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Muness Sixareens By William J. (Billy) Tait

Part 2 of 'A Hogmanay Sermon', by Billy Tait

Read By Brian Smith

Written after reading an account of a haaf-fishing incident in a 'New Shetlander' article by Captain W.S. Inkster.

Aald Jeemison's boat hed haled dir lines.                                    
His crew, his nain son een, nae mair as bairns.                             
Dey hedna muckle bait, bit da idder boats,
Da idder Muness boats hed mair as eneoch
An offered ta share. Bit na! Da aald boy said
He wantid nane, wis makkin fur da laand. Wi no
A bat oot o da lift, anunder oars, da lang                       
Fifteen sea-miles ta da Ham, dey rowed, an joest
As dey roondit Muness Ness shu cam doon smockin,                  
Liftin da spundrift. Hed he kent? Ahint him,           
Fifteen lang miles whaar air an watter melled                            
In spite an spaet, his neibours haled dir lines;
Six lines, wi da hale sea hurled aboot dir lugs
Laek a steekit mist; six lines coiled an stowed,                    
An ninety-five ling, eycht tusk, and six grit cod
Snuggit i da fish-room, fur dey boest hae weycht;      
Da sail closs-reefed an set, every man in his place,
Toh da blue shirk at booled laek a troot, as da boat
Heelded ower, closs-hauled on da starboard teck, mycht hae     
Fur his nycht's mooth-liftin mair nor cod, tusk or ling.            
Hed he kent? His crew wis young, his ain son among dem.
Dey kempit, da haaf skippers, an he wis an aald man.                
Cood he tell what he felt in his banes whin da oily calm
Seemed ta mirr in his een? Fifteen lang miles ta rowe
An his ain son i da boat, an aald man an faerd;
Faerd at dey laacht, faerd hit wis onnly his faer;
At da wash at sweed by da side wis onnly da demble           
O da boat hersel as da last ling lippered da gunwale.   
Fifteen lang miles ta rowe as da lift tickened,
An dan da lee o da Ness as da black swall strack.

If nane sleepit in Muness dat nycht, yit wis nae faer laek his.
Sood he a said? As da lycht cam up an da wind aised                        
An boats at wis nae boats glimmered an feddit i da ask;                      
As twa boats, sixareens, cam i sycht an stoed sae faar ta da norrard
At dey coodna be Muness boats, dey fell ta be Haraldsweek or Balty;
As da twa boats steyed at last ta da Nort o da Vere
An stoed ower fur da Ham, an fock gret on da beach
An stoed i da shoermil ta grip gunwale an ootstreecht haand; 
As Lowrie Gifford (What caad dey his boat?) gulbroeiled:            
‘Lasses, dunna tak da sea: we're aa here safe’-
What goed trow his mind? Laek waddir signs at wis nae signs,
Laek boats at wis nae boats, an laek mair furbye,
He keepit it till himsel.

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