A aald man stunks up da Via Pomposa,
ivery Fiat a haand-hadd, ivery Lancia.
His grund is gien ta tyo afore his een;
tiled röfs an bruckkit rones sproot green.
Smert flats clim boannie broos in legions
ahint wrowt iron, weel-rötit bougainvillea.
Whaar Viale Leonardo Da Vinci meets
Via Farfa, a watter-pump still dreeps.
Anunder a single pine, da drain is wörn
tae stoup, sained steyn. Hit minds apön
tagidderness o watter: weemen wi pots liftit
tae der heads, bairns skeetchin een anidder.
A young man, in ledder, wöshes his haands,
sets him doon, lichts a fag-end; twartree draas
ta settle pride, ta shoard him. He waits till
he’s alane afore he waels trowe aa da bins.
Der nae wirds ta slake dis seekin, dis drouth.
Da aald man arls by, dry-moothed,
seekin his blissit matins o espresso, past
da aald oarder, a nun wi modest roses.
Hit’s maybe no Munch’s Scream, da Screch,
dis islandit lonliness o speerit, but heth,
we need a haand across life’s watersheds,
ta steady wis for uncan gaets dat rekk ahead.
Stunks = plods | gien ta tyo = matted beyond cultivation | brukkit = broken | sained = blessed | skeetchin = spattering | ledder = leather | twartree = a few | shoard = prop up | waels = sifts | arls = moves feebly | heth = mild oath | uncan = unfamiliar | gaets = paths | rekk = reach.
Christine De Luca lives in Edinburgh. She writes in English and Shetlandic, her mother tongue. She was appointed Edinburgh’s Makar for 2014-2017. Besides several children’s stories and one novel, she has had seven poetry collections and four bi-lingual volumes published (French, Italian, Icelandic and Norwegian). She’s participated in many festivals here and abroad. Her poems have been selected four times for the Best Scottish Poems of the Year (2006, 2010, 2013 and 2015) for The Scottish Poetry Library online anthologies.