THE FIRST SWALLOW
An’ so ye’re got back wi’ yer coat sleek as any,
Its tail like our evenin’ dress split doon the en’;
Yer een like twa dimond stars twinklin’ sae bonnie,
Aye mak’ ye at hame tho’ ye flit noo an’ then.
Ye’ll mind hoo last year ‘neath the bennermost rafter,
The clabber ye stuck up in nebfus saw wee,
Ye’ll also remember that very soon after,
Ye skirrl’t at the looks o’ the pussie an’ me.
The needfu’ wee throughban’ sae narrowly soucht for,
Ye-mixt wi’ the morter tae haud it in shape,
The bite for the wee yins ye eydently wroucht for,
An’ fill’t ilka mou’ as it upward did gape.
Hoo anxious oor watch lest some tripper or harrow,
A clear pad shud lee for the pussie tae tak,
A maraudin’ excursion ‘mang wren’s wane or sparrow,
But especially yours in a string at the bauck.
Yet whun the daisy its red fringe wus showin’,
An’ beauty gaun gyte frae the bloom o’ the pea,
Yer sang frae the riggin’ seem’t “let us be going,
Your spring days wull fade but they’re lastin’ wi’ me.”
Then biddin’ farewell tae ilk hamely surroundin’,
Hoo quickly ye mobilized under a wheen,
At the word o’ advance it was fairly astoundin’,
Tae witness yer flight frae oor wee isle sae green.
Noo as ye’re got hame wont ye tell me a story,
What news frae the Pyrenees, Italy, or Spain,
Wull Auld Britain suffer hir ancient-day glory,
Tae dwine at the blink o’ a Kruger or Steyn.
The wee birdie flapp’t its blue wing on the cipple,
Disdain roon its bricht e’e at yinst did appear;
Wi’ men like George White be they soople or cripple,
For Hearth Queen an’ Sirelan’s dinna ye fear.
Then takin’a look at his auld habitation,
Sae clearly suggestive – neglect has its sting,
He turn’t him awa frae the cares o’ the nation,
Intent on observing the dictates o’ spring.
Cullybackey Auld Nummer, 28th April 1900