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KAREN PETERSON BUTTERWORTH

Tongueprints

for Great Grandma Catherine and her mother Mary

Ultima Thule: a glimpse of Muckle Flugga
and a kinswoman’s welcome.


Tresta, Trondra, Northmavine
Fetlar, Uyeasound, Gutcher, Yell
Sullum Voe, Girlsta, Mousa, Unst.

One-way roads wi passin bays:
on da scattald, hedder’s flooerin.

Peerie, plantiecrub, tushkar, trow,
dulskit, etterskab, fogrie, haaf,
sixareen, scattald, kleber, hwal.

A bonxie flies past the cafe window.
Muckle Roe – red granite cliffs
wi nestin waegs.

Aithsting, Lerwick, Clousta, Voe,
West Burrafirth, Bixter, Aith,
Brindister, Sandness, Waas.

The Witch of Waas caaed doon
rain on her neighbour’s hairst.

Peterson, Laurenson, Mouatt, Doull,
Henry, Jamieson, Isbister, Coutts,
Haroldson, Inkster, Halcrow, Leask.

In winter, shüt of peat clings to hair,
skin, claes, and stanes.

Language Notes

‘Ultima Thule’ is Latin for ‘furthest north’. ‘Hwal’ is pronounced ‘quarl’. The upper case words are place or surnames. The Shetland words are there for their music, but if readers wish, the lower case words may be translated by consulting the Shetland Dictionary or the Dictionary of the Scots Language.

 

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