Week 213: For My Newborn Son, by Sydney Goodsir Smith

I guess some may find this poem by the Scots poet Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915-1975) a touch sentimental, but if you can’t be sentimental about a newborn baby what can you be sentimental about, and I speak as one who has, with some assistance from my wife, had four of them.

I think the Scots words shouldn’t present much of a problem. Schire-bleezan: blazing brightly; causey: road (causeway); kist: chest; lap: leapt; dirlin: beating; downa: do not; maikless: matchless (cf. the beautiful Middle English lyric ‘I sing of a maiden/That is makeless’)

For My Newborn Son

Blythe was yir comin,
Hert never dreamt it,
A new man bydan
In warld whan I’ve left it.

Bricht was yon morn,
Cauld in September,
Wi sun aa the causey
Glentered wi glamer,
Sclate roofs like siller
Schire-bleezan yon morn.

Hert in my kist lap,
Joyrife its dirlin,
Bairn, whan oor lips met
Yir mither’s were burnan,
Weet were oor een then,
Puir words downa tell it.

As hert never dreamt on
Was joy in yir comin,
Maikless wee nesslin
Ma sleepan reid Robin.

Sydney Goodsir Smith


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