William Hershaw

We feature work by poet William Hershaw to mark National Poetry Day 2012.

Cover of 'Happyland'

William Hershaw is a Scots language poet, teacher and musician.

He was born in Newport on Tay in 1957 and studied English at the University of Edinburgh. He teaches English at Beath High School.

William's poetry has been featured in a number of anthologies, including 'Dream state — The new Scottish poets' edited by Donny O'Rourke and published by Polygon. William's own collections include:

  • 'The Cowdenbeath man' (Scottish Cultural Press, 1997)
  • 'Fifty Fife sonnets' (Akros, 2006)
  • 'Johnny Aathin' (Windfall, 2009).

These two poems are taken from 'Happyland', published by FRAS Publications and runner up in the 2012 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. You can hear a reading of 'Wabster' on the Scots Language Centre website.


Gowden Threids

An auld carl chappit at our door:
Yearly, I humph this kist:

Green silk that's sown
for a Sunday coat in spring,

Fire-bricht Beltane cloth —
a dress for a barn dance at Lammas,

Blae yarn tae knit
a scarf against autumn's souch,

White wool at Yuill
for a happin shawl or shroud.

Thir gowden threids?
— tae stitch the seasons roun.




The wabster i the winnock neuk
wha hings abuin the sill
kens a souch'll fetch a flea,
grist tae its mill.

Even the warselin flee itsel
kens its weird is dreed:
thirlt and taigled i a wab
no tae be freed.

And aa that's thrang wi DNA
kens hou tae be,
and aathin kens tae be itsel —
Sae hou no me?


National Poetry Day 2012


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