Poems for aw

Kings and queens and ploughmen and paupers have all written poetry in Scots. The poetic tradition has been strong in Scotland since the early Middle Ages and is one which shows healthy signs that it will continue.

On His Heid-Ake

William Dunbar (1460–1520) was a poet at the court of James IV and is recognised as one of Scotland’s greatest ever poets. His language, though initially difficult to read, can be understood by a modern reader fairly easily. The poem is read by Matthew Fitt.

  On His Heid-Ake (743 KB)

  Transcript - On His Heid-Ake (10 KB)

Sonnet by Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots (1542–87) was a native Scots speaker who also mastered French. She originally wrote this beautiful love poem in French, translated here into Scots by the writer James Robertson. It is read by Ann Matheson.

  Sonnet by Mary Queen of Scots (1.4 MB)

  Transcript - Sonnet (10 KB)

Caller Oysters

Robert Fergusson (1750–74) was an Edinburgh poet who wrote in Scots about life in the capital. This poem is read by Rab Wilson.

  Caller Oysters (3 MB)

  Transcript - Caller Oysters (16 KB)

Aye, He's the Big Man

Rab Wilson is a contemporary poet who writes in Scots and has even translated The Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam into the Mither Tongue. Here he reads his own poem.

  Aye, He's the Big Man (841 KB)

  Transcript - Aye, He's the Big Man (10 KB)

From Accent o the Mind poetry collection (2006) and audio CD. With kind permission of Luath Press, Edinburgh.