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The Night Tam Danced, with Domhnull Dubh, The Devil ©

Shaw o' Inchrory
Cheshire, England
2007

Ah, moon full-face a favour seemed
across fresh stooked fields, it gleamed
whit mercurial sees a mystery sent
frae silvered scenes o fresh assent.

Where darkness wid auld Satan seem
gie man his wilder means esteem
tae see such caudles o his thoughts
as weil skelped dug, its howl allots.

Fer man hae mony pleasures so
whit sins he reap be barley's mow
ambrosia's fer aye a steeped feat
a malted sin none sic compete
tae gie a gift aye wonder's mind
whit dram wid malt fine goodness find
an frae its amber heart declare
great words aye mien a promise share.

Whit words indeed a whispered run
tae gie Aesopian its ain and fabled fun
affused by waters crystal clear
whit minded sense afferent fear
that like a minded bogles o the night
dae mair than gie the inner sense affright.

Ah! wee timorous an cowering beastie
whit heart wid Burn's beat in thy breasty
if he did nae frae his noble pen a feastie
an lay his words wie wits ain form aright.

Scylla chevisance does it a char
that would as others are by far
what lesser be man's ain abyss
in such a kenning his Charybis
that bends ere tae the ca o men
and tae his mind's ain reasoned mort
to look sic Devil in the een, again
and see whit sense his deeds disport.

Hame's hearth it glowed a burning bright
whit chafing dish be coals contrite
sair tempted Tam tae taste his token
his pot fair stilled by rights unbroken
fer man's ain game o hide an seek
it seems to him sae rightly
gied ne er a hope tae gauger's task
and miseries their making maistly.

That would of day's ain woe and weal
gives carefree billies comfort's feel
tae face thae ministered bogle's night
with laughters song and thing's nae right.

Man heeds thae scolds of chantry's scorn
wi all the trysts o self ain takings torn
that would with skeft their conscience prick
in polemic thought its past a proven trick

Belie they tears o alcohol and its ain timed remorse
that wid of its ain truer spiel in wilful ways recourse
beyond that of which man's mind it progress find
in all his dreaded truths combined yet ne'er defined
without his ain a trundled hope in hell tae fit aye
gearran's bridle ere sae well or hitch they hames
that are sic cretur cost that man sae seemingly
had by spiteful nature's unforgiving state aye lost
when needs heed brings forth aye bigger horse
tae champ on snaffle bit's ain-sensed discourse.

Well shone thae lights of waxing lune
tae jostle fair a fallow's broon
whit witch in wilful play would dare
her gleeful glides through autumn's air.

Och! Harvest moon how bright ye shine
when time itsel ne'er heeds design
as night owls screech and bats do play
man aff tae hame frae work's lang day.

There Tam, about to taste his nightly
saw glebe's ain stranger by the yett
mirk suit and a that goes so quietly
with thae that wid sae, meet their sett.

Could I be curchie help mell's Tam
to brankie's a grave be-suited gent
be fair grateful swears he fer a dram
as befits Caledon and breath's assent.

A great wishty fools we Celtic's are
that would with whisky's needs go far
what man has Scotia ever bred
that steps a path ne'er ferris led.

Tam gars jee his kail-yard gate
shakes stranger firmly by the hand
felt from a squeeze and quioted state
man's mien o truth mean's welcome stand.

Come awa and sit ye by a roarin fire
said Tam with unco mirth and glee
fer surely you'll hae sic desire
whilst me hae ye fer company.

Fer I hae nae a wifie noo
tae gie us grief and storm
my hame be jist a barren coo
but as welcoming and warm.

Fer I so sure o Ferintosh and its ain barley's bree
of groanin maut, thae's other minds
and whisky's still set free
that fyke's a man tae haud his gob
there gleede's the fire o glaiket's hob
for gathering brows, well gather storms
what wills it fair from female norms
for we be well blessed on our own
what answer's past and part's atone.

As Tam walked he on cobbles path
what wisdoms would his hearings wrath
he heard well aye that clicked sound
when devil's telling hooves abound.

Tam's eyes popped oot like organ stops
sweat ran aff his brow in meikle drops
wis sure his heart had missed a beat
causation's care frae twa cleft feet.

Yet Tam ne'er flinched or gied alarm
he gave ne'er thought tae creature's harm
what death ye die ye die but once
with dying needs, there's nae nascence.

Truly, Tam wis fit fer ony task
pours he grave guest a muckle malt
Black Don if I may sober ask
wis I feck in ither ways a fault.

Don said advise a worry's frae yer heid
it'll be lang-time afor yer sel be deid
I call's, but for a friendly chat ye see
with poor regard tae pouther's glee.

Soon night's talk it turned tae quite convivial
as in the aughtlins of this and that
in hangings of such a thiefdom's trivial.
bane's Bishop for killing his ain brat.

Yin mither demented by her grief
cried out tae God tae show her grace
man's buttock hire be sad relief
whilst Saviour's will pleads holy place.

Priest's hearts they be as riven stone
decried her pleas as nae their own
fornication's sin ne'er seek a brief
lest licence seen be righteous thief.

Fer a the poor wee bairn it lay
upon its crib of puddled clay
where frae yon mite's unholy lare
nae sight o God in grace tae share.

Whit man o God could draw sich blood
when he ere preaching ithers guid
would take himsel a devil's cause
tae break a bond o nature's laws.

Malt flowing fine it verses nicely
they ne'er gave time much o a glance
Nick askin Tam if he were sprightly
his sel fancying a wee bit o a dance.

Tam replied he wis to dancing born
let they gushie fiddlers play a night
care not it be from pipe or chanter torn
fer my louper feet they be sae light
they will surely step till sun's ain morn.

Tam lets aye dulcet tones o whisky sing
an frae a Celtic heart wid cosmos bring.

Whiles I can wear my dancing shoes
wi buckles bright and well-bred trews
Tam tapped his foot, and said hooray
at a start, o the hoories mornin.

Tam fetched his dancing shoes a ben
they polished shone a silvered then
fer seen ne'er sae such stocking's craft
tae fit Tam's muckle twa posted haft.

Fer aye the wifie went awa
she could nae me abide at aw
fer ither lassies they did ca
and we drank tae early morning.

Why I can go and I see high as a cry o a lady
lift yer heel and point yer toe elbows in an aff we go
gowff the hands and gowff them well
grind yer haich so it may tell.
tak the lassie doon the line spin her round so she'll be fine
let yer dancing steps begin at the hause o 'a Celigh's mornin.

Slainte! my friend, my worthy cheild metier
Black Donald cried in loud joviality
whit gift ye gie tae man and o ye gie tae me
I wid fer honours sake my ither kith so see
I'll tak yer fer a scene's delight
you'll dance with witches as yer right.

So let's be aft tae Kirk's grey stone
fer carlin's breef be there a night
a fairin's fresh I'll mak my throne
until a breakin o morns uncouthly light.

Sae aff they went full o whisky's charm
stepping out a gleesome drunken jig
stopping curiously by gallows arm
where hung Joe for stealing o a pig.

Alangside swung a purple Bishop
still dressed in his fancy frock
whit foolishness yet finery yawp
when ither widdies hunkers mock

God gies himsel thae's looks o drear distain
when one sees o power and purpose pain.
and there wis jist poor one eyed Jock
owing tae slight mistake o ither's stock
what blindness caws thae's devils glean
when flanked his ain wee poison Jean.

Weil Black Donald wis in drear moments
as he gave each yin wee bits o a twirl
bane's bishop heard nae the comments
aff purple scowl suiting him it seems sae well.

Nearby the old church ruins stood gaping
as to what moments it could tell
whilst religious fought religion; aping
truth where true victors went tae hell.

Fer there was a the minister's moanin
and minds great muckle groan
when man believes by brimstone words
life's lasting sense propone
that earth's last darkling dreary;
its ain lodgin's set nae sae bright
where Apollyon waits doom's lustre dwine
and man's a facile thoughts o right

Fer heed now comes the cantraip hour
Tam surveyed sae calm the ghostly glour
fires sprang sae fierce like Elmo's scene
as green wrapt wraiths cursed words gallein
paired they like twa twins o Castor's Pollux
they shone bright as fish and times late lummox.

Hoodie craws and ravens flitted
dark across the starlight sky
as in the yellow glows of nature
a cawing funeral passed way by.

Ach whit omens cried a thae witches
and o they black warlocks did agree
we'll hae him o'er that fearsome pit
tae roast, like thae Christians did tae we.

Black Nick was having none of it
as he put they witches a tae right
Tam was he said an honoured guest
there he tae dance away the night.

Soon night's music wis fast and furious
with such great squeals o melodious mirth
as Tam danced a horn pipe curious
sad sowthin, o five sailors's drowned in firth.

Soon coffins they were a rattling
as bared bones joined they, a melody
and Hornies's hooves they be a flashing
on top o times lang syne clergy.

Fer warlocks raved in fits hilarious,
wee banshees took up demonic squeals
Aurora flashed its skies most gracious
in time tae Strathspeys and wild Scot's reels.

An aged Kirk groaned it in pleasure
whilst its gargoyles grinned in glee
at such sight of God's accuser
and the force tae set his warlocks free.

Fer the lightning flashed in sizzling fury
it cleaved but the auld oak tree in twa
in the sulphured stench of man's bestiality
blood ran red as ony hawthorn's haw.

For the night was darkly mysterious
yet the scene was bright as day
where ghosts of man's mere previous
gave them the devil's kin at play.

Where old Hornie struts tae his ain structure
he bides all nature's beasties tae obey
till in them makins o man's ain nature
they dae what ever he does say.

But truly, Tam could ne'er be beaten
he was by far the fastest o the two
as he showed them a his antecedent
in flashing silver buckles o his shoe.

Tam danced with a the witches
one tooth Meg he took a chance
for she wanted aff his britches
tae gie his posture bester's stance.

But a farmyard cockerel crowing
heralded but beckoning o the dawn
as with its first lights now breaking
thae witches a tae their beds were gone.

And Tam with red an bleary eyes
observes so a dawning o the day
he found that much tae his surprise
his hair had turned a purest grey
wie appendage grown tae such a size
Meg must hae surely had her way.

For my Jo my lass what hither's gone
nae ithers noo wid-scanting scorn
what pleasures waits in nights agreed
when Tam himsel nods his grey heid
fer love it seems taks many form
what would we give if it perform
an seeks no sides of its agree
it ne'er meant it were for me.



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