Past Life: St Ninian’s Isle

From Shetland Life, September 1986, No. 71

St Ninian’s Isle

When St Ninian cam ta Shetland, his gospel ta explain,
He brought his boat ta anchor in under da ‘Grey Stane,’
Abune da Houllan’ Bodrill St Ninian knelt ta pray,
An da skarf sat ipo Skarfataing – he’s sitting dere da day.

Now St Ninian hed a craftsman, artistically inclined,
And he made silver ornaments, traditionally designed;
But when he turned auld an blind, an coodna see tae wirk,
He yirded aa da silver by da altar o da Kirk.

Noo da skarf could tell dee better if he wid care ta say,
For he wis dere at Skarfataing. He’s sitting dere da day.
Noo da wind cam up fae easterly an tae wir shores did bring
Da muckle men wi light blue een dat wore da corbie’s wing;
An da auld Kirk o’ St Ninian’s into disuse did faa;
For yon men prayed ta Odin whan, and if, dey prayed at aa.

So as da years are passing by, ye maun understand,
Da auld Kirk mooted doon an doon, an wis buried in da sand.
Dan der cam an archaeologist, an students by da drove;
Dey hocked up auld St Ninian’s Kirk an hat da treasure trove.

An dan began a collishang, an everybody seeks,
For da true heir ta da belt buckle dat held up Ninian’s breeks.
Da Coort of Session wis brought in, an lawyers joined da fray;
An da skarf sits on Skarfataing – he’s sitting dere da day.

Noo da Picts an Celts an Vikings have made der mark an geen;
Da silver is da property o England’s gracious Queen;
But until da Angel Gabriel upon his horn does play –
Da skarf sits on Skarfataing for I saw him dere da day.

Lang Lowrie




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