Man hit’s joost a braaly good example of Rhoda’s legacy

Dir are twa wirds dat immediately spring to my mind when I read or listen tae da late Rhoda Bulter’s poetry – da first een is “unique” and da second een is “irreplaceable”.

Unique becis of her amazing ability tae tak a handful o Shetland dialect wirds an fit dem tagidder lik interlockin pieces oa jigsaw puzzle creating da exact image in your mind’s eye dat she wanted you tae see. Da effect is almost lik turning on da television.

Irreplaceable becis for me – and I suspect a great mony idder Shetland poetry lovers – dir is nae idder body dat’s iver quite matched da sheer magic she could create wi wirds, pen an paper.

Noo wi hae anidder CD o Rhoda’s earlier wark tae listen tae an enjoy.

Caald Clods an’ Tinder is aa packaged up wi a boanie hamely picter on da front taen fae a paintin o her ain and it gies wis 21 o her poems written an recorded in da mid-70s dat cover a wide range o everyday topics, towts an human emotions – twa o dem never published afore.

I towt I kent aa Rhoda’s poetry pretty weel but dis CD has shown me dat dir wir twatree I’d just skimmed ower an shoulda paid mair attention.

Particular favourites for me are Da Sea, Da Clearance an Psalm 46 Verse 10. A prime example o her expressiveness comes in Da Sea whan she wrote: Bit sood da wind be coorse wi’ dee, An’ da lift be gray and tirn Du can bare dee teeth lik’ a biting dug An’ frush, and spit and grin. Simple wirds set tagidder. Effective? No half! Or in Da Clearance, after setting out da picter o happy families haein dir lives wrecked an destroyed by da greed o da landlords she sums it up perfectly – “tell me, wis it wirt it aa fur twatree extra sheep”.

A self-confessed addict, I hae a fairly wide collection o Shetland poetry published ower da years by various talented writers dat I read, recite and love, but I aften windered joost whit it is dat always draas me back, like a magnet, tae Rhoda’s work.

I fin it difficult tae explain even tae mesel bit I think hit has tae be da sheer simplicity o da wirds she used an da sophisticated way she pit dem tagidder so dat dey have da desired effect everytime.

Dis CD is a kist fu o peerie jewels, dip your hand inside an I assure you dat you’ll fin something dat appeals tae you.

A lot o folk, mesel included, regularly recites Rhoda’s poems but der nane o wis dat could iver say dem lik she could, an dat in itsel is a big pairt of da beauty o dis CD – tae hear da verses said as dey wir meant tae be said.

I’ll finish dis peerie review by expressing my thanks tae Rhoda’s family for publishin Caald Clods an’ Tinder, no just for wis dat kent her, but for da younger generations dat never had da privilege. Noo dey, lik wis, can share in da winderful legacy she left ahint her.

Ivy Cluness


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