THE WAIL OF THE WHALE


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A poem regarding a concerned whale warning his son of the dangers of the Dornoch Firth, written by an unknown author likely after the tragic stranding of a pod of whales there in 1927.

Said Father Whale to Johnnie Whale –
Come laddie len’s your ear,
And weel tak’ tent to hints that I
Will gie on your career.

In coorse o’ natur’ you will sune
Be slingin’ o’ yer hook,
And will in company o’ yer friends
On wild adventure look.

Noo, Johnnie, there are certain rules
That ye maun aye respec’,
If ye should purpose for to grow
An auld heid on yer neck.

In maitters o’ geography
Some points your brain maun store,
As you gang roond stravaigin’
By mony a northern shore.

Should e’er you “blow” by Tarbat Ness,
Then Johnnie tak’ a swither
And set your course by Lossie licht
If again you’d see your mither.

For ‘twixt the point o’ Tarbat’s nose,
And Dornoch ower the watter,
There lies a fell and waesome bar,
On which the waves do batter.

At full o’ time you micht get ower
If favoured by the win’,
But aince yer in, your trouble is
To hide your dorsal fin.

Across the bar when wast’s the win’
Ye’ll hear enticing sounds.
For though the waters shallow are
Yet fairy land surrounds.

Auld Tain will cry “Come Johnnie, come,
We’ve pleasures ripe in store
Which we have hoarded up for you
Since Canmore’s days of yore.

Our golf course tak’s some beatin’ –
‘Deed aye ye needna sniff –
And if ye pass Glenmorangie,
Ye’ll surely get a whiff.

Then hie ye on dear laddie,
Dinna fear to tak’ a “Chance,”
And when you sight Ardchronie
By the “Brook,” stay your advance.*

And noo, my son, I’ve cautioned you –
Thus spoke the ancient whale –
If ye neglect my warnin’
Ye’ll hae guid cause to wail.

Epilogue

Alas! Joh, ruled by impulse,
Found the way of sinners hard;
So his bones now rest in Bloomsbury,
And Leith has claimed his lard.

*With apologies to the Lairds of Spinningdale and Midfearn.