Sunday, 23 July 2006

Whatsoever Things are Lovely by Christine De Luca

'Whatsoever things are lovely..think on these things.' Philippians 4, 8
A smoor o paets: a simmer foo
a hent fae timeless broos at,
haddin der dark fire, cuppit
fair Lungawater. I da sun
da paety loch glansed
secret an boddomless.
Jöst oot a reck, a tize
o water-lilies flotit,
luscious an exotic,
intae a Monet.

Da day, i da toon,
du skypit up ta me,
alive ta ivery element;
open on a loch o trust.
Afore I gud, du closed
petal airms aroond me.
A flash o Eden, surely,
or a braeth o Lungawater;
a charm fornenst da grummel
steered up itae dis fragile wirld.

A drizzle of peats: a simmer full
to glean from timeless slopes that,
holding their dark fire, cupped
fair Lungawater. In the sun
the peaty lake sparkled
secret and bottomless.
Just out of reach, a lure
of water-lilies floated,
luscious and exotic,
into a Monet.

In the town today,
you skipped up to me,
alive to every element;
open on a lake of trust.
Before I went, you closed
petal arms around me.
A flash o Eden, surely,
or a breath of Lungawater;
a charm against the muddiness
stirred up within this fragile world.


Christine De Luca, Edinburgh, Scotland
This poem also appears on the Scottish Poetry Library website here.

6 comments:

Juliet Wilson said...

A lovely poem in Shetlandic, with Christine's own English version. Here is Christine's explanation of the poem: "The incident in the poem happened on the fateful 9/11 and the little girl is suggested in the shape of the poem ....or the not very stable towers I suppose. The references to the water
lilies refer to the poet Vagaland (pen name) who came from my village, a generation before me. He also had had peats in the same area and wrote a beautiful love poem called 'Water Lilies' based on the Lungawater of my (idyllic) childhood.'

Nia said...

It's beautiful! But it's so frustrating that I find the original version so hard to understand. A year or two ago, I would have remembered more Scottish words.

Amy said...

I'm so glad you included the Shetlandic version. The text is beautiful to look at, even if I don't understand a lot of it. "You skipped up to me, / alive in every element; / open on a lake of trust." Lovely language.

Juliet Wilson said...

HI there and thanks for your comments. Nia, Shetlandic is quite different from lowland Scots, which I suspect you may be more familiar with, so maybe you haven't forgotten as much as you think.....

Anonymous said...

Juliet Wilson said...
A lovely poem in Shetlandic, with Christine's own English version. Here is Christine's explanation of the poem: "The incident in the poem happened on the fateful 9/11 and the little girl is suggested in the shape of the poem ....or the not very stable towers I suppose. The references to the water
lilies refer to the poet Vagaland (pen name) who came from my village, a generation before me. He also had had peats in the same area and wrote a beautiful love poem called 'Water Lilies' based on the Lungawater of my (idyllic) childhood.'

Can you say what book did you quoted? The thing is I'm doing a research on Christine De Luca's poems and can't find her comments

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Anonymous, I'm quoting from personal correspondence from Christine when she sent me the poem!