Review

From Lallans 85, Yuil 2014:

 

Bi the time this gaes tae prent, Scotlan will hae spak the muckle ‘aye’ or the feartie’s ‘naw’. The jimply ambiguousteetle o this buikie wad hae made a guid slogan. Thirteen poems anent the referendum mell myth, historie an poleetics intae a pouerfu perswadin mixter-maxter that pirrs wi baith wraith an howp. While ane or twa o the wee poems are juist jinglin verses, the ithers hae a hantle o sairious smeddum.

   The eemagery o a jet remakin the saltire in the lift at Athelstaneford leads tae anither saltire that cud cheynge Scotland’s weird as weill; the ane we scrieve in the ballot box. ‘Birthin rooms’ caw tae mind the stench poleetical poetry o T. S. Law:

 

          The new ‘Unitit Kinrik’ wis

          an is, an shuirlie will remain

          the same reactionary state

          true democrats will aye disdain;

          wi preivilege baith auld an new,

          wi sinnrie ranks o laich an hie,

          wi oligarchs an plutocrats

          an at its heid the monarchie.

 

The replenishin o the birthin room at Embro Castle turns intae a metaphor for the scowth o future birthin rooms in an independent Scotlan that will cleck a new race o leaders tae big a Scots republic.    

   Wraith kythes in the poem ‘Friens an faes’. Wha malafoostert Gruinard wi anthrax? Wha yaises Scotlan tae dump its nuclear troost? An howp is manifest in the rael endin o the auld sang:

 

          But noo we hae a vote

          that we can bring

          an en tae that auld sang,

          a new tae sing.

 

Ann Matheson