Document 336

A shuttle o soonds

Author(s): Christine De Luca

Copyright holder(s): Christine De Luca


At da time at folk namit da nort end o Eden
a moothfoo o soonds gied frame tae da laand
every bicht, every knowe a wird pictir in Norn.

Dey hed böddies o wirds for da varg o da crofter
soonds o da crö, da crub an da hill: some lost
on da wind owre da flakki o years.

An a kyist-foo o soonds for aa kinds o sea wark
wi a hoidy-hol for queer luckin wirds
stowed far fae wir hearin ta keep herm awa.

Da Norn is lang gien, but hit's left a waageng
at keetchins a tongue at can hadd ony haert
can rowe up wir feelings, unreffel wir tochts.

For every haand's turn still a mird o wird patterns
lik an allover gansey, a wirkin man's sark
med ta be worn, no laid up for best.

We man savour wir wirds is dey tirl on da tongue
lik snorie-ben, sneester an skaddyman's heid
wird laalies fur aabody, no jöst fur bairns.

Fur dey mak da warp in a pattern o livin, while
da weft comes fae places ootbye da Sooth Mooth.
Dey can blend i da waeve wi wir shuttle o soonds.

Da garb o wir language is pitten dagidder
in a wye at maks room fur da new an da auld
baith pipeline an paet-bank; rap artist an skald.

böddies: straw basket for carrying over the shoulder; varg: messy work; crö: sheep-fold; crub: small, circular, dry-stone enclosure for plants; flakki: straw mat over which corn was winnowed; kyist-foo: kist-full; hoidy-hol: hiding place; luckin: enticing; Norn: a variant of Old Norse spoken in Shetland until 17th century; waageng: aftertaste; hadd ony haert: sustain anyone; rowe up: wrap up; unreffel: untangle; haand's turn: a stroke of work; mird: swarm, throng; allover gansey: jumper with Fair Isle patterns all over; snorie-ben: a toy made from bone and string with a twist which makes a snoring noise; sneester: a private chuckle; skaddyman's heid: sea urchin; laalies: playthings; Sooth Mooth: the south entrance to Lerwick harbour; pitten: put; dagidder: together; auld: old

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APA Style:

A shuttle o soonds. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 29 February 2024, from

MLA Style:

"A shuttle o soonds." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 29 February 2024.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "A shuttle o soonds," accessed 29 February 2024,

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


Information about Document 336

A shuttle o soonds


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1997
Word count 362
General description from collection of poems

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Shetland Library
Publication year 2002
Place of publication Shetland
ISBN/ISSN 0-904562-70-0
Edition 1st
Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Plain Song

Text type



Author details

Author id 120
Forenames Christine
Surname De Luca
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Head of Assessment, Research and Development
Place of birth Bressay
Region of birth Shetland
Birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Headmaster
Father's place of birth Vidlin
Father's region of birth Shetland
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth Cunningsburgh
Mother's region of birth Shetland
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work, read Scots literature