with the drawn curtains
The babble of new voices
And the day begins anew
As the telephone rings.

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Broken sleep. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Broken sleep." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 24 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Broken sleep," accessed 24 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1401

Broken sleep


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2004
Word count 184

Text medium

Magazine (e-zine)

Text publication details

Publication year 2004
Place of publication Shetland
Part of larger text
Contained in The New Shetlander
Editor Laureen Johnson and Brian Smith
Page numbers 16

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 972
Forenames James Hiddo
Surname Moncrieff
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment College
Age left school 19
Upbringing/religious beliefs Working class/Socialist
Occupation Retired
Place of birth Lerwick
Region of birth Shetland
Birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Bigton
Region of residence Shetland
Residence CSD dialect area Sh
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Telegraphist
Father's place of birth Lerwick
Father's region of birth Shetland
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Loppersum
Mother's region of birth Groningen
Mother's country of birth Holland


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Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home