KATIE Ailes, a poet and researcher currently working towards a PhD in English at Strathclyde University, describes her affectionate adjustment to the Scots language. Her poem comes from Glasgow Women Poets: A Collection, edited by Mairi Murphy (Four-em Press, 2016, £5).


‘outwith’:preposition: outside; beyond. A term unique to Scotland.

Revising my visa essay,

applying for three more years

here, I read my own scribbled words:

Comparable opportunities for critical study

do not exist outwith Scotland.

Outwith: a term unfamiliar, yet

scrawled in my own hand,

doubtlessly mine, and I wonder:

I came here all rude American brass, all

trash can, fanny pack, Where’s the castle?

Then Glasgow rolled itself under my tongue,

a grey marble lolling my mouth open with Os:

Glasgow, Kelvingrove, going to Tesco,

then thistling my speech wi sleekit lisps,

wee packets a crisps,

my lips like the lids

Of those glass bottles of sand

I used to collect from every beach:

my mouth a shore holding each grain

that altered the flow of my speech,

my pen flowing ‘s’ into the cursive waves

of ‘socialised,’ ‘civilised,’ ‘acclimatised,’

answering Aye! by accident

then smiling.

I may be from out

but I am now with.