Foo wan we here, tae dis place,
dis island; an wi dis tribe? Laekly
we wir hunkered doon, hoidin
fae cataclysms, faercist winds,
fae sunless days, starnless nichts;
dan huntin wir wye nort, winterin
trowe a ice age, deep i da gloor
o caves, paintin images o deer,
o bison lunderin ahead, trackin a
niff o green. As caald slackent
we spleet fae wir ain fock,
gud wir gaet, kerryin tinderbox,
seeds, mony a tale; brakkin oot
a tyoch laand, steyney or sabbin.
Naeboady is a island, yet still wir
solitary, ambivalent begyetters,
wint wi boondaries. Der a hint, a gey
strynd o da explorer lingerin i da DNA,
keepin wis on da möv, untrammelled;
unique, but sib tae da hale wirld,
encoded i dat wan aerly continent,
dat first ocean island, wir genesis.
Listen to Christine read DNA and explain some of the ideas behind the poem to editor Jordan Ogg.
Christine De Luca is a poet and novelist from Shetland who writes in English and in Shetland Dialect, which is a blend of Old Scots with much Norse influence. You can find out more about her poetry and publications at christinedeluca.co.uk. A dictionary of the Shetland dialect can be found on Shetland ForWirds' website.