The Abdication of Mary Queen of Scots

Tak ma croon, an dinna fash –
aa yon wis ower fur me lang syne.
Ye needna glaum at ma silk goon
wi yer coorse nieve – I’m nae threit;
I’ll sign yer muckle scroll, dae whit I maun,
past carin noo; thae last three days ma flesh
an saul hae wandert shores o hell-fire, dule an daith:
twa bairns I cradled in ma wame aa through the months,
sae douce, O Spring an Simmer, slippit cauld an stieve
intae the dowie air o Leven’s grey stane waas,
claucht frae ma jizzen, an burriet ootby, wi nae prayer,
fur aa I ken, an nae sang, twa scraps o heivin,
aa ma howp in their twin licht smoorit noo,
tho milk’s aye buckin frae ma breists unner ma lace an steys;
an I couldnae gie a fig fur yer fouterin laws,
sat there, scrieven yer Latin clatters o queens an kings –
O, I could run rings roon ilka yin o ye in Greek an aa,
as weel’s ma bonnie French, but ye’re naethin, naething noo,
jist ghaists; an, och, Mary, Mary Seton, last
o ma fower leal ladies, dinna waste yer tears
oan gien up a bittie gowd an glister haud ma airm
if it helps, but dinna, dinna greet fur this.

Gerda Stevenson
(August/October, 2014)