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Home*Arts in Scotland*Scots*Archive*Poem February 2005
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Scots poem of the month - February 2005

Comin back ower the Border
The first ye ken ye're hame
It isna jist the biggins
The brick gien wey tae stane

It's nae the kintra roon aboot
Craggies, cleughs an corries
Stanes keeking through the shilpit yird
Less caurs an bikes an lorries

It's nae the pastels o the North
The weather-gleam i the lift
The snell gurlie teeth o the wind
The smirr in the mochie drift

It's "wee this" "see thon" "Och, gonnae"
The "O" sae straucht an lang
The "R" rollin richly roon the braes
The speak on the rise o a

By Mary McCabe

Anent the poet

Mary McCabe

Born and aye bidin in Glesca, Mary McCabe has brocht oot poems, stories and airticles in Scots, Gaelic and English.

In 1990 she co-scrievit a buik anent cultural projecks: Streets Schemes and Stages.

In 1994 she brocht oot a novel: Everwinding Times (Argyll). She has haen a bairns' storybuik and three radio plays owerset intae German. She belangs tae Scottish PEN and gies talks through the Scottish Buik Trust Leet o Scrievers in the scuils.
Mary says: On ma first traivels tae foreign pairts, mony a year syne, I hud a fine time, and wad fain hae bidit anither sax weeks. Yet, gaun hame, the first Scots ah heard brocht a tear tae ma ee! Syne, at the Border, ah took tent o the stanes and the land, bit it wis the Scots voices that telt me ah cuid never lowp the kintra.

About the poet

Born in Glasgow and still living there, Mary has published short stories and poems and feature articles in Scots, English and Gaelic. Longer work includes a novel, Everwinding Times, and an illustrated book on culture Streets Schemes and Stages. In German translation she has published a children's book (Die zauberhafte Reise), and her radio plays have gone out in Germany and Switzerland.

Through the Scottish Book Trust Writers in Schools scheme she gives talks and readings. She is a member of Scottish PEN.
Mary says: On my first time abroad, many years ago, homesickness was the last thing on my mind.  Yet, on the train home after only six weeks, the first Scottish voices brought tears to my eyes!  Later, at the Border, I looked for the topographical features mentioned in the poem, but it was that first sound of spoken Scots that told me, despite my love of travel, I could never emigrate.

If you have enjoyed this poem, you can borrow a range of poetry from the Scottish Poetry Library, who also lend by post. Telephone 0131 557 2876 or e-mail reception@spl.org.uk for more information. For an online catalogue, poetry events listings and more featured poems, please visit the Scottish Poetry Library website.

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