The last makar, my makar, didna actually ken the leid himsel. The mon wis a dumm, but nae deif like the lave. He’d hearken tae it, fand the wirds, follae the seentences hame. A docky pit doon, a mad maument o flytin, an amour. See, the leid cam oot ae aw o us whan we meent whit we said. Whin we didna ken orsels, thon auncient leid ay kent. The makar clarkit doon fir aw ae us. Gowden groff-write.
Baurm the politeecian! Baurm the keeng! Bairn efter bairn efter bairn kent the soon ae seelence, the soon ae jis waitin for end. Haudin the needle in. Sayin oor last goodbye, then saying nothing.
Castles. Dykes. A rickle o stanes. Yon mon could hear. An when aw becam seelence, the leid becam aw. Coudna hush it, coudna stap, the man wis leid – nae faimly, nae job, jis this streenge muisic, pushin him alang, makin him write, makin him cant. He could scrieve a wird tae scrieve a man.
But he couldna mak fuid an he couldna mak susteenance, his ain leid wid malkie him afore lang.
Threescore an ten, an then a leid is dun.
Ither makars could mak a leevin fae Sassanach wi slevvers ae Scots. It wisna Scots, nae mair than tatties are saut.
Threescore and ten, and then a language is done.
The makar deed but the wirds didna stap. They lingert on his grave an are hauntin him still.
“Bonnie. Eyedent. Misst.”
He wis the youngest o wummin or the auldest a men or he’s whitever mishanter that brings it aw hame…
He wis his ain mon. He was his own man.
:: Published in Gutter issue 10 and Lallans issue 85.