Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Paidlin' Wean
This poem is by Alexander Anderson (1845-1909) who was born in Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire. He usually wrote under the pseudonym of "Surfaceman" and indeed worked as a surfaceman on the railway, laying and repairing the tracks.
Parents will immediately recognise the "wean" (child) who delights in jumping in puddles - in the rain. They will also agree with the sentiments of the final line - "anger o' a mither's just anither name for love."
The Paidlin' WeanCome in the hoose this moment, paidlin' oot there in the rain,
An', losh me! but ae buitie on, ye limmer o' a wean;
Come in an' tell me, if ye can, what great delicht ye tak'
In paidlin' in the siver till your face is perfect black?
I canna turn my back, atweel, to airn your faither's sark,
But if the door be left agee, ye slip oot to your wark,
An' stamp in a' the puddles, lauchin' as they jaup an' jow,
While a' the time the careless rain pelts doon upon your pow.
See what an awfu' mess ye've made o' a' your bonnie claes,
The peenie, tae, that I pat on this mornin' when ye raise;
'Twas white then as the new-fa'en sna', but noo as black's the lum,
An' what wi' treacly pieces, stickin' here an' there like gum.
An' noo ye maun be wash'd, nae doot, but hoo will I begin?
I think I'll get the muckle tub, an' dook ye tae the chin;
Dook ye ow'r the heid, ye rogue, an' skelp your hurdies tae,
An' see if that'll mak ye ony better for the day.
Noo, dinna shake your curly heid, an' shape your mooth for no,
An' row yoursel' within my goon, an' lisp oot "keeky bo;"
For sic a steerin' plague ye've turn'd, an' grown sae fierce an' croose,
That I maun try some ither plan to keep ye in the hoose.
But, losh me! even as I speak, my anger's quaten'd doon,
An' so I kiss the rosy mou' that peeps oot frae my goon;
Straik an' clap the curly heid, an' a' to fairly prove
That the anger o' a mither's just anither name for love.
Meaning of unusual words:
Paidlin' Wean = paddling child
losh me! = goodness me!
ae buitie = one boot
limmer = rascal
siver = gutter, drain
airn = iron
sark = shirt
agee = ajar
jaup an' jow = splash and ripple
pow = head
peenie = pinafore
lum = chimney
treacly pieces = bread and treacle (molasses)
maun = must
muckle = large
dook = plunge
skelp your hurdies tae = smack your buttocks too
row = wrap
goon = gown
sic = such
steerin' = stubborn
croose = lively
Straik an' clap = stroke and smooth
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