The Dumfoonert Loon

There’s Naebody noo in the glen – lang since dwine’t awa.
Dwine’t awa an deid.

Littlins lachter, sing-sang, chirm and diddle
As sailent noo as the shuttered plaid o’ Bovagli’.
An the reevin win nae langer cairit the waxin’ lyrical
o’ Camlet’s auld Minaister.

Aye noo the furtive brow belongs tae this dumfoonert loon:
raikin roond folk gan ah so lang –
an caa’d a’ the same as ane anither!

Noo wi’ Camlet ane cud dibber-dabber faireveer:
Aibergeeldie nae that’s fa sure – but fit loon?

Peter wis it yir namsak?
Ah, cud you be sure – I doot that!
Aye I doot that – they were inextricable – did ye nae oonerstan!
Surely no!!

Cud bleeter a’ day – jist like the Camlet folk a the’ day
Til the Sma stills smacked afrontit
an Girnoc touns drapped an rouped til a’ but scaitered rickles.
Left salient; but fa the wheeblin an fusperin of the hameward win!
Aye hameward.

The hieland Clearance ah richt –
Still Girnoc’s stamack wis wachty lang afore.
Dooble liveliheids: fairmers not jist.
Sleekit lums tae dodge the gauger:
An smuggle the naftie ooer the Mounth.

Pairliment’s Act. An Act oot-by anaither warld.
A deidly haimmer. Deidly.

A yellow horse – a gowden jewel shimmrin gainst Lochnagar
Wis the laird’s very own ye ken.
Then unexpectit the laird wis gan – jist drappit deid:
an tae The Camlet cam his shimmrin Stallion.
Fit chancy; nae but surely heeven pre-ordainit:
on the back of yellow, young James Gordon, a loon jist nine,
galloped awa fae the ragin’ gauger.

Anaither faimily had flit the Girnoc: fairever –

No time tae greet: the family.
The family of The Dumfoonert Loon.
The Gordons, aince inextricable, were gan.

A’ but ‘Red Donald’ – prodeegious o’ Bovaglie.
He fairmed wethers in the hunners & thoosands (an mair!)
Jist for the killin, an Balmoral
Cairtit doon the ‘Butcher’s Walk’ tae the Royal hoosehold:
fit they cad ‘The Mutton Larder.’

Nae wonder ‘Red Donald’ wis the Queen’s very ane flumgummer!

Donald’s drooth (it has been said) wis no for the watter:
Tummlers o’ the stonger stuff wis his stoorum!

Aye his fancy wis for a dram or two (an mair!) –
Donald used to tak his horse and cairt doon glen tae ‘The Inver.’
Aifter a guid nicht, stocious an greetin foo,
Donald wud shaky-doon in his cairt.
Aye his horse had seen it a’ afore!
Even blind-foldit, Donal’s horse cud tak him hame:
tae the sheltered plaid o Bovagli.

Wan day, twa loons wi noshun fa mischief –
unhitched Donal’s cairt wi auld prodeegious still in it –
aye sleepit foo’
an then hitched it back togaither – but not afore
first passing the shafts of the cairt throw the spars o’ Bovaglick’s gate!
The mischeevous anes hod in-by the plaid
An laughit seek, fan Donal deleerious, hootit:
“I doobt the diel himsel has been at work here the day!

Cameron The Factor – wis a sleekit man ah richt
oonder the coonsel aff Balmoral.

Aifter all, Girnoc had nae mair tae promise.
Folk had nae seengle penny atween them:
Days of dreeving beast gan –
Naftie outlawed –
An noo the Royal takover!
Fit an earth naixt!!

Aye, The Camlet – the hairt o’ the glen,
wis heavin it’s last sorrowfu’ beat.

Naisty deeds, or wis it mercy?
Anyhoo lang-heidit Cameron wis tae be
the Meesenger o daith tae a way of life:

Nae mair chirm
Nae mair diddle,
Nae mair Sing-sang,
Nae mair Littlins’ lachter.

There’s Naebody noo in the glen. Naebody.
Naebody but the dumfoonert loon.

At Bovagli’s door he sits aside an auld currant tree,
son-afore-the father.
Heevenly scent – speeritool yet waesome
Heid foo, an greet-hertit, o’ days gan by.

Aye Bovagli, oh so buitifool – lochnagar’s saicret jewel:
strikes melancohly an’ wonder in equal measure.

Beyont the shuttered sailience within
A stained enamel baith as ready to pour
as it surely wis on Donal’s last nicht.

Weavin in an oot the wuid – noo the preeserve of the deer:
yet aince that of the Gordon bairns.
Bitten aff by Bovaglick’s cald win
wi’ smallpox – such a loss of littlins.

Heeven scent o’ the bonniest quines.
Currant blossom.
An a loon dumfoonert.

Linvaig hame of the cherry blossom.
Wis tae be Girnoc’s very last tae flit.
Aince it wis fairmed by twa brothers Gordon – sons o’ The Camlet.

At Linvaig, look oot aboot ye, fae imaiginashun can easy conjur
Wolf McAndrew:
A mither’s loon lost tae the wild an raised by the pack.
At Aultdrachty, in the Muick, he cam back.
Aye he cam back!

Cud you believe it: at Linvaig lodged a huddle o’ umberella makkers
Fit in the Girnoc: Ceevil folk wi brollies!?
Fit mair eesless cud there be!!
Not even the dumfoonert loon
wid tak, a brolly, tae the Girnoc!

Mair keerious still:
Centuries of doodles writ upon an auld wooden Linvaig Flesher:
Doon tae the ditties signed by the twa Gordon brothers:
an remynders o’ bills;
sheep coontit –
An then this:

“Lost last night, Emma Gordon,
last seen going down the road with Fred Duncan’s clothes on.
A’body givin information on her whur-aboots will be rewarded.”

The dumfoonert loon has tae tip his cap to Emma.
An wi’ a guid smirk,
she tips him back wi Fred’s!

The Cosh – the halla an gate tae the Girnoc:
The Miller there wis auld Joseph: Joseph ‘the frugal.’
Anither Gordon, an anither son o’ Camlet!
Aye inextricable ah richt, fae Joseph, wud yae believit,
marrit his mither’s sister!

Auld Joseph wis a prood man, in an ancient year,
yet still trekked ooer the mounth tae Brechin ta visit his grandbairns.
In plaid, kilt and bunnet and wi twa staffs he set aff:
A striking auld man.
Takin his laist journey.

Auld Joseph started up the moontain track all alane
But some of his faimily followed him.
Aye Joseph wis proud, bit he wis auld and guy weak,
an they were feartit for him.
The way wis steep, an soon the snaa gaithered deep.
Joseph tak aff his ill fittin shoes to try an mak the gayin mair aisy,
an tied the shoes tae his staff.

Faimily followit auld Joseph aiver-mair closely
an cud see that he wis vairy tired an oonwell.
Aifter lodging in the snaa, his staff (tied wi his shoes)
he laid doon tae rest.
Ainly tae rise again an stagger on an on,
but fa shorter and shorter.
An shorter.

Nae ‘frugal’, that cannae be richt.
Joseph’s epitaph shud reflect the man on his laist journey.
Joseph: Joseph the cooragious. Joseph the thraan.

At Camlet, the dumfoonert loon drifts in ban oot:
Camlet’s bairns had such mixt fortunes ye ken.
Some remarkable an so warldly wise;
Cortachy Castle an Airlie too
Burnside, Springfield an even Priory!
Whilst aithers lost affrontit at the gaugers will,
or shamit, jist mebbe, thro a clandesteen birth
in the grounds of Abergeeldie.

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