The tabby-eyn’ (or “cigarette-end”), is the final part of any experience. It is the focus of this wee poem, that Life’s evening can seem more hopeful than Life’s former, long day. May it encourage retirees, those facing retirement, and even those longing for retirement! 🙂😉
(See glossary below.)
The Tabby-eyn (a)
Fan I wis growin up, ‘twis grand
tae jink aboot the streets;
tae play at chasies, kick the can
an ither kin’ o treats.
Wi cocksy-cousies (b) fae ma da,
I saaw the warld richt fine,
bit fand that ilka joy o youth
hed, aye, its tabby-eyn’.
Richt seen I wis pit inti sheen
an telt ti “go to 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 mind this lesson fine:
in aa ye’ll dea, the waur’ll be
the tyauvin tabby-eyn’.
I wis a sodger for nine ‘ear,
a Deeside gillie syne;
in work, or war, 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 the 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-eyn’, or end, is the final part of a smoked cigarette; it can be applied to any finale.
b: a cocksy-cousie is “Toonser” (or Townie) Doric. This is when an adult carries a child on his shoulders so that 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. It is popular at parades and football matches. 😁
c: gadgie has a specific meaning in Scots, referring to the status of a group in regard to a burgh, 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 (Cf. tawse a letter belt once used in Scottish schools to physically punish pupils on the palms of the hands.) Leather-working was hard on the wrist, hence the struggle idea.
© Bruce Gardner, 2012, 2019