Scottish Poetry Selection
- Sandy MacNab

Walter Wingate was a teacher (of mathematics) so he may well have come across Sandy MacNab - or someone like him.

Sandy MacNab

Sandy McNab was the fule o' the class?
Naething per cent was his usual pass;
No like the geniuses whiles ye may ken,
That draws like Turner and count like hen;
    Useless at ane - at the ither a dab -
    Useless at a'thing was Sandy MacNab

But, dunce as he was, at the start o' his teens
Sandy, converted - (whatever that means) -
Settled to wark like a mawk on a blade,
Bored through his Caesar - his grammar re-read;
    Fought wi' his algebra - steekit his gab,?
    Nane was sae altered as Sandy MacNab

I ken that he never could pass the Prelim.,
But he trusted in me as I didna in him;
Begged me to help him his logic to "stew" -
And here he's the day wi' the news that he's through!
    Wi' a cane in his han' - in his button a bab -
    What d'ye think o' our Sandy MacNab?

Meaning of unusual words:
dab=very good
steekit his gab=kept quiet
Prelim.=Preliminary Examination, usually taken before the Higher Leaving Certificate in the 5th year of Secondary education.
stew=work hard at

Return to the Index of Walter Wingate Poems or the General Index of Scottish Poetry

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