by yon bonnie banks&– maybe i find out one day

old decaying house in dumbarton/scotland

old decaying house in dumbarton/scotland


her english sounds like highlands
in the haze
with rays of cool sun brushing heather fields
and a wooly sheep’s black nose

she makes us tea
i’m frozen to the bones under my raincoat, fleece, two shirts&–
just before we left
i brushed my toenails red
despite the weather forecast

“sheperd’s pie” she says
“i make it for my sons still
when they visit on the weekends&–
my youngest lives in glasgow–”

i scratch marks
in a rock next to my knee to trace her words back
thin, snarled lines connect&
it’s our first night here in scotland

it’s been busy she says these last weeks,
that she’s been working nightshift
&i tell her we had fish&chips
in a small place by the loch
“you know that song by Runrig?”

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where me and tea tree my true love spent many days
Where the sun shines on Loch Lomond.
Ho mo leannan bhoidheach

“you can never swim in them” he says
“they’re too cold– they’re deep&–”

it is about roads&what we find
&driving on the left’s//an extra challenge

“gotta leave for work” she says
“make yourself at home”
i smile
“if we’re gone before you’re back– it was a pleasure meeting you”
the door clicks

&we’re in a new land that throws night’s–
“i swear he wears a kilt” i yawn
“the moon”
&i lean out to find him// hiding

in the wind’s cool breath



we’re writing Ruba’i and Rubáiyá at dVerse today…either as stand-alone or as part of a longer poem…doors open at 3pm EST…the part in italics is from the song “Loch Lomond” by the scottish band Runrig


31 responses to “by yon bonnie banks&– maybe i find out one day

  1. I love a moon wearing a kilt.. yes I’m sure about that. I’m sure you have captured that raw highland feeling scratched in the stone.. Love how you have glanced at the form and went free from that. 🙂 See you later tonight.

  2. Your poem certainly evokes Scotland. I lived and taught there for a year and it was often cold and rainy. Actually the first thing I bought was an umbrella although I find them very cumbersome, but it was this or getting drenched. I still loved my year there and went back a few times.

  3. So nice to meet good people on vacation. It sounds like a very wet place, yet charming and beautiful. I can just see the moon with a kilt. Hope your hubby bought one to wear for you. Glad you had a good time.

  4. Your poem takes me back to the times I was in Scotland. It seems you were at a B & B. I really enjoyed Scottish B & B’s in the far north and Orkney Island. Such hospitality and wonderful breakfasts! When you said that when the hostess left for work and told you to make yourself at home, it reminded me of the time my Scottish friend and I visited a small museum. We were the only visitors. The curator told us to look around as much as we wanted & when we left turn out the lights & shut the door. NEVER would that happen here. Smiles. I am glad you had such a nice time in Scotland!

  5. You must have had a wonderful time there…I want to go someday..loving the ‘woolly sheep’s black nose’ and highland haze!

  6. i like how you took a different approach and nested yours in verse…and what a cool trip to stay with people…i would have loved to meet all the different people that way…and would have been cool to be immersed in their home lives and learn about culture that way….very cool

  7. My English sounds like crap … my Danish does too by now … Polish? ha, at least I understand, my mumme swearing at me over the phone … Jiddish? … ya … no … Spanish … viva Cuba … sitting between so many chairs, C …

  8. I love listening to people from Scotland speaking. I read an entire novel (painfully at first) written as if it were in a Scotch brogue. A great story but yikes. I had to read aloud at time to hear it. A beautiful country–one of many I would love to visit.

  9. You know Scotland is my reincarnate home; so I’m envious of your visit there> I, too, love the way you ran with the form, not letting it impede you, giving us another outstanding heartfelt, soul-singing travelogue.

  10. Och when you seduce with words like this all effect is mesmerised……woops!! I meant to say magnified! See what I mean,, ye bonnie wee lassie! Really though, that was a good read. This is true verse to me. Real.

  11. Red polished toenails brightens ANY of dreary day,
    even though nobody can see them. And the moon helps also, hiding or not, wearing skirt…or not!

    …and of course, fish and chips. You cover everything in such a FUN way, Claudia

  12. I hope ye were in Fort William. The day I came down from Inverness to Fort William it was just coming on springtime and the beauty was orgasmic. I arrived about five p.m. and there was no train later. I found a b&b with the Old Took and his good wife. They regaled me with stories until midnight. It was still broad daylight, and then I took a walk on the moors feeling all Jane Eyre or something. They told me not to get lost. I did! At 1:30 a.m. there was still an ice cream truck playing its song and I got instructions back to their place. What a memory. And what a joy your bonnie poem – it took me back there!

  13. &we’re in a new land that throws night’s–
    “i swear he wears a kilt” i yawn

    A Scottish fare all nice and well. the Loch Lomond and all! Great write Claudia!


  14. I’m getting ready to paint my own toenails red…yes, sure does perk me up. And seeing the moon in a kilt would surely be a treat. Love this snippet of your travels, Claudia…you share your life so beautifully.

  15. I’ve had shepards pie following a rugby match in England so many years ago – big sheets of it, prepared by the host team’s mom’s and we feasted as only hungry young men can…. I also have heard the Scotts speak, and it’s a bit of an adventure – and we understand about as much as he wants us to understand.

  16. a wonderful sense of your dialogue and the multiple impressions of a visit. I have not been to scotland in a super long time-=and was there very briefly–would love to get back! k. (My husband does wear a kilt on occasion though.)

  17. “make yourself at home”…our heart longs to hear such voices in a foreign land and learn from it…all the words here have cozy warmth…lovely write Claudia..

  18. I like her English sounds in images and tea in the cold. I didn’t see the form, but after the first Stanza, I did not try to. My trip to Scotland has sketches too, encounters with culture and times to see it through my own. Lovely poem and sketch and moon in kilts.