Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Goalkeeper's Ghost

This long poem is a parody on the (even longer) ballad "Tam o' Shanter" by Robert Burns. Like the Burns work, it is full of goblins and ghosts and in some parts mirrors the original closely although it takes place in Glasgow rather than Ayr:

Auld Glasga' wham nae toon surpasses
   For flytin' wives and cunnin' lassies;

In the second half of the poem, the breakneck speed of the action is reflected in the fact that it is not broken up into individual verses.

      The Goalkeeper's Ghost

Whin chaps an' cronies on the street
   Can scarcely staun' upon their feet,
Whin this yin's wat and this yin's dry,
   And no' a star in a' the sky,
Whin hail an' snaw an' sleet combine,
   Ilk drap that fa's wid fill a bine.

On sic a nicht I ta'en ma road
   Encumbered wi' a heavy load,
O' mountain dew I had my shair,
   An' winnerin' whaur I wid get mair,
The lamps shone feeble in the gloom,
   An' a' wis silent as the tomb.

No' e'en a body in the street,
   Except a bobby I did meet;
But wat or dry, it's aye the same,
   They're there to take the wanderer hame;
I passed that bobby like a man,
   An' jist wi' that the clock struck wan.

Little I cared, for man in blue
   That very nicht, I'm telling you,
Ma thochts were a' aboot the wife,
   Wha often said she'd tak' ma life,
An' yon yin that I ha'e got can 'growl,
   Or decorate ye wi' a bowl.

Auld Glasga' wham nae toon surpasses
   For flytin' wives and cunnin' lassies;
For chaps that preach and leeve gey fat-
   Of coorse by sen'in roun' the hat.
Still sta'ggerin' on I bravely went,
   I riped my pooches- no' a cent,
Except the scent wis in ma nose,
   An' that's no' muckle I suppose.

I leaned my heid against the wa'
   An' jist wi' that the clock struck twa,
But later on strange soun's I heard
   When passin' by the auld kirkyaird;
It wis a kirkyaird kent tae me,
   But hang the tombstane I could see.

Ma heid, I think, began tae reel-
   That kirkyaird looked a fitba' fiel,
There stood the goalpost gapin' wide,
   An' there the players-eleven-a-side,
An' crutches there for every man,
   Forbye a ghostly ambulance van.

Wan goalkeeper there did staun',
   A fireclay brick in every haun',
The ither business meant an' a',
   Held in his fist a jiner's saw,
But wha wis referee-I looked-
   A tail he had an' horns sae crooked;
I glowered-gey funny I did feel,
   It wis his "Nabs" himsel', the deil.

The game began, the ba' did flee,
An' jist wi' that the clock struck three,
Then fast an' furious waxed the fun
Aboot the field the players run,
The forwards dodged- the backs were guid,
Nae maitter whit the forwards did
They couldna' get the fitba' through
Till yae wee fellow fairly flew
Richt doon the field and banged the ba'
But the goalkeeper wi' the saw
Left his trade mark upon his jaw;
Hauf-time !-the game again begun,
Spectators flocked intae the grun'
A' ghosts-they were an eerie sicht,
They shairly left their graves that nicht,
They yelled an' egg'd the players on,
At some they cheered, at some did groan.
"A foul, a foul," wis their next yell,
And then auld Nicholas himsel'
The whistle blew-the foul allooed-
Which seemed tae satisfy the crood.
Bang went the ba', again the crew
A' roared at yince, "It's thro'! it's thro'!
"It's no' thro' yet," I did remark,
An' in an instant a' wis dark;
At me the ghostly gang did glower,
An' jist wi' that the clock struck fower.
"Oh, Tam! oh, Tam! ye'll get yer fairn
As shair as guns are made o' airn,"
That wis their cry ; next thing I feels
The ghostly gang were at ma heels,
An' foremost tae amang them a'
Wis the goalkeeper wi' the saw.
I doon the road, an' owre the burn,
He followed me at every turn,
I couldna' stop, I couldna' speak,
I felt his braith upon ma cheek;
Fast an' aye faster on we gaed,
Nearer an' nearer on me he made,
He raised the saw an gi'ed a laugh,
An' then I felt ma ears ta'en aff..
"Whaur am I? Say-come tell-me quick."
A voice replied, "Yer in the nick,
We thocht ye'd never come alive,"
An' jist wi' that the clock struck five;
For lang I thocht. "I'm in a fix,
Whit time is't noo?" A slop yelled " Six."
I winnert if I wis really leevin'
Whin a scone wis haunded in at seven
A scone as hard as ony plate,
Nae wunner that the clock struck eight.
They marched me oot tae toe the line
As the coort-hoose clock wis chappin' nine,
A guinea or fourteen days, and then
The Bridewell van appeared at ten.
It is nae use o' me deceiving'
We reached the prison aboot eleven,
Then I got my bath, that bath forget I never, shall,
I was up to here when the clock struck twall.

Meaning of unusual words:
cronies=old friend
bine=wash tub
mountain dew=whisky
flytin'=scolding, chiding
riped=search thoroughly

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