Poem for the New Year

The Big Hooley

1st July 1999

In the Assembly Rooms the night,
people want tae dance, an celebrate.
The hall swirls tae the Fish Band,
kilts, skirts, troosers, shorts,
even the odd ball gown
twirlin an birlin in time tae the music
lik a shoal turnin as wan
in the ocean’s currents.

Ah’ve jist danced wi an MSP;
Hell, evrybuddy in the room huz,
an Ah’m thinkin ae the auld Edinburgh
n’how aw the classes
yaised tae live’n work’n eat
cheek bi jowl,
crammed alang the spine ae the auld toon,

n’Ah think ae ma sons
n’the rest ae their generation
doon in the Gerdens
listnin tae Shirley Manson an Garbage
n’Ah know they’ll be huvvin
jist as good a time as Am um,
n’An know they can ceilidh
wi the best ae thum,

furr this country isnae wan culture,
ur class,
wurr no wan generation,
ur gender,
wiv goat merr then wan language,
an strings tae wur bow,
wur each ai us bitsae awthings,
wi as many moods’n aspects
as the weather,

an as lang as we remember
tae celebrate that,
wull be fine.

By Nancy Somerville

Nancy Somerville is a Glaswegian by birth (1953), and lives and works in Edinburgh. “The Big Hooley”, part of a sequence ‘1st July 1999’, commenting on the first day of the new Scottish Parliament, also appeared in the anthology Edinburgh: An Intimate City (2000). I found this poem in “100 Favourite Scottish Poems”, and this was number 100. A Hooley at the end of the book. And I think it encapsulates the New Year Hooley too! May you all have a great New Year, a Hooley and beyond.

Isla Blair.