Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

A while back I mentioned that I intended to start posting some of my own poetry, and possibly, some of my doodles to the blog. I have finally managed to do both: to whit, a poem I worked on last week, and have written up in brown ink with an illustration I made to go along with it:

Before Battle

Laird, thwarld is unco fair
Sae deep th’ blue, uncloody sky.
Was it on sic a day as this
Ye went oot, sodger-like tae die?

“Piper, mak ready – then by yer mark!”
Up swing th’ pipes tae ma shoudder.
Did birds sing as Ye shoudderit Yer Cross
An’ marchit tae a captain’s order?

Yer Cross I sign upon masel
O! Gie the grace o’ bravery!
Bless th’ war-pipes tae thficht.
(Did poppies bloom on Calvary?)

Bless ma fingers tae the pipin’.
Gie a stout heirt an’ sturdy breath
Tae follaw an’ dae manfully,
Though I pipe in the shadaws o’ death

“Piper, tak them ower th’ top!”
I gae oot wi’ pipes a-blaw.
Was e’re Eard sae heirt-brackin’ sweet,
Or music sae rantin’-braw?

A bit of back-history, for those who are wondering: during WWI, Scottish regiments were frequently led over the top by their pipers, whose tunes (now known collectively as tunes of glory) were particular to the regiment, and to Scottish - as opposed to British -patriotism. Since there is a tradition of prayerful before-action poems, I thought it would be interesting to write one from the viewpoint of a piper, hence the borrowing of Scots words and spellings.

The picture, like most of my art, is not much more than a doodle. I seem to be completely unable to create a picture of any great size. This one is about the size of a postcard, and the idea in the back of my mind was to make something along the lines of the bits of art soldiers of the two world wars, seemed to produce in remarkable quantities. Incidentally, although I have played around with watercolours for years, this is the first time I have actually used a decent sheet of watercolour paper for the exercise… It was absolutely delightful, and made painting so much easier. I do believe that I have permanently spoiled with it.


drgieser said...

Wow Marhi! That is very stirring...I even could read the Scotish style of writing! Great job with water colors too! Never can have too many addictions, eh?

Teresa said...

Brilliant, Mahri. :)

Molly said...


Mahri said...

Thanks! You are all very kind.