Bowing out beautifully
Published at 21:37, Wednesday, 08 August 2012
I’M back for an encore, one week only.
Call it the epilogue or PS or whatever.
Several people have asked me the whereabouts of the climbing corydalis flower I mentioned last week and what it looked like, so I took a photo which you can see here.
It’s a patch of white lying to the right of the start of the Birnie Braes, just past a wee burn.
Another plant thriving in our wet summer is the marsh orchid. They’re to be seen everywhere.
They were even growing on the verges of the A7 on the bypass near Canonbie but these ones disappeared when the verges were cut.
My summer bedding plants have been a dead loss this year. I chose the wrong ones for the wet weather.
Geraniums planted two months ago are only now showing colour.
I was told that begonias are the ones which like the rain.
Our bees and butterflies may have suffered from the excessive rainfall but another insect is revelling in the damp conditions.
The midge is so much a part of Scottish summers that a sculpture depicting a giant midge was erected outside Inverness museum and art gallery.
In previous jottings I’ve mentioned Hawick-born teacher and composer Francis George Scott and his pupil at Langholm Academy, Christopher Grieve.
Scott set several of Hugh MacDiarmid’s poems to music and it was hoped that one or two of them might be performed by local singers at the Saltire Society literary award in the town hall gallery next Friday.
Professor Alan Riach sent some of Scott’s music to Margaret Pool with this in mind. But the logistics of getting a piano into the small venue are insurmountable which is a pity as the music would have enhanced the occasion.
Francis Scott published five volumes of Scottish lyrics set to music of which 26 songs were from Burns’ poems, 10 from MacDiarmid’s and one of Sir Walter Scott’s.
Writing to MacDiarmid about the fifth volume, Scott said, “I’d say of this latest batch, your own Watergaw is the best.”
Scott never received the recognition he deserved for his work. As his friend MacDiarmid wrote in his book The Company I’ve Kept, “Must Scott say too ‘I have piped but you have not danced’”.
The Langholm poet recognised the musician’s help with his own masterpiece A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, saying that when he, MacDiarmid, reached the point where he couldn’t see the wood for the trees, he handed over his manuscript to Scott who, in MacDiarmid’s own words, “seized on the essentials and urged the ruthless discarding of the inessentials.”
There’s been another poet busy in Langholm, as Ronnie Stewart discovered when he was clearing his brother’s house in Caroline Street.
Ronnie came across a handwritten poem with the title The Wee Bit Toon on the Border.
It was in his aunt Janet’s handwriting but Ronnie doesn’t know whether or not she wrote it.
It starts off:
There’s a wee bit toon on the border,
Say the words of a song that’s sung
And it stirs in the minds of its exiles
Who are out on shores farflung.”
It mentions some of Langholm’s walks in the lines
There’s Gaskells Walk and the Dowie Stane
Or up the Castle Hill,
There’s The Roon Hoose down by Skippers Brig
And Jenny Noble’s Gill.
The Lamb Hill way by Tibbie Lugs
Is a walk we’d often take
Or up by Burnett’s Mill we’d go
And on to the Curly Snake.
The Scrog Wud was a challenge too
To boys both small and big
When time came round for hazelnuts
Up past the High Mill Brig.
Other verses list family names and street names.
It’s a real trip down Memory Lane but does anyone know the poet of these 15 verses? Ronnie would like to know.
Published by http://www.eladvertiser.co.uk