Gregor Steele

Gregor Steele – When Scotty said “Scunner”

Ah wis at ma gran’s, we wir watchin Star Trek,
Ah dinnae mind much o the plot,
Whit cooried doon in ma heid yon nicht,
Wis a word frae Engineer Scott.

Licht years awa, in a strange new warld,
He cried a baddie a scunner,
And Ah gied a wee smile and ma grannie asked why,
Ah said, ‘It’s aboot twa thoosan three hunner’.

‘And dae ye really think they’ll be usin auld words,’
‘Like scunner and dreich and douce,’
‘And glaikit and dwam and fleg and stane,’
‘And cuddie and neb and hoose?’

And ma grannie thocht for a wee minute
And said

Ah dinnae sae ‘hoose’ because Ah cannae say ‘house’,
Af coorse Ah can, wha cannae?
It’s the name that Ah crie the place whaur Ah bide,
Like ma maw and ma paw and ma grannie.

And ma grannie’s gran and her grannie’s gran,
And her maw and her gran’s maw’s gran,
And her grannie’s gran, and her gran’s grannie’s gran,
And her gran’s grannie’s maw’s gran’s man.

And his maw’s paw’s gran and her grannie’s gran
And her grannie’s gran’s grannie’s gran’s maw,
And the fermers and priests and sodjers o the day,
And the kings and the queens and aa.

And Ah thocht for a wee minute
And said

Ah ken whit ye mean, these are aa braw words,
And they’re words Ah’m gonnae keep sayin,
And mibbe in time Ah’ll be merrit wi a hoose,
And Ah’ll pass these words tae ma wean.

And the words wull pass tae ma wean’s wean’s wean,
And their wean’s grandwean’s wean’s grandwean,
And their grandwean’s weans, and their wean’s grandweans,
And their freens weans if they’ve nane o their ain.

And their grandwean’s weans, and their wean’s grandweans,
And their grandwean’s grandweans and aa,
Richt up tae the time when Scotty is born,
In the year twinty-twa-twinty-twa

Sae gaun yersel, Montgomery Scott,
Stert up yon ship’s warp core,
Tae tak these words and gallus-lik gang,
Whaur nae words hae ganged afore.



Gregor Steele was born in Motherwell and grew up in Carluke. He is a highly acclaimed Scottish poet and prominent advocate for the celebration and better understanding of Scots language in Scotland’s schools. As a physicist and former teacher, Gregor also supports STEM education across Scotland.

Gregor’s poems can be found in Itchy-Coo’s collections, King o the Midden and Blethertoun Braes, and in the Scottish Poetry Library’s children’s anthology The Thing That Mattered Most.

His poems, including the much-loved ‘Mrs Nae Offence’ and ‘The pizzenous pet shop’, are hugely popular in classrooms across Scotland for their everyday language and immense humour.

<< Liz Lochhead