Margaret Grant (nee McWilliam) was born in Kinnoir in 1938 and is the eldest daughter of Willie and Helen McWilliam who are featured here on this site.
A retired Law Accountant, she attended Kinnoir School and The Gordon Schools, Huntly. She has had three books of Doric verse published,
Jist for a Lauch in 1999
Anither Keckle in 2003,
In 2008, a third book of Humourous Doric Verse (The Last Lauch) was published.
Her works have also appeared in print in The Leopard
Margaret is a keen observer of country life and her poetry reflects this insightful
(An example of her works can be read here (The 90th Birthday Poem - a poem dedicated to her Father, Mr Willie McWilliam)
Her Doric Verse is rightly admired across the North East of Scotland and wherever Doric speakers find themselves.
In 2013, Margaret was appointed the Makar of Huntly by the Huntly Writers (an association of authors, poets and essayists with links to Huntly) http://www.huntlywriters.co.uk/
The title of “Makar” or “Makaar” is term from old Scots literature for a poet or bard and conveys a great honour on the holder of the title. Read more about the Makars here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makar
Margaret continues to take a keen interest in literature and is an active member of the Huntly Writers.
One of Margaret’s favourite Doric poems is “SLOW AIR” reproduced below - a tale of human talent stimulating strong emotions as well as creating music from an old fiddle.
It cam fae a roup wi a pucklie o trock
A feow lugless cuppies, an aul farrant knock
But a lickie o varnish, a dabbie o glue
Fower strings an that fiddle wis gey near like new
Fae a lad that cwid play he’d a lesson or twa
Seen maistert his scales as he scraipit awa
Practised at nicht fingers dirlin an sair
Wi jist ae ambition, tae learn a slow air
Inspired by the maestros like Skinner an Gow
He gaed intil a dwam when he raxed for his bow
“The Conundrum”, “High Level”, “The Laird O Drumblair”
Syne “Aul Robin Gray”, his favourite slow air
Strong, sensitive fingers caressin a string
Grace notes sae sweet garrt the aul fiddle sing
Nae lieder by Schubert his senses cwid ser
Like the moumfu lament o a weel played slow air
But jints turn stiff, aul age comes till’s aa
He’d tae lay doon the bow, pit the rossit awa
A sad sicht wis yon, near some much tae bear
The callused aul fingers, the hinmaist slow air
In the order o things the young hiv their place
Tae the next generation he boo’t wi gweed grace
An the likes o Paul Anderson, wi pathos an flair
Moved an aul man tae tears wi mony a slow air
As they lowered him doon in a bonny lythe neuk
The quaet, wi reverence, the minister brook
“Earth tae earth, dust tae dust”, ower the words o the prayer
Faint cam the strains o a hauntin slow air
By Tashalia Nichole Meyers- Wikipedia Commons
One of the duties of the Makar is to produce poems that reflect current events and Margaret Grant has not disappointed in this regard. Reproduced below is a poem she wrote to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The poem was inspired by letters sent by Margaret’s uncle, Corporal John McWilliam of the Gordon Highlanders, to his mother. Sadly John fell at Ypres.
Dear Mither here’s a twa-three lines
fae somewye ower in France
Far the Kaiser and his cohorts
hiv led us a merry dance.
I cwidna wyte tae dicht the dubs
o Scotland fae my beets
but in this God-forsaken howe
they’re hine up ower my queets.
The trenches crawl wi vermin
ye nivver saw sic rats
an there’s flechs the size o gollachs
bite bitin throu my spats.
I ken I scunnert at the hyow
or stookin in the rain
but if I get oot o this place hale
I’ll nivver girn again.
For the green parks o Strathbogie
wid be like heaven to me
oh Mither, foo I wish I cwid
come hame an tak a fee.
Foo’s abody deein on the craft
his Faither aye yon host?
I hear Dod Smith has copped it
his fowk’ll be gey lost.
An fit aboot the young eens
has Maggie got a place?
hank God Bill’s nae aul eneuch
tae face fit I’ve tae face.
That’s aa I hiv tae say for noo
but this war will seen be won
dinna worry, Mither, I’ll be fine
Fae John, yer lovin son.
100th Anniversary of First World War Tribute