Although a ‘Toon Loon’ I came from countra’ stock spending many of my holidays on farms at Westhill Murtle, Skene or Fordoun near to Lewis Grassick Gibbon territory, where I had an uncle who was a tractorman. Although used to Aiberdeen Doric I was attracted to the different Doric language on the various farms.
On retirement in the early 1990’s I had time to indulge my passion to gather and research ‘Doric Poetry,’ visiting numerous second hand bookshops and Fairs in Aberdeen, Aboyne, Ballater, Inverurie, Huntly, Aberlour, Craigellachie, Logie Steading and elsewhere building up a large collection of poetry books and anthologies on the Doric Dialect.
Many of the published poetry books in the period 1920 to 1950 were small volumes containing 10 to 30 poems, often published privately, long since out of print and unlikely to be reprinted. I have over the years, when on the speaking circuit, recited or sung many of the collected poems although at the age of 89 going on 90 years I no longer do so.
I am very optimistiic for the future of the Doric Dialect. The schools, particularly the country schools are now encouraging the pupils to use it .I understand an approach has been made to central Education Authorities to make it a voluntary, examinable subject for those who wish to take the exam.
The growth of Heritage Societies who arrange competitions for children and adults both for prose and poetry is to be commended as is the arrangement of Festivals such as Strichen and Cullerlie.
The University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Institute is of course very interested in the Doric Dialect as part of the Institutes much wider remit and highlights it in its programme and also in the University ‘May Fest.’
There appears to be a great increase in the publication of Children’s books in the Dialect e.g.’ Fit like yer Majesty?’ ’and ‘ Nae Bad Ava! Published by ‘The Reading Bus’ which travelled round the Schools before Covid 19 took over.
Jill McWilliam has greatly helped with Doric TV and Future Doric. Long may she continue and thrive! New ventures require determination and stickability to keep going. I’m sure Jill has these qualities!
I thought this poem written by myself may encourage her.
Fan things gyang wrang as fyles they wull;
Fan the road yer traiken seems a’ uphill;
Fan pooches are teem, an’ accounts maun be peyed;
An’ ye wint tae be seely, bit yet hert’s foo o’ pride;
Fan things get yer birse up, an’ ye’re ill teen a bit
Rist if ye maun bit dinna ye quat
Success is failure tirned inside oot;
The silver tint o’the cloods o’doot;
An’ ye can niver be shair foo nar ye are;
It micht be aside fan it’s rarely afar.
Sae stack tae the fecht fan ye’re sairly hat
It’s fan things gyang wrang ‘at ye mauna quat.
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