Can you quote a Scottish poet?
May 10, 2015 5:17 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a quote from a Scottish poet (or writer) which exemplifies the pain and frustration of being so far down the socio-economic ladder as to never be able to even own land? It could also talk about the chasm between the haves and the have-nots.
posted by John Borrowman to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could maybe start with Burns' writing on the theme of poverty. For example "Epigram":
Whoe'er he be that sojourns here,
I pity much his case,
Unless he come to wait upon
The Lord their God, his Grace.

There's naething here but Highland pride,
And Highland scab and hunger;
If Providence has sent me here,
'Twas surely in an anger.

posted by rongorongo at 5:58 AM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you can find a copy, I'd look through The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black Black Oil, though I guess McGrath wasn't Scottish.
posted by hoyland at 5:59 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's an English ballad but sounds better in a Scottish accent. The World Turned Upside Down, performed by Dick Gaughan.
posted by spitbull at 6:08 AM on May 10, 2015

This scene from Corrour station in "Trainspotting":
'...its a shite state of affairs to be in Tommy and all the fresh air in the world won't make any fucking difference'
posted by rongorongo at 6:12 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

From pleading in a senate of rich lords
For some scant justice to our countless hordes
Who toil half-starved with scarce a human right:
I wake from daydreams to this real night.

—from The City of Dreadful Night by James Thomson (part XII, lines 13-16).
posted by misteraitch at 7:24 AM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's not exactly apt - but the lyrics to the Proclaimers "Cap in Hand"?
Here's an excerpt:

But I can't understand why we let someone else rule our land, cap in hand

We fight - when they ask us
We boast - then we cower
We beg
For a piece of
Whats already ours

Once I thought I could make God a bribe
So I said I was in his lost tribe
Getting handouts can be so frustrating
"Get in line son, there's five million waiting"

I can't understand why you let someone else rule your land, cap in hand
I can't understand why we let someone else rule our land, cap in hand
I can't understand why you let someone else rule your land, cap in hand
posted by vitabellosi at 3:32 PM on May 10, 2015

'But the very next day he was driving back from the mart, old Bob in the cart, when round a corner below the Barmekin came a motor-car spitting and barking like a tink dog in distemper. Old Bob had made a jump and near landed the cart in the ditch and then stood like a rock, so feared he wouldn't move a step, the cart jammed fast across the road. And as father tried to haul the thrawn beast to the side a creature of a woman with her face all clamjamfried with paint and powder and dirt, she thrust her bit head out from the window of the car and cried You're causing an obstruction, my man. And John Guthrie roused like a lion: I'm not your man, thank God, for if I was I'd have your face scraped with a clart and then a scavenger wash it well. The woman nearly burst with rage at that, she fell back in the car and said You've not heard the last of this. Take note of his name-plate, James, d'you hear? And the shover looked out, fair shamed he looked, and keeked at the name-plate underneath Bob's shelvin, and quavered Yes, madam, and they turned about and drove off.

That was the way to deal with dirt like the gentry, but when father applied for his lease again he was told he couldn't have it.'

A Scots Quair (Sunset Song) by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
posted by Flitcraft at 5:08 PM on May 10, 2015

not a poem specifically, but this song is over flowing with the very quotes you seek.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 11:01 PM on May 10, 2015

« Older Move to a city I'm not crazy about for better...   |   Political info with less wide-eyed panic, please Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.