Poetry – THE BONNY RED HECKLE

Away frae the smoke an’ the smother,
Away frae the crush o’ the thrang!
Away frae the labour an’ pother
That have fettered our freedom sae lang!
For the May’s i’ full bloom i’ the hedges
And the laverock’s aloft i’ the blue,
An’ the south wind sings low i’ the sedges,
By haughs that are silvery wi’ dew.
Up, angler, off wi’ each shackle!
Up, gad and gaff, and awa’!
Cry ‘Hurrah for the canny red heckle,
The heckle that tackled them a’!’


Then back to the smoke and the smother,
The uproar and crush o’ the thrang;
An’ back to the labour and pother,
But happy and hearty and strang.
Wi’ a braw light o’ mountain and muirland,
Outflashing frae forehead and e’e,
Wi’ a blessing flung back to the norland,
An’ a thousand, dear Coquet, to thee!
As again we resume the old shackle,
Our gad an’ our gaff stowed awa’,
An’—goodbye to the canny ‘red heckle,’
The heckle that tackled them a’!’

— Thomas Westwood