Interlude: A Seasonal Song


As I write, it’s coming up to Hallowe’en, so I thought I’d compose a small ditty in honour of the occasion. This is, of course, written in deeply incomprehensible Scots – I did say I was a traditional songwriter! If you’re interested in the language, you might want to check out the Scots Online Dictionary

[I’ve provided a prose translation way down at the bottom!]

[And the recorded version is beneath the lyrics!]

Hallowe’en © Bob Leslie 2018

Midst stanes an banes an auld remainsbrownie
Whaur spaewives sip their barley bree
A brounie bous a lichtsome reel
An aa the fey folk cry wi glee
As thaim as oft oan cutty stool
Confesst an beggt redemption
Nou shaw nae shame as roond thae birl
Wi pairtners neither Law nor Kirk wid sanction

There’s horseshoes hingin oan the doors
Aa closed an barrt an lockit tight
As through the curtains drift their prayers
We’ll no come knockin thair the nighthorseshoe
Fir we’re the wans thit walk the Earth
Bit wance in ivvry cursit year
My pleasure ‘tis tae howl an scraic
An laugh at hou ye rin whan Ah draw near

We’ll whistle through yir letterboxghosts
And shriek oor curses doun yer lum
Yir bedroom doors, we’ll mak them creak
An fricht yir sowls tae Kingdom Come
An pey nae heed if ye should hear
Oor show is naucht bit bluffin
That we are only wind an air
Sound an fury, signifyin … nothin

It’s Hallowe’en, an we’ve risen from our gravesjack
Hallowe’en, the unshriven and unsaved
Hallowe’en, wan night we’re no Auld Satan’s slaves
Ivvry Jack O’Lantern sowl
That ivver robbt a beggin bowl
Is come tae Earth tae scare ye aa
On Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en © Bob Leslie 2018

Prose Translation (for those who roll not their “rrrr”s):

Amidst stones and bones and old remains
Where witches sip their whisky
A brownie bows a merry reel
And all the fairy folk cry with glee
As those who often on three-legged stool
[Scottish ministers used to make sinners stand on a small stool,
and would berate them in public for their sins]

Confessed and begged redemption
Now show no shame as round they twirl
With  partners neither Law nor Church would sanction

There’s horseshoes hanging on the doors
All closed and barred and locked-up tight
As through the curtains drift their prayers
We’ll not come knocking there tonight
For we’re the ones that walk the Earth
But once in every accursed year
My pleasure ‘tis to howl and screech
And laugh at how you run when I draw near

We’ll whistle through your letterbox
And shriek our curses down your chimney
Your bedroom doors, we’ll make them creak
An frighten your souls to Kingdom Come
And pay no heed if you should hear
Our show is naught but bluffing
That we are only wind and air
Sound and fury, signifying … nothing

It’s Hallowe’en, and we’ve risen from our graves
Hallowe’en, the unshriven and unsaved
Hallowe’en, one night we’re not Old Satan’s slaves
Every Jack O’Lantern soul
That ever robbed a begging bowl
Has come to Earth to scare you all
On Hallowe’en


Click for NEXT part!


Bob Leslie – Scottish – Traditional – Songwriter

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