A Lang Promise

Sorting through some papers I found I’d kept a copy of this poem by Jackie Kay. Sometimes poetry tells us things we didn’t know about ourselves, even when we thought we did. It really resonates now. The Catholic Church in Scotland has today pronounced this subject matter a ‘grotesque subversion’. That’s a real shame.

Whether the weather be dreich or fair, my luve
if guid times greet us, or we hae tae face the wurst,
ahint and afore whit will happen tae us:
blind in the present, eyes open to the furore,
unkempt or sharply dressed, suddenly puir or poorly,
peelie-wally or in fine feckle, beld or frosty,
calm as a ghoul or in a feery-farry,
in dork December or in springy Spring weather,
doon by the Barrows; on the banks o’ the Champs d’Elysees,
at mid-nicht, first licht, whether the mune
be roond or crescent, and ye be o’ soond mind
or absent, I’ll tak your trusty haund
and lead you over the haw – hame, ma darlin.
I’ll carry ma lantern and daur defend ye agin ony enemy;
and whilst there is breath in me, I’ll blaw it intae ye.
Fir ye are ma true luve, the bonnie face I see afore me;
nichts I fall intae slumber, it’s ye I see swimmingly –
all yer guidness and blytheness, yer passion.
You’ll be mine, noo, an’ till the end o’ time,
ma bonnie lassie, I’ll tak the full guid o’ ye’
and gie it back, and gie it back tae ye:
a furst kiss, a lang promise: time’s gowden ring.

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