2007 - 2022

Poem of the week : The Homeward Bound


The Homeward Bound

This fag-brak is in danger
o becoman whit we caal at work
a ‘Tina brak’, as in: permanent.
Me feet err planted oot the back,
an whit’s no tae like
aboot oot the back?
Nutheen is done up
tae luk like anything else:
forgotten things
they couldna fiind a place fur,
gossipan wae the weeds.
The wind — last
o the busy-buddies —
flickeran the pages.

Whit is immortality
bit an empty plastic container?
Ah’ll be a peenk plastic god
amongst the orders:
shoppeen trolley betrayed
like a dog, a legless step ladder,
skeleton o roost —
endless feeneesheen touches
tae green-nilded breeze-blocks —
the pus-crusted, heedless,
handle-less, gutted, flappan
industrial geometry
in rain language,
the homeward bound.

Here confusion is welcomed,
shame lighter, gauzy. Function…
function flotts tae the joins
like a patina-frocked
ghawst, scribblan,
nibblan intae knotted alphabets,
the electrical hum o trowies,
the waarmth.

The sky is so white me eyes
go like screwed-up baals
o waste-paper — half-written
letters, poems, shoppeen lists,
notts tae tell ye whar ah’m off tae,
tae tell ye I love you.
Screwed up
intae me screwed-up brain.

Ye might yit see me
doon the toon,
tiltan by some fock
tae say aye-aye.
Bit me feet
err planted oot the back.


homeward bound dilapidated
trowies hill trolls


Kevin Cormack was born in Kirkwall, Orkney, and has lived in London for a number of years.  His music is released through Spillage Fete Records.  His first collection of poetry, Toonie Void, will be published by Abersee Press on 21st August.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    Although I have always spoken in my local West of Scotland version of Scots, because I learned to write in Standard English (or The King’s English as the primary school book told me, and King George VI had recently shuffled of this mortal coil), I have to read aloud poems written in any version of Scots, to comprehend them fully. It is as if the sound is part of the meaning. When I read a poem in Standard English, the meaning registers soundlessly somewhere in my brain. However, I usually ‘say’ it soundlessly to appreciate rhythm, etc.

    Because Scots has not had a standardised spelling, when I write in it I write it phonetically, and, since my accent is not precisely someone else’s, I have to read that person’s poem aloud to be certain of what it is saying.

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