Document 960

Gean Blossoms

Author(s): David Purves

Copyright holder(s): David Purves



Renderings in Scots from fifty ancient Chinese poems by David Purves



1. Mulberry Road: Kennawha (very ancient)
2. Baurlie: do. (First Century BC)
3. Lyfe is Lang: do. (200 BC – 200 AD).
4. The-Morn we Die: do. (First & Second Century AD)
5. Back End Wund: Liu Ch’u (156-187)
6. Tyme: do. do.
7. Porter’s Sang: Miu Hsi (186-245)
8. Nicht Tryst: Kennawha (300-500)
9. The Gowk Caws: do. do.
10. Ma Wyfe is Deid: P’an Yueh (4th Century)
11. Ae Mair Fareweill: Shen Yueh (441-513)
12. A Sair Fikkil: Kennawha (ca. 600)
13. Ye Gaed Awa: Ch’ang Ch’u Ling (673-740)
14. Memories i the Gloamin: Li Po (701-762)
15. A Veisitor: Tu Fu (712-770)
16. Fareweill ti ma Frein: do.
17. Lanesumness: do.
18. Ceivilisation: Yuan Chieh (ca. 719-772)
19. Veisit til an auld Hermit: Wang Chang Ling (8th Century)
20. Dule in the Harem: do.
21. Bi the Ceitie Yett: Tsui Hao (8th Century)
22. A Warld Apairt: Chang Chih Ho (ca..750)
23. Amang the Speingies: Liu Yu Hsi (772-842)
24. Infant Bairns: Po Chü-I (772-846).
25. Ma Frein’s Poem: do.
26. No Weill: do.
27. The Gress: do.
28. The Hat frae ma Frein: do.
29. Snaw on the Wattir: Liu Chung-yuen (773-819).
30. Sojers in Flicht: Tu Mu (803-852)
31. Hir Bewtie is Dernit: Li Shang Yin (813-859)
32. The Color o Lyfe: Ssu K’ung T’u (834-908)
33. A Leal Wyfe: Chang Chi (9th Century)
34. Gaun Hame i the War: Li P’in (9th Century)
35. Neist Door: Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060)
36. On the Daith o a New Bairn: do.
37. Ye Maun Stap Drinkin: do.
38. Autumn: Ou Yang Hsiu (1007-1072)
39. Ploum Trees in the Spring: do.
40. Myndin ma Frein: Su Tung p’o (1036-1101)
41. Til a Traivlar: Su Tung p’o (1036-1101)
42. The Bowt o Silk: Ch’en T’ao (ca. 1100)
43. The Cadger o Spells: Lu Yu (1125-1209).
44. The Herd Loun: do.
45. Shour at Jianmen Glen: do.
46. Fair Duin: Hsin Ch’i-chi (1140-1207)
47. The Wey it is: Chiang Chieh (13th Century)
48. The Auld Herd: Kao Chi (1336-1374)
49. Wunter Nicht: Yuan Mei (1716-1797)
50. On Poetic Geniuses: Chao I (1727-1814)


From the Chinese
Kennawha (very ancient)


The sun ryses in the South-Aest neuk o awthing
ti shyne on the heich houss o the Shin,
for thay hae a dochter cryit Rafu (bonnie lass).
She made anither name for hirsell: ‘ Gauze Veil’,
for she feeds mulberries til the silkwurms.
She finnds thaim bi the South waw o the toun.
Wi green strings she maks the warp o hir basket.
The shouther straps o hir basket she maks
frae the bous o Katsura,
an she rowes hir hair up the left syde hir heid-piece.

Hir earrings ir made o paerl.
Hir peiticoat is o green pattern silk.
Hir goun is the neibor o’t in purpie,
an whan men gaein by look on Rafu,
thay dounset thair birns aye,
for ti twurl thair mustaches.


From the Chinese
Kennawha (1st Century BC)


Green, green, ---
the cypress on the knowe.
Siccar, siccar, ---
the bowder in the burn.
Man’s lyfe leeved inouth this warld
is lyke the byde-ower o a brattlin traivlar.
A tass o wyne thegither wul mak us blyth,
an a pikkil freinship is nae smaw maitter.


From the Chinese
Kennawha (Han Dynasty, 200 BC to 200 AD)


The bricht gress breirds i the gairden
Wat wi dew afore this day warms up.
The rowthie Spring pours oot its bountie.
A kynd o glorie faws on aw the warld.
But the lanesum lass thinks wi dreid
on the back end ti cum, an the tyme
o the wuthert flouers an gowd leafs fawin.

The mukkil wattir rins aye til the Aest.
Whan haes oniebodie ever garred it
gae back til the Wast springheid?
Gin whan ye’r yung an bonnie,
ye dinna gresp the chaunce befaws ye,
in eild ye’l hae a waesum hert,
an nocht but dule ti mynd on.


From the Chinese
Kennawha (First to Second Century)


The years o lyfe disna rax til a hunder,
tho thay haud the dule o a thousan year.
Whan the days dwynes doun an the dreich nicht’s lang,
tak you a skinklin lamp an stravaig ootby!
Gin ye wad be blyth ye maun dae it nou;
the’r nae affpit or an eftir-tyme.
The fuil that’s sweir ti spend his gowd
kyths the daithless gowk o later ages,
for lippenin on immortalitie.


From the Chinese
of Liu Ch’u (Emperor Wu of Han, 156-187)


The back end wund blaws whyte clouds
aboot the lift. The gress is broun turnin.
Leafs faws. Wyld geese flies South.
The lest flouers blooms, orchids
an chrysants wi thair wersh parfume.
Ah dream o yon bonnie lousum
face Ah never can forget.
* * * *
Howt, Ah’l tak me a turn on the river!
The bairge breists the swaw an douks
wi the breingin whyte horses.
Thay play thair fluits an drums
an the rowers sings awa brawlie.
Nou Ah im blyth for a glisk,
or syne the auld dule cums back:
Ah wes yung juist a wee whyle,
an nou Ah im growein auld.


From the Chinese
of Liu Ch’u (Emperor Wu of Han, 156-187)


Majestic frae the ferrest tyme,
the sun ryses an dounsets.
Tyme gaes by an men canna stell it.
The fower seasons serr thaim
Tho men ir no aucht thaim.
The years fleits by lyke rinnin wattir,
an awthing weirs awa afore ma een.


From the Chinese
of Miu Hsi (186-245)


Whan Ah wes leevin, Ah stravaiged in the streets o the Capital;
nou at Ah’m deid, Ah’m left ti ligg i the fields ma lane.
The-mornin, oot drave Ah frae the Heich Haw.
The-forenicht, Ah ludged in Hell naith the Yallae Springs.
Whan the whyte sun gaed doun i the Wastern Cleuch,
Ah hank’t up ma chairiot an stawed ma fower horse.
Nou evin the Michtie Makkar o aw things
coudna breathe back the lyfe intil ma spauls.
Day in, day oot, ma maik an bouk wul dwyne ti nocht:
ma hair an teeth wul cannilie faw awa.
Forever an foraye it haes been sae wi men:
an nae man born can jouk this weird.


From the Chinese
Kennawha (300-500)


Ma luivar wul suin be here.
He said he wad cum til the gairden yett,
but Ah dout ma mither is aye aboot!
In ma kist Ah can hear ma hert stoun
lik a swaird dirdin on a shield.


From the Chinese
Kennawha (300-500)


The gowk caws frae the bamboo shaws.
Cherry blossoms hap the gait.
A lass walks anaith the ful muin,
trailin hir silk goun in the green gress.


From the Chinese
of P’an Yueh (4th Century)


The neist day Ah wauken wi a stert.
The Back End Wund blaws.
The mornin is drowie, wi dreipin rones.
Aw throu the waukrif nicht
Ah dochtna forget in sleep.
Ah howp the day wul cum whan Ah
wul be lown aneuch ti dird on a pot
even on, lyke Chuang Tsu,
in murnin for his deid wyfe.


From the Chinese
of Shen Yueh (441-513)


Back in oor yung days whanever
we haed ti pairt we expekkit aye
ti meet ither again. The-day we ir
auld lyke an duin an we haena
sae monie fareweills left in us.
Man, dinna say: “Juist the ae stowp o wyne!”
Hou dae ye ken ye’l git the chance
ever ti waucht anither stirrup cup?
Ye say: “At laest we can tryst in dreams.”
Hou dae ye ken we wul faw
in wi ane anither on the road
in oor sleep? Gin we dinna,
the’l no be mukkil betterment,
Ah tell ye!


From the Chinese
Kennawha (ca.600)


Oor wee sister is sair vext!
Hou lang soud she haud on
afore gittin mairrit lyke?
She haes aften seen the wund
blaw the peach petals frae the trees.
Ai, but she haes never seen it
whuff thaim back on the brainches!


From the Chinese
of Ch’ang Ch’u Ling (673-740)


Sen ye left, ma darlin,
Ah canna luik eftir masell.
Ah can dae naething ava,
but think o ye even on.
Ah dowe lyke the dwynin muin.


From the Chinese
of Li Po (701-762)


The gloamin haps the ceitie waw,
the craws flies hame ti rest,
an frae the brainches caw.
A wumman sits hir lane an weaves
hir storie o the flouer-lit stream,
or lyke faint reik it dwynes,
as she mynds on thon lest wurds that dee’d
anaith the winnok ae forenicht langsyne.

She rests the disappyntit luim.
Inti the lanesum nicht she peers
an lik the rain, untentit faws hir tears.


From the Chinese
of Tu Fu (712-770)


North an South o oor hut
ligg the Spring wattirs
an nocht but the pickmaws
cums ti veisit us.

For guests, the road here is never
soupit free frae petals.
Ti you, oor puir yett
opens the first tyme.

Dishes sae ferr frae the toun
want fantoush flavors,
an the wyne is juist the biddy
a hummil hame offers.

Gin ye’l agree, Ah’l cry
ma auld neibor owre
frae ayont the pailin, ti cum
help us feinish it?


From the Chinese
of Tu Fu (712-770)


Here we sinder – you an me.
You gang aff hyne awa,
an aince mair the forestit bens
ir tuim, unfreinlie lyke.
Whit holiday wul see us
lauchin fou, thegither again?
The forenicht, yestrein, we dandert
airm in airm i the muinlicht,
singin sentimental sangs
alang bi the wattirsyde.
Yeir honor ootlests thrie emperors.
An Ah gae back til ma lanesum houss
bi the river, dumb, freinless,
feedin the murlin years.


From the Chinese
of Tu Fu (712-779)


A gled hings abuin i the lift.
Twa whyte swans floats on the stream.
Tovin wi the wund, it is eith aneuch
ti drap an grup the daft burds
at drifts wi the current aye.
Whaur the dew skinkils in the gress,
the speider’s wab tends its prey.
The warld’s naitur is geyan sib
til the fell business o men.
Ah staun ma lane in aw the Universe,
wi ma ten thousan waes.


From the Chinese
of Yuan Chieh (ca. 719-772)


Ti the south-east --- thrie thousan leigs ---
The Yuan an Hsiang rins til a mukkil loch,
an abuin the loch is heich hill glens
Whaur fowk bydes whas herts is saikless.
Blyth lyke bairns, thay breinge til the tree taps,
an rin til the wattir ti kep bream an trouts.
Thair pleisirs is sib ti the beiss an the burds;
thay pit nae taigil on bodie or saul.

Ferr hae Ah wannert throu the Nyne Lands;
an whaurever Ah traivelt, sic mainners haed gaen.
Dumfounert, Ah finnd masell staunin thinkin:
oor Sancts an statesmen haes duin us smaw guid.


From the Chinese
of Ch’ien Chi (8th Century)


Moss-happit pads atwein scarlet speingies---
Heich jade bens fill yeir rustic winnok boles.
Div Ah no envy ye, drunk aye wi flouers,
butterflies joukin an birlin in yeir dreams?


From the Chinese
of Wang Chang Ling (8th Century)


Wuthert flouers fills the courtyaird.
In the mukkil haw the fug creeps ower the fluir.
Awthing wes said on baith sydes langsyne.
The whuff o parfume hings aye on the air.


From the Chinese
of Tsui Hao (8th Century)


A year past the-day,
bi this verra yett, yeir face
an the peach blossoms neibored
ither. Ah kenna whaur yeir
lousum face haes gaen.
Nou the’r juist the blossoms
fliein in the Spring wund.


From the Chinese
of Chang Chi Ho (ca.750)


The Leddie Muin is ma luivar,
ma frein is the oceans fower.
The heivins haes ruift me ower,
the dawin’s ma gowden door.
Ah wad raither follae the sie-maw,
or the aigil, tovin frae ken,
nor smour ma godheid thonder
i the stour o the whurl o men.


From the Chinese
of Liu Yu Hsi (772-842)


We haed a bit pairtie lyke,
for ti hansil the Spring speingies:
Ah drank gless eftir gless or
Ah wes lauchin fou. Syne Ah thocht
shame, ti hear the flouers whusper:
“Whit ir we daein here, bloomin
for thir drukken auld slaiks?”


From the Chinese
of Po Chü-i (772-846)


Ma nevoy, sax year auld, is cawed ‘Tortoise’;
Ma dochter o thrie: wee ‘Simmer Goun’.
As ane begins ti speak an lauch,
areddies the tither recites poems an sangs.
The mornins thay play an hing aboot ma feet;
at nicht thay sleep, thair heids agin ma robe.
Hou, bairns, did ye kyth in this warld sae late,
cummin ti me juist whan ma years ir spent?
Yung things draws oor feelins til thaim;
an auld fowk eithlie gies thair herts.
The sweetest wyne at lest turns sour,
the ful muin i the end begins ti dwyne,
an sae wi men the bands o luiv an tenderness
can fankil til a birn o dule an wae.
Yit aw the warld is wapp’t bi ties o luiv ---
Whitfor did Ah think Ah micht byde free?


From the Chinese
of Po Chü-I (772-840)


Nae new poems his brush wul trace;
even his guid name is deid.
His auld poems is happ’t in stour
at the boddom o kists an presses.
The ither day, sumbodie’s liltin,
an at aince Ah hears a kent verse—
Afore Ah’d tyme ti kep the wurds,
a sair stound haed jaggit ma hert.


From the Chinese
of Po Chü-i (772-846)


Dowie an dowf --- shilpit an fauch, wi lang truibil:
Wearie an dreich the days an nichts stodge in.
The Simmer trees haes cled thairsells in shaidaes;
the gress is droukit nou wi the Back End dew.
The eggs i the shilfie’s nest whan Ah taen til ma bed
haes breirdit inti littil burds an flaen awa.
The mauk that syne lay dernit in its hole
haes hatcht intil a chirker hunkert on a tree.
The fower seasons lamp on athout devaul
an naething in this warld wul haud on
for ti rest, even for ti byde a wee.
But still an on, the seik man’s hert
stounds aye the same sen tyme began.


From the Chinese
of Po Chü-i (772-846)


Hou braw an caller aye the gress returns!
Whan gowden days crynes in, the meidae burns;
but Back End suns nae dernit ruit haes slain,
the Spring wunds blaws, an syne the’r gress again.
* * * * *
Ae day sic wunds wul caw me frae the warld o men,
sae whan gress breirds baith blyth an fear Ah ken.


From the Chinese
of Po Chü-i (772-846)


Langsyne ye gied til a whyte-haired chiel
the present o a braw blek hat.
The hat sits aye on ma heid;
but ye ir hyne awa til anither warld.
The thing is auld nou, but aye fit ti weir;
the man is gaen an wul be seen nae mair.
Ootby on the ben the muin leims the-nicht,
an the trees on yeir lair ir sweyed---
afore the snell back-end wund.


From the Chinese
of Liu Chung-yuen (773-819)


No ae burd is left on a thousan hills.
On ten thousan pads, the’r no a fuitmerk.
Yit, in a bamboo hat an strae jaiket, a fisherman
haes crakkit the ice an sterts ti bait his huik.


From the Chinese
of Tu Mu (803-852)


A haar haps the wattir;
muinlicht drouns in the dubs.
The-nicht oor boat is moored
on the Chin Huai Wattir,
forenent a yill houss howf.
The quyne thai hae peyed for ti sing
kens naething o oor disgrace---
that the kintrie is nou brukken.
Hir walin o sang is aw wrang:
‘Flouers in the Auld Back Yaird’.


From the Chinese
of Li Shang Yin (813-859)


Hir bewtie is dernit bi a milk-whyte screen.
The imperial ceitie is drouned i the Spring nicht.
Daftlyke she mairrit an important meinister,
wha’d raither prie the mornin seminar
nor hir silken chairms in hir scentit bed.


From the Chinese
of Ssü K’ung T’u (834-908)


Wad that we micht haud on a wee
til the maikless wattirgaw o the warld,
the unco blue o the bounless sea,
the maivis’ sang frae greener Springs langsyne,
the snaw-whyte skinkil in the breingin linn.
Thay sant awa an dwyne foraye throu lyfe,
or even the glisk o maimorie is gaen;
tint oot o sicht at the end for us aw,
binna for a whyle, the infant bairn.


From the Chinese
of Chang Chi (9th Century)


Ai, ye ken weill Ah hae a guidman.
Whitfor than did ye gie me
thir twae lowin paerls?
Ah coud lat licht yeir luiv
an shaw thaim on ma reid goun,
but Ah belang a nobil faimlie,
ferr ben nou at the Court.
Ma man is a hie officer
in the Gaird at the Pailace.
Ah ken fyne that whit ye ettil
is saikless as the licht o Heivin,
but Ah swure aye ti be true
til ma man in lyfe an daith.
Sae Ah maun gie back yeir braw paerls
wi twae tears the neibors o thaim.
Hou did Ah never meet in wi ye
afore Ah wes richt mairrit?


From the Chinese
of Li P’in (9th Century)


Furth o the hieland glens
the war nae mair wurd at aw.
The Wunter’s gaen by
an nou it’s the Spring.
As Ah win nearer hame
Ah im hert seik an feirt
for ti speir at the traivlars
Ah meet in wi on the road.


From the Chinese
of Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060)


Ma neibors on the richt
haes a grailyach at haes juist
stertit ti step oot, lyke.
Ma neibor on the left
haes a yung dochter
that is a maiden aye.
In the derk shaidae
ablo the yett, it is unco mirk
eftir the sun gaes doun.
Mercie, whas heid is yon
keikin ower the waw?


From the Chinese
of Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060)


The flouers in bud on the trees
ir pure lik this deid littil bairn.
The Aist wund wul no lat thaim byde.
It wul blaw thaim inti blossom,
an syne doun intil the grund.
It is aw ane wi this saikless lyfe,
sae dear ti me a wee whyle.
Whyle his mither is greitin tears o bluid,
hir breists ir aye fillin wi milk.


From the Chinese
of Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060)


In ma yung days Ah drank a gey
fek o wyne. The’r naething
wrang mynd, wi takkin yeir gless.
But nou Ah im auld an ma teeth
an hairs is ill ti finnd.
Ah lyke aye a guid drink, but
Ah canna dae it lyke A uised til.
Nou, whan Ah drink, it fair upsets
ma stammik. The’r no mukkil
divert in it. The-day Ah gat fou
an coud haurlie haud up ma heid.
The chaumer birlt roun an roun.
Insteid o betterment, Ah fand onlie
seikness. This is shuirlie no
the wey ti luik eftir ma health.
Mebbe Ah soud juist gie it up
awthegither, but Ah im feirt
fowk wad lauch at me. For aw,
ye say it wad be a guid idea.
The’r no mukkil pleisir,
Ah tell ye, in a sour stammik
an bad braith. Ah div ken that Ah
maun stap. Gin Ah dinna dae it,
Guid kens whit wul befaw me.


From the Chinese
of Ou-yang Hsiu (1007-1072)


As Spring gies birth til a breirdin warld,
sae Autumn draks the nectar o the warld’s maturitie.
Hou dowf the oor whan aw rype things maun pass;
but sweetness an foust growes frae ae shank,
an sweetness moulders intil foust foraye.
The trees maun founder in thair ain saison.
It is aw ane wi Man, whas birzin hert
haes kent the shipwrack o a thousan howps,
until ablo the birn o lyfe his benmaist saul
bous doun forenent the snaws o tyme.
But ir they no due? Is Man a stane
he soud ootlest the mukkil cypresses?
The chirker gied the anelie aunsir til ma sang o daith.


From the Chjines
of Ou Yang Hsiu (1007-1072)


In the South, the Spring cums aerlie
ti the gairdens wi dancin flouers.
A cannie souch beirs the soun
o naigs nickerin. The blue
green ploums ir big areddies
as beans. The sauch leafs ir lang
an boued lyke a lass’s eebrous.
Monie butterflies birl in the
lang sunlicht. In the forenicht,
the haar liggs lourd on the flouers.
The gress is fair droukit wi dew.
Quynes in thair see-throu gouns
slounge sexy-lyke an lazy,
sweyin doucelie in thair hammocks.
Mertins nest an flie, twae bi twae,
joukin ablo the pentit aesins.


From the Chinese
of Su Tung p’o (1036-1101)


Whit is oor lyfe in this warld?
A flaucht o gangrel geese
bydes a wee whyle on the snaw,
leaves the merks o thair claws
an flies awa, sum Aist sum Wast,
an thare an end o’t. Whit else ti say?
The auld monk is nae mair, an nou
his new heidstane stauns thare, proud.
On the brukken waw o his howf,
ye canna finnd the poems we wrate.
The’r naething ti shaw we war ever here.
* * * *
The wey wes lang. We war sair forfochen.
Ma hirplin mull raired his heid aff
the haill road hame.


From the Chinese
of Su Tung p’o (1036-1101)


Lest year whan Ah linkit wi ye
the lenth o the Yang Chou Yett,
the snaw wes fliein lik the whyte sauch cotton.
This year, the Spring haes cum again
an the sauch cotton is lik the snaw,
but ye haena cum back ava.
Ma lane, afore the open winnok,
Ah hyst ma gless til the glisterin muin.
The wund, drowie wi the forenicht dew,
blaws throu the gauze curtains.
Aiblins, Chang-O, the muin goddess,
wul tak peitie on this singil swallae
an jyne us thegither wi the cord o licht
at raxes anaith the pentit rones o yeir hame.


From the Chinese
of Ch’en Tao (1100)


The wund is snell, hir claes threidbare.
The wabstar lass blaws on hir fingirs.
Asyde the derk winnok, back an forrit
she thraws a spuil lik a nurl o ice.
“Wi aw hir pingil, throu the short wunter day,
she can haurlie weave a fuit o claith.
An ye expek me ti mak a ballant o this
for yeir silken quynes ti sing?”


From the Chinese
of Lu Yu (1125-1209)


The auld caird sellin the spells bi the toun waw
wrytes oot spells ti bliss the silkwurms an the new corn.
Wi whit siller he gits he juist buys the wyne.
But he disna fash whan his legs gang shouglie,
for he haes aye a laddie for ti lean on.


From the Chinese
of Lu Yu (1125-1209)


In the southlin clachan the herd laddie
grups the bullik’s back wi his bare feet.
Throu the teir in his coat the river wund blaws;
throu his brukken bunnet the hill rain pours.
Frae the lang dyke, he kyths ferr awa;
in the nairrae wynd, we faced him bedein.
* * * *
The loun is hame wi the bullik in its staw.
A derk reik birls oot the theikit ruif.


From the Chinese
of Lu Yu (1125-1209)


The stour smirds in wi the wyne merks on ma claes.
Ah traivel on, beglaumert, throu thir lands.
Im Ah ti be a poet aw ma days?
Throu the smaw rain, Ah ryde ma cuddie
on intil the shour in the Jianmen Glen.


From the Chinese
of Hsin Ch’i-Chi (1140-1207)


In ma yung days Ah never
kent whit dule wes. Ah ettilt
for ti be a weill-kent poet.
Ah wantit ti git aheid lyke,
sae Ah made oot Ah wes dowie.
Nou Ah im auld, an hae kent
the wecht o ilka dule the ir,
Ah im content ti slounge aboot
an enjey the clear Back End.


From the Chinese
of Chiang Chieh (13th Century)


Ah mynd whan Ah wes a loun lyke,
lyin streikit oot listenin
til the rain fawin on the ruif
o a hure houss. The caunil licht
leimed on silk an silky flesh.
Later Ah heard the verra same soun
on the cabin ruif o a smaw boat,
showdin on the swaws o the Gret Wattir,
ablo laich clouds, whaur the wyld geese
yammert on the back end storm.
Nou Ah hear it again, aince mair
blatterin on the monastery ruif.

Ma hair is aw ti snaw turnt.
Joy, hertskaud, luiv an pairtin
ir aw nou lyke thay haed never been.
Anerlie the rain bydes the same aye:
haill wattir dingin doun on the tyles,
aw throu the waesum nicht o ma saul


From the Chinese
of Kao Chi (1336-1374)


Ither bulliks haes lang curlie horns.
Ma beiss haes a lang bare tail.
Ah tig alang ahint him,
haudin it lik a whup.
Whyles we stravaig
frae the South ben brae
til the Aistern skerrs.
Whan he is wabbit or hungirie,
Ah aye ken whit ti dae.
At sundoun, ma bullik
stodges slaelie hame.
As he gaes alang
Ah lilt him a wee sang.
Whan he lies doun,
Ah lie doun anaw.
At nicht i the bern,
Ah sleep aye asyde him,
for ti keep oot the cauld.
Ah im auld gittin, thir days,
but Ah luik eftir ma bullik.
Whit else ir the ti dae?
Ah juist worrie that yae day
they wul cum an sell ma bullik
for ti pey thair demned taxes.


From the Chinese
of Yuen Mei (1716-1797)


It is weirin on i the wunter nicht.
Ah im that taen up wi ma buik,
Ah forget ti gang til ma bed.
The wyfe taks ma lamp an girns:


From the Chinese
of Chao-I (1727-1814)


Li Po, Tu Fu --- aye on awb’die’s lips.
Duin ti daith wi wauch an foustit raens.
In ilka age an immortal genius is born,
ti swan it owre us aw for cuddie’s years.



This glossary is intended to be no more than an aid to readers unfamiliar with the Scots language. The Scots spelling as used are in accordance with the guidelines published by the Scots Language Society in 1985 for Scots orthography. In general, these spellings avoid many of the anomalies associated with English orthography and give useful guidance to the pronunciation of Scots words. The equivalent meaning given in English, represents the appropriate meaning in the text. Many of the Scots words covered have several other meanings, or synonyms, and these may be found in the Concise Scots Dictionary (Aberdeen University Press, 1985) or in the Scottish National Dictionary.

abuin, prep, above
ablo, prep, below
ae, a, one
aerlie, adv, early
aest, n, east
aff, adv, off
afore, adv, before
agin, prep, against
Ah, pron, I
ahint, prep, behind
Ai, interj, Oh
aiblins, adv, perhaps
ain, a, own
aince, adv, once
airm, n, arm
airt, n, art, direction
alang, prep, along
amang, prep, among
an, c, and
anaith, prep, beneath
anerlie, a, only
aneuch, a, enough
anither, a, another
areddies, adv, already
asyde, prep, beside
athout(en), prep, without
atwein, prep, between
auld, a, old
aunser, n, answer
ava, adv, at all
aw, a, all
awa, v, away
awbodie, n, everybody
awthegither, adv, altogether
awthing, n, everything
aye, adv, always
ayont, prep, beyond

back end, n, autumn
bairge, n, barge
baith, a, both
bedein, adv, suddenly
befaw v, befall
beir, v, bear
beiss, n, beast
ben, prep, within
bern, n, barn
bi, prep, by
biddy, n, plonk
birl, v, rotate
birn, n, burden
birze, v, press
blatter, v, rattle
blaw, v, blow
blek, a, black
blyth, a, happy
bluid, n, blood
boddom, n, bottom
bole, n, recess
bou, v, n, bow
bouk, n, bulk
bous, n, boughs
bowder, n, boulder
bowt, n, bolt
brainches, n, branches
braith, n, breath
brattil, v, haste
braw, a, fine
breird, v, sprout
breist, n, breast
bricht, a, bright
broun, a, brown
brukken, v, broken
buik, n, book
bullik, n bullock
byde, v, stay
byde-ower, n, sojourn
bydie-in, n, paramour

cadger, n, pedlar
caird, n, old man
caller, a, fresh
cam, v, came
canna, v, cannot
cannilie, adv, gently
cauld, a, cold
caw, v, call, drive
ceitie, n, city
chaumer, n, chamber
cheil, n, fellow
claes, n, clothes
claith, n, cloth
cleuch, n, glen
cryne, v, shrink
cuddie, n, donkey

dae, v, do
dander, v, stroll
derk, a, dark
dern, v, hide
devaul, v, yield
ding, v, strike
dinna, v, do not
dird, v, strike
disna, v, does not
div, v, do
dochter, n, daughter
dochtna, v, cannot
douce, a, soft
dounset, v, set down
dowe, v, decline
dowf, a, sad
dowie, a, dismal
drak, v, soak up
drap, v, n, drop
dreip, v, drip
droukit, a, drenched
droun, v, drown
drowie, a, foggy
drukken, a, drunken
dubs, n, mud
duin, v, done
dule, n, sorrow
dumfounert, a, astonished
dwyne, v, dwindle

easin, n, horizon
eebrou, n, eyebrow
eftir, prep. after
eild, n, old age
eithlie, adv, easily

faimlie, n, family
fankil, v, entangle
fantoush, a, flashy
fash, v, irritate
fauch, a, sickly-looking
faw, v, fall
fek, n, abundance
fell, a, ruthless
ferr, a, far
feinish, v, finish
fingir, n, finger
finnd, v, find
flie, v, fly
flicht, n, flight
flouer, n, flower
fluir, n, floor
follae, v, follow
foraye, adv, forever
forenent, prep, opposite
forrit, adv, forward
fou, a, full
foust, n, decay
frae, prep, from
freinship, n, friendship
fug, n, moss
fuit, n, foot
furth, prep, beyond

gae, v, go
gaen, v, gone
gairden, n, garden
gait, n, way
gang, v, go
gangril, n, vagrant
gar, v, compel
gat, v, got
gaun, v, go , going
geyan, adv, very
gie, v, give
gin, c, if
gled, n, kite
glisk, n, glance
gloamin, n, dusk
goun, n, gown
gowd, a, gold
gowk, n, fool
grailyach, n, cockerel
greit, v, weep
gresp, v, grasp
gress, n, grass
growe, v, grow
grund, n, ground
grup, v, grip
guid, adj, good

haar, n, sea mist
hae, v, have
haill, a, whole
hame, n, home
hank, v, hang
hap, n, cover
haud, v, hold
haw, n, hall
heid, n, head
heidstane, n, headstone
heivin, n, heaven
hert, n, heart
hertskaud, n, heartbreak
hie, a, high
hir, pron, her
hird, n, shepherd
hirpil, v, hobble
hirsell, pron, herself
hou, adv, how
houss, n, house
howf, n, den
howp, v, n, hope
Howt! interj, Never mind!
huik, n, hook
hunder, n, a, hundred
hunker, v, squat
hure, n, whore
hyne, adv, far away
hyst, v, raise

i, prep, in
ilka, a, each
im, v, am
inouth, prep, inside
ir, v, are
ither, a, other

jag, v, n, stab
jaiket, n, jacket
jouk, v, avoid
juist, a, just

keik, v, peer
ken, v, know
kep, v, catch
kintrie, n, country
knowe, n, hillock
kyth, v, appear

laich, a, low
lamp, v, stride
lanesum, a, lonely
lang, a, long
langsyne, adv, long ago
lauch, v, laugh
leddie, n, lady
lest, a, last
leig, n, league
leim, v, gleam
lift, n, sky
ligg, v, lie
loun, n, boy
lourd, a, heavy
lousum, a, lovable
lowe, n, flame
lown, a, calm
luim, n, loom
luiv, n, love
luivar, n, lover
lyfe, n, life
lyke, v, a, like

maik, n, shape
maikless, a, shapeless
mainners, n, manners
mair, a, more
mairrie, v, marry
maitter, v, matter
maivis, n, thrush
mak, v, make
mauk, n, grub
maun, v, must
meidae, n, meadow
meinister, n, minister
merk, n, mark
michtie, a, mighty
mirk, n, darkness
mirklyke, a, dark
monie, a, many
moulder, v, crumble
mukkil, a, big
mull, n, mule
mynd, v, remember

naig, n, horse
naebodie, n, nobody
naething, n, nothing
neibor, n, neighbor
neuk, n, corner
nevoy, n, nephew

nicker, v, neigh
nicht, n, night
nocht, n, nothing
nou, adv, now
nurl, n, fragment

o, prep, of
oor, n, hour
oorsells, pron, ourselves
oot, pron, out
ootby, prep, outside
ootcum, n, result
ootlest, v, outlast

pad, n, path
paerl, n, pearl
pailace, n, palace
peitiecoat, n. petticoat
pey, v, pay
pikkil, n, small quantity
pikmaw, n, black-headed gull
pingil, v, drudge
pleisir, n, pleasure
ploum, n, plum
prie, v, taste
purpie, a, purple

quyne, n, lass

raen, v, rant
rair, v, roar
rax, v, reach
reid, a, red
reik, n, smoke
richt, a, n, right
rin, v, run
rones, n, gutters
rowe, v, roll
rowth, n, abundance
reid, a, red
ruif, n, roof
ruit, n, root

sae, adv, so
saikless, a, innocent
sanct, n, saint
sair, a, sore
sang, n, song
sant, v, disappear
sauch, n, willow
saul, n, soul
sax, a, six
seik, n, sick
serr, v, serve
shaidae, n, shadow
shaws. n, thicket
shilfie, n, chaffinch
shilpit, n, iil-thriven
shouglie, a, wobbly
shour, n, shower
shouther, n, shoulder
showd, v, swing
sib, a, related
sie-maw, n, sea-gull
simmer, n, summer
sinder, v, divide
skerr, n, precipice
skinkil, v, twinkle
slaelie, adv, slowly
slaik, v, drunkard
slounge, v, loiter
smaw, a, small
smaw, a, small
smird, v, smear
smoor, v, smother
snaw, n, snow
snell, a, cold
sojer, n, soldier
souch, n, sigh
soupil, a, supple
spauls, n, limbs
speider, n, spider
speingie, n, peony
speir, v, enquire
spuil, n, spool
stammik, n, stomach
stane, n, stone
staun, v, stand
staw, n, stall
stell, v, fix
stert, v, start
stodge, v, stump
stound, v, ache
stour, n, dust
stowp, n, tankard
strae, n, straw
stravaig, v, wander
streik, v, stretch
swaird, n, sword
swallae, n, swallow
swaw, n, swell
swey, a, sway
swure, v, swore
syne, adv, then

tak, v, take
tass, n, cup
teir, v, tear
tend, v, await
thair, a, their
thegither, adv, together
theik, n, thatch
the’r, v, there is
thir, a, these
thraw, v, throw
the-morn, adv, tomorrow
toun, n, town
tove, v, soar
traivlar, n, traveler
truibil, n, trouble
tuim, a, empty
twa(e), a, .two
twurl, v, twirl

unco, a, strange
uise, v, use

verra, a, very

wab, n, web
wabbit, a, exhausted
wae, n, sorrow
waesum, a, sad
walin, n, choice
wap, v, wrap
wast, a, west
wat, a, wet
wattir, n, water
wattirgaw, n, rainbow
wauch, a, stale
waucht, v, swallow
waukrif, a, wakeful
waw, n, wall
wecht, n, weight
weill, adv, well
weir, v, wear
weird, n, fate
wersh, a, tasteless
whan, asv, when
whit, a, what
whuff, v, blow
wi, prep, with
winnok, n, window
wrang, a, wrong
wrate, v, wrote
wumman, n, woman
wul, v, will
wund, n, wind
wuthert, a, withert
wyce, a, wise
wynd, n, alley

yammer, v, chatter, lament
yaird, n, yard
yeir, a, your
yestrein, adv, yesterday
yett, n, gate
yird, n, earth
yung, a, young
yon, a, those

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Information about Document 960

Gean Blossoms


Text audience

General public
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2003
Title of original (if translation) Various
Author of original (if translation) Various - see text for details
Language of original (if translation) Chinese
Word count 6034
General description Poetry collection

Text medium

Other Some poems previously published in magazines

Text publication details

Publisher Various
Part of larger text
Contained in Some poems previously published in "Lallans", "Northwords", "Chapman" magazines

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 17
Forenames David
Surname Purves
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Biochemist
Place of birth Selkirk
Region of birth Selkirk
Birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Master Grocer
Father's place of birth Selkirk
Father's region of birth Selkirk
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Selkirk
Mother's region of birth Selkirk
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes