Am Brùnaidh/The Brownie

By Anna Frater, @@

Am Brùnaidh


Dè an aois a bhithinn –
               seachd, no ochd bliadhna dh’aois?
A’ seasamh dìreach
nam fhroca dhonn
               le crios ùr leathar mum mheadhan
               agus taidh bhuidhe mum amhaich
                               a’ feitheamh ri bràiste.


Cha robh agam ach ri na bòidean a ghabhail
gus an t-seamrag airgid a chosnadh.


A’ togail mo làimhe deise.
Òrdag agus lùdag paisgte nam bhois
na trì meòir eile air an cumail suas
agus mi a’ tòiseachadh…


“I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God”


Ach an uairsin
nuair a bha agam ri gealltainn
           dìlseachd
do bhanrigh anns nach robh mi a’ creidsinn,
bha corragan mo làimhe clì
rim dhruim


      a’ dèanamh breug de m’ fhacail.



 The Brownie 


What age would I have been –
               seven, or eight years old?
Standing straight
in my brown frock
               with a new leather belt round my waist
               and a yellow tie round my neck
                               waiting for a brooch 


All I had to do was take my vows
to earn the silver shamrock.


Raising my right hand.
Thumb and little finger crossed in my palm
the three other fingers held up
as I began…


“I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God”


But then
when I had to promise
           loyalty
to a queen I didn’t believe in,
the fingers of my left hand
behind my back


           gave the lie to my words.


childhood rebellion, brownies