Rab Wilson

A Newsin Wi Jack Aitken – Rab Wilson


‘Now is my wark all fynist and compleit;
Quham Jovis ire, nor fyris byrnand heit.
Nor trynschand swerd sal deface, and doun thryng,
Nor lang proces of age, consumis all thyng.’

– Gavin Douglas, The Conclusione Of This Buik Of Eneados.


Ah’ll neist ye sit Jack, ease ma shanks,
Hae a bit newsin, tae gie oor thenks,
Fir syne ye left there’s ploys an pranks,
A rake tae tell,
An monies a spate’s gang doun the stank,
Plain truth tae tell…

Your praise an fawm is richtly sung,
Thon priceless peg yer coat wis hung,
The Dictionar o the Auld Scots Tung,
An seeds ye’ve sown,
Tae satellites in space faur-flung,
Gang whummlin oan…

A hunner year syne ye wir born,
The prented page, nou auld an worn,
Hus bin replaced, but dinnae mourn
We’ve cowpt yer bine,
The DSL is faur frae gone –
It’s nou ONLINE!

An we’ve a fantoosh team tae hain,
Ilk auld Scots wird, they store an sain,
An eidently provide a hame,
Fir oor prood leid,
Sae nou the warld wide wab proclaims,
Scots wirds – a screed!

We’ve Rhona Alcorn, oor CEO,
In raisin funds she isnae slaw,
An organising tae, she’s no
Nae idleset,
Oor daily darg she lets us know;
Ilk target met!

Eileen Finlayson’s bin wi us,
Syne Bill Gates uised an Abacus!
Faur-i-the-buik, meticulous,
A guidin licht,
Lays hairns asteep an ayewis aye,
She keeps us richt!

Pauline Speitel, Scots leid touchstone,
Thair nae dictionar she’s no warkt oan!
Her ‘Word o the Week’ the Herald’s shown,
Fir monies a year,
Oan traiveller’s speik she can depone,
Withooten peer!

Ann Ferguson’s heid, thrang wi projects!
She tinkers in ablow the bunnet,
Bleezin lik some digital comet,
Athort the lift,
Owre hauf a million online comments,
An quotes tae sift!

Then we’ve Pauline Graham, ‘The Bairn’!
Up fir the challenge, she’s no carin,
Oor ‘Clerk o Works’, the darg she’s sharin,
As weel’s she’s able,
But dinnae daur tae gang a-tearin,
Her time-table!

Lynn Craig’s the orra oaffice clerk,
Accounts, payroll, an siclike wark,
Tae pey oor bills she’d pawn yer sark,
Gin she’d nae choices,
Sae Friday, fore ye lowse the darg,
Keep mind, invoices!

Oor seed-corn nou, Roslyn an Grace,
New flown the nest, an fair o face,
They ‘Tweet’ oan ilka online space,
Instagram an Zoom…
These Sorcerer’s Apprentices chase,
Ilk ‘bit’ o info doun!

Sae Jack, auld frien, ye’ve nocht tae fear,
Oor online DOST racks up ilk year,
Three quarter million quotes, it’s clear,
Oor omnigaddrum
Inhauds aathing that you held dear,
An aiblins then some…!

An ae mair thing we hae tae cheer,
In this Jack, your wan hundredth year,
That samen date that you cam here,
Syne throu the yett then,
Great-grandson Orion Jack appears,
A new Jack Aitken!

Wha’ll aiblins gaird fir Scotland’s folk,
Siclike when ye taen up the yoke,
Thon baton heize an tak the troke,
Oor greatest treasuir,
A price ayont the Ruby’s stock,
Abune aa measuir…

Fir you Jack, true in wird an deed,
Made siccar we’d ne’er tint oor leid,
Ye’ve borne the gree an did succeed,
Wi hummle mien,
A legacy Scotland ne’er shall cede,
Sleep soun, ma frien…!


Rab Wilson hails from the Ayrshire village of New Cumnock. His published work includes his Scots version of The Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam, and three collections of his own poetry ‘chiefly in the Scots language’.

Rab collaborated with the artist Hugh Bryden in adaptations of Horace’s satires in Scots, and with Calum Colvin in a book of responses to Robert Burns. He has edited an anthology of contemporary poetry from Dumfries and Galloway writers, and written a series of poems as the first James Hogg Creative Resident.

Ayrshire is traditionally associated with both West Central Scots and South Central Scots, two parts of the Central Scots dialect continuum. Rab is a native of the intersection of these two dialects areas.




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