Date of Publication: 28 June 2022
This is the EPub version of Paul Malgrati's first collection, in the Scots langauge, Poèmes Écossais. Information and poems from the print book can be found here
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Hae ye luved in the wey that we luved,
at the birk, by a quirk o oor hert,
when the mirk o the gloamin had sprang
fae balustrades we swung, tween the firth
an the glacier that loomed upon us;
hae ye, o, hae ye luved in that wey,
in the wey that Ah mean, aboon men
an their siccar defeat, aboon luvers
an their bidie-in despair o dawn;
in the wey that Ah mean, at the birk,
when we cuidnae abide by this warld
an abolisht its pride in a drouth
o messiahs an kisses ayebidin;
afore fear, an the rain, an the fall?
Paul Malgrati’s debut collection, Poèmes Écossais, delves into history to reflect on deep connections between time zones, conquest and loss, resistance and slaughter, war and peace, love and heartbreak. The politics of the past find more than just apocalyptic echoes in the present. Malgrati is French, and this is the first ever poetry collection in Scots written by someone who is not a native speaker of either Scots or English. It’s a fluent, musical and lyrical collection of poems that touch both the mind and heart.
"The ‘Auld Alliance’ is delightfully reimagined in this witty and ambitious collection, written in Scots, with more than a smattering of French. Paul Malgrati's poems are both fresh and formally adventurous, addressing socio-political concerns with a contemporary directness. There is a lively diction, and a carefully tuned lyricism at work. These poems will go on rewarding the reader through many successive readings." – Kathleen Jamie
"All the more welcome for being utterly unexpected, this book fizzes with passion and intellectual risk. Writing in a Scots that is tinged with French and, on occasion, Gaelic, Paul Malgrati has produced a first collection that (to use a phrase from one of its poems) offers a unique ‘eldritch panache’." – Robert Crawford
eBook: Poèmes Écossais by Paul Malgrati
Wallace o Arc
A queer sonnet
At stake, in war-cried noons o quarters past,
they lure ma watch wi watergaw-bewasht
ambuish. Their huifs, aloof, entice the route
tae auld Orleans — yon drawbrig their moustached
satyr o maidenheid cuid force — an Ah
wad fain find them an ride alang, were Ah
nae feart tae hug their schiltron o horns.
Ah’ll bide here, syne, an let their beauty gang.
See —they rise up yet, wi eldritch panache.
Fantoush pastiche, their sonsie miracle
relichtens faith in ma patrol. Ah’ll bide
alert, ma watch awauken, nae fir faes
but ferlies queer; the likes Ah’d kill
tae keep in sicht, fir they’re the kythe o grace.
Poem inspired by Claude Debussy’s prelude, La
Cathédrale Engloutie (1910)
Ken that kirk in yer hert,
deep ablaw the yird o ye;
fathom an feel its organ
unner the quiet archivolt,
in the cranreuch o yer bairnheid,
when yer maw grinned at ye thro the haar,
ayont the firth an the tangible moor,
there, yonder, in the parlour,
where elders shivered o ayebidin wae,
afeart an childless
in the white een o divinity.
Can ye hear
their tears on the stained-glass,
their forte at the bottom o ye,
their drops in the font o yer beginnin?
Can ye hear
their prayers of no avail,
their weet feet on the triforium,
their sleekit moans in the manse?
Can ye hear?
syne slump alang an slip
ootside, atween the cauld bales o the nicht,
wi the goosebumps o yer thighs burstin
fir a truth, or a luver, or a star, or a cause,
or a young virtue,
or juist a quick daunder roon an roon the yaird
whaur yer neeboors bide, abide
an sleep sleep sleep
in wintry beddins.
Paul Malgrati is an award-winning poet and scholar from France, who first moved to Scotland in 2013. Between 2016 and 2019, Paul completed a Ph.D. thesis at the University of St Andrews, focussing on the political legacy of Robert Burns. This work led Paul to familiarise himself with the Scots language, which he went on to adopt as his chief poetic tongue. Paul’s first poems in Scots were published in various magazines, including Gutter, The Scores, Poetry Scotland, and The Poets’ Republic. In 2020, his manuscript was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize. The present volume, Poèmes Écossais, is an augmented version of this manuscript; it is Paul’s debut poetry collection.
Alongside poetry writing, Paul now works as a researcher at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Robert Burns Studies. His Ph.D. thesis, Robert Burns in Scottish Cultural Politics (1914-2014) is forthcoming as a monograph with Edinburgh University Press (2023). In 2021, Paul also published a French translation of Robert Crawford’s experimental, long poem, Curriculum Violette, for the Geneva-based Molecular Press.