The Tabby-Eynd

The final part, or “tabby-eyn’ (end),” of an experience is the focus of this wee poem, which I have just updated. May it encourage those in retirement or who are facing retirement (and even those longing for retirement!) 🙂😉

See glossary below.

The Tabby-eyn (*a)

Fan I wis growin up, ‘twis grand
ti jink aboot the streets;
ti play at chasies, kick the can
an ither kind o treats.
Wi cocksy-cousies (*b) fae ma Da,
I saw the warld richt fine,
but fand ‘at ilka joy o youth
hed, aye, its tabby-eyn’.

Richt seen I wis pit inti sheen
an telt ti gyng ti school,
far teachers spak at ye richt posh
an gied yer wee hert duil.
I warsl’t throw fae Monday morn
till Thursday’s trauchl’t line,
bit aye I hatit Friday waur –
e wick’s coorse tabby-eyn’.

An aa throw ilka daily darg,
I min’ ‘is lesson fine:
in aa ye’ll dea, the waur will be
the tyauvin tabby-eyn’.
I wis a sodger for nine ‘ear,
a Deeside ghillie syne;
in work, or waar, the worst o aa
wis e mochie tabby-eyn’.

In war an work, coorse gadgies (*c) shot
At tairgets, up or doon,
But, files, the prey wid flee an lauch,
Like cushie doos, in tune.
But, wind or weet, ye’re on yer feet,
File nobs cry, “Howld thet line!”
Tho’ sair fed up, ye maun redd up –
‘twis, aye, the tabby-eyn’.

But, noo it’s lowsin time, ma quine,
We wauken efter sivven;
we sit in oor ain gairden, syne,
file ‘e Sun tyauves up tae hivven! (*d)
We say, “Life’s guid!” file, aa aroon’,
Oor grand-bairns lauch and play.
Ach, quine, I doot Life’s tabby-eyn’
Is better nor the day!

a: tabby-eynd, or end, is the final part of a smoked cigarette but it can be applied to any finale.
b: a cocksy-cousies is an adult carrying a child on his shoulders so the child’s legs are on either side of the adult’s head, facing forward. Holding on is by the child wrapping his arms round the adult’s forehead or by the adult reaching up to hold the child. Popular at parades and football matches. 😁
c: gadgie has a specific meaning in some Scots dialects but in Aberdeen it is simply a slightly-deprecating word for fellow.
d: tyauve means a struggle, or to struggle. It is related to the word, taw, which means leather (compare tawse, a letter belt once used to punish children.) Leather-working was hard on the hands, hence the idea.

© Bruce Gardner, 2012, 2019