Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
Sgrìobhadh ùr à Alba agus an Àird a Tuath

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The Stuff the North is Made O

(Finland 1970)

by Donald Adamson

A cuidnae trou ma een –
simmer still, tree-lined boulevards
unner skyrie skies, a waukin dream
o the sooth. It wis like some place A hud been
(but whan?) completely chynged
wi wuirds, signs, letters, meaninless,
scrambld aa weys, whummld
mixtur-maxtur, like the coins pit oot
by Britons whan the Romans hud gane hame.

Real eneuch it felt. An yit aa wrang:
sib tae a memory biggit
frae less than air, a swirlin, circlin haar
that meant no-weel, no-ill
like in Tarkovsky’s Solaris,
craitur-like, sculptin whit the mind
in sleep or in a dwaum ettles for
oot o whit wis plantit in a bodie
at time o birth. A think that it wis waitin

tae tak a haud o me whan A glenced
oot o the train windae an hauf-kent
that noo, frae this day on
ma life wuid hae a coonterpairt in yon
nivver-endin – whit? Forest? Thon
or some ither orra entity
that husnae got a scienteefic nemm,
the mirk primordial, elemental stuff
the north is made o.

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