Bield is a beautifully moving Scots language collection of poetry by Donald Adamson, featuring a mix of Donald’s original work and his translations from Finnish poets (Uuno Kailas, Eeva Kilpi, Eino Leino, Eeva-Liisa Manner, Lassi Nummi, Aale Tynni & Lauri Pohjanpää), all coalescing around ideas of home and shelter.
Donald Adamson is a poet and translator from Dumfries. He currently lives in Finland. He has translated Finnish poems for How to address the fog: Finnish poems 1978–2002 (Carcanet/Scottish Poetry Library, 2005), and A Landscape Blossoms Within Me, translations of the Finnish poet Eeva Kilpi (Arc Publications). His collection All Coming Back was recently published by Roncadora Publications. Donald has been a prizewinner in many poetry competitions, including first prize in the Herald Millennium Competition (Adjudicator Edwin Morgan), the 2017 Sangschaw Translation Competition for his translation of Lassi Nummi, and the 2020 Scottish Federation of Writers Competition for ‘The Sun Athort the Lift’.
“The poems in Bield are ones to savour, to linger in, to come back to again and again… meditations on every aspect of life, often from the long view at the hinner-end of life itself. These are beguiling, warm poems telling of life well lived, of childhood. ‘The Sun Athort the Lift’ has been a favourite of mine for a long time, that joyous poem of bairnhood, of family and freens, of love, of what is truly important to us humans. That life may be brief, but it’s still in essence like a braw hairst day, skinkles ower aathin / smilin, greetin, singin.”
– Sheila Templeton
Whan Yin o Us is Gane
Whan yin o us is gane
and the ither is grievin
and thir’s nocht on airth but the dreich watterie snocher
o a winter’s day
wi its sypins o mirk and dule frae first hauf-licht
– A’m wunnerin if aiblains we cuid ettle
tae whisper unco quate
and exchynge oor news
throu yon curtain, as fowk caa it?
Gin thir is sic a thing. And gin thir is onythin ahin it.
We’d blether o ilkaday maiters as we dae noo
whan yin o us is in the kintrae
or in anither toon –
somebody’s written tae the paper, hud a baby,
got divorced, got mairied, hus dee’d,
come oot wi haivers. Yon flooer we got last Christmas
isnae daein sae weel. The hoose needs reddin-up
but it’s haurd to get roon tae it. And hou are the boys?
A dinnae ken whit the ithir wuid say, willnae imaigine it.
A question or a gruntlin wuid dae fine
like whan yin o us is hauf asleep and says
oh aye? really? – keep talkin – aye A’m listenin,
A’m juist restin ma een a bittie…
(Syne for ordinar ye faa asleep
nae later than mid-wey throu the neist sentence.)
– Nae doot it wuid be aginst the rules. But gin we tak tent
and cheep sae quate naebody can hear us
– aiblains it’ll no bother onybody this side or yon side,
in they smaa chaummers or yon muckle mansions?
The rain breathes saft as it straiks the airth.
The wind’s hauf-souchin. The brainches and curtains are reeshlin,
the daurkness dreeps frae brainch tae brainch.
The watter alang the rones
is aa the time murmlin and gurglin
and shairly atween aa they souns
oor twae voices
can slidder throu, oor wheesht whisperins.
– frae the Finnish o Lassi Nummi, translated by Donald Adamson