Ghost Highland Way

I made a very small gamepoem, to warm up for the post-comp release of Raik:

It is a randomised spooky sad scots walking simulator about being outside and looking at things and listening and remembering.

I like how the structure imparts a rhythm to it that persists regardless of what random elements appear. I know you say it’s meant to be spooky, but the metre of the in-between sections Ye mind on whan ye walkit, daDA daDA daDADA is quite like an upbeat children’s rhyme (not quite but almost like, a sailor went to sea-sea-sea) and that jolliness coloured my reading of the whole thing. I might be particular primed to read scots in this way due to my recent repeat recital of this Scottish nursery rhyme:

[i]There was a wee bit mousikie,
That lived in Gilberaty-O,
It couldno’ get a bite of cheese,
For cheatie pussy-catty-O.

It said unto the cheeseky,
‘Oh fain would I be at ye-O,
If ‘twere no’ for the cruel claws
Of cheatie pussy-catty-O.’[/i]

(You have to read ‘cruel’ without the diphthong for it to work I think.)

Whereas I am mostly primed with border ballads where people are killed by treachery and come back and kill everyone else and then have stern words for their family and lovers before dragging them off to a far worse fate.

I didn’t understand very much of it, I’m afraid — my Scots being pretty much non-existent — but the language still conveyed to me a pensive, mournful quality. And it was lovely. (Afraid I didn’t find that online dictionary much use — some words it just didn’t know, and some of the phrases didn’t make sense translated word for word, which is a general problem with that sort of translation.)

I find it helps a lot if you sound it out. (It’s kind of like Haitian Creole if you speak French, or Chaucerian English - on the page it looks like gibberish, but if you try to pronounce the words a lot of them suddenly make a lot more sense.)

Thanks for the wee comments!

If you don’t speak or read Scots regularly, don’t worry. This one’s more meant to be felt than understood, I think. You can read it like Jabberwocky if you like! – it’s as much of a sound piece as anything else. But if you do want to look up the words, two tips: a word ending in t or it or et is likely a verb, as that’s just the equivalent of d or ed; a word ending in ly is probably an adverb. If you drop off the suffix, the not-very-sophisticated dictionary might return a result.

Sam and Joey, that’s a really interesting contrast. Nursery rhymes and border ballads are the two biggest vehicles of Scots, and a lot of Scots writing trades off those traditions, I think. So the piece probably is shaped by both. The randomiser is drawing from a fairly large pool of options for weather and mood and action, too, so different readers are going to get very different experiences. This was a bit of a very basic experiment in emergent narrative for me: sometimes I’d play it through and think it was a really tragic story; sometimes I’d play it and it was about depression; sometimes I’d play it and it was about being on a really beautiful walk.

I love how Scots sounds when I speak the words but my accent stumbles between Glasgow and Edinburgh: Connolly and Connery. Nice work.

Thanks :slight_smile:

I really like Dick Gaughan’s advice on speaking Scots: