Fire-Sang Cycle

Shetland and Rajastan 

Da first notes

A göd paet bank is een                                A göd hoose has
wi deep moor, a third paet                           aroond da door,  
plenty blue at da boddom,                           twartree buffalo
nae horse-fleysh ta speak o,                       for lassi, for mylk
a dry hill for kerryin,                                       an for sharn.  Forbye,
an a loch tae guddle in.                                dey’ll poo da ploo.

Da wye gifts lie aroond wir feet,
maistlins we foryet ta luik.

Finnin da harmony 

Ripper an flayer,                                             Hent aa da sharn,
rhythm o tushkar,                                           tagelia head-high,
pattern o paetbank;                                        mix hit wi strae,
wind wark an sun wark.                                 flatsh da uple;
Raise dem an roug dem,                              lay dem ta dry,
borrow foo, kishie foo,                                   raise dem an roug dem;
hurl dem, rin wi dem,                                     lift dem an kerry dem,
a saeson’s wark half dön.                             a saeson’s wark half dön.

Da wye wark sings i wir blöd,
but we dunna lik hit’s tön.

Makkin da sang

Da wye da steid is set,                                   Da steid set richt, uple biggit,
da waa biggit, clods shöled,                         raa apön raa, dis wye an dat wye,
haert bluest an best,                                       peerie roond biggins, shooder heich,
trim tae da tap; a faelly röf.                            da taps graftit aff.  Fine an dry.

Da wye a faemly is beelt,
shapit, shaltered, luikit tae.

Completin da sang cycle

I da greff, faels                                                Twartree uple for da fire,
an skyumpies laid                                          da ess for cleanin, dan
sae dey can bed doon                                   whit’s owre höved back
inta new laand;                                                tae da göd aert.

Da wye we come inta dis wirld,
ös hit an, tipperin, laeve hit.

lassi – yoghurt
tagelia (plural of tageli): multi-purpose metal basins usually carried on the head
uple: (plural of upla): fuel pats made from dung and straw


Fire  – Sang Cycle (English version)

Shetland and Rajastan

The first notes

A good peat bank is one                                A good house has
with deep moor, a third layer,                        around the door,  
plenty blue at the bottom,                              a few buffalo
no rough woody bits to speak of,                 for lassi, for milk,
a dry hill for carrying,                                      and for manure.  Besides that,
and a loch to guddle in.                                 they’ll pull the plough.

The way gifts lie around our feet,
mostly we forget to look.

Finding the harmony

Ripper and flayer,                                            Gather all the dung,
rhythm of tushkar,                                            tagelia head-high,
pattern of peatbank;                                        mix it with straw,
wind work and sun work.                               flatten the uple;
Raise them and mound them,                      lay them to dry,
barrow full, basket full,                                    raise them and mound them;
trundle them, run with them,                          lift them and carry them,
a season’s work half done.                           a season’s work half done.

The way it sings in our blood,
but we don’t like its tune.

Making the song

The way the foundation is set,                      The foundation set well, uple built,
The wall built, clods shovelled,                     row on row, this way and that way,
heart bluest and best,                                     little round structures, shoulder high,
trim to the to; a thick turf roof.                         the tops grafted off.  Fine and dry.

The way a family is built,
shaped, sheltered, looked after.

Completing the cycle

In the basal ditch, turfs                                  A few uple for the fire,
and end pieces laid                                       ash for cleaning, then
so they can bed down                                    what’s over heaved back
into new land.                                                  to the good earth.

The way we come into this world,
use it and, tip-toeing, leave it.


© Christine de Luca 2009

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