O Wha's the Bride?


O wha's the bride that carries the bunch
O' thistles blinterin' white?
Her cuckold bridegroom little dreids
What he sall ken this nicht.

For closer than gudeman can come
And closer to'r than hersel',
Wha didna need her maidenheid
Has wrocht his purpose fell.

O wha's been here afore me, lass,
And hoo did he get in?
–A man that deed or was I born
This evil thing has din.

And left, as it were on a corpse,
Your maidenheid to me?
–Nae lass, gudeman, sin' Time began
‘S hed ony mair to g'e.

But I can gi'e ye kindness, lad,
And a pair o' willin' hands,
And you sall ha'e my breists like stars,
My limbs like willow wands.

And on my lips ye'll heed nae mair,
And in my hair forget,
The seed o' a' the men that in
My virgin womb ha'e met . . . .


Hugh MacDiarmid, Complete Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid, Carcanet Press, 1993.