A Rhyme o' the times
Alex Sutherland, (1881-1935), "The Bard of Findochty"
  • A personal and rare insight into the effects of the years of the depression on fisher folk, written in 1932.
  • It's noo the twenty first o' Mairch nineteen thirty twa'
  • Simmer's comin' soon again and winter's gaun awa',
  • The birdies they are on the wing an' chirpin' at daylicht,
  • Busy makin' nesties when the sun is shinin' bricht.
  • They dinna ken the pressure o' this weary warl' o' oors,
  • The bees will get their honey in simmer frae the flo'ers.
  • But man must toil and sigh, trying to get ends to meet,
  • And if he canna pay his rent, he may land oot on the street.
  • O'er a' the warl' it is the same sad, doleful tale --
  • Bairnies noo for want, their cheekies turning pale,
  • They ken aboot the hens, they aften hear them cackle,
  • 'Tis seldom that they see an egg, aftener loaf an' treacle.
  • But we should aye be thankful an' keep a cheery smile
  • Thankful o' a living, though we canna mak' a pile.
  • For we've a' been provided for aftener than since,
  • And we prize an honest shilling tho' it's only brakin' stanes.
  • It's won'erfu' fit's turned up, a lot o' work there's been
  • The braes are lookin' bonny noo, richt ower tae Strathlene.
  • Last week I wandered ower there, a lot o' men I saw,
  • Makin' the greens a' ready for playing the golf ba'.
  • Strathlene Road is bonny if you come tae oor toon,
  • You'd hardly ken Finachty as you come walkin' doon,
  • The Stroop Waal rins as fresh and pure, mony a change has been
  • Since lassies cairried watter home especially by the meen.
  • Nature seemed to reign a queen in the days of yore
  • They cairried watter frae the waal an' fish up frae the shore.
  • Noo there's a tap in every hoose an' a'thing looking fine
  • There wasna near sae muckle debt wi' the al' mussel line.
  • Things hae gaen to sic a pitch we certainly maun own
  • We're very often oot o' change because we want the poun'.
  • An' what a great relief it's been the makin' o' the roads,
  • Stores gaun steady past the hoose every day in loads.
  • An' we wid seek tae gi'e oor thanks to a' oor magistrates
  • For mony an honest fisherman couldna pey his rates.
  • The fishing's been a failure, whatever could they have deen
  • Gin the local public bodies hadna come upon the scene.
  • An' they deserve great credit -- they've deen their very best
  • To try an' help the poor, the suffering and distressed.
  • We never saw the like, since ever fish had bones
  • Wha'ever thocht that we wid see the fishers brakin' stones.
  • We'd seek tae hae a thankful mind fitever wey things turn
  • It canna help the thing a bit though we begin to mourn.
  • There's ane abeen that kens oor needs whither big or sma'
  • An' withoot His ain permission a sparra' canna fa'.
  • A' things for the verra best, tho' I should hurl a barra'
  • Or tak' a turn at brakin' stanes or workin' in the quarry,
  • Like mony other fishermen it's nae for want o' savvy
  • But it's for want o' something else my "nom-de-plume" is `Navvy.'
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