‘It’s Yersel!’ Marion Emily Angus back in Arbroath, Angus

Yah! I can blog!

Last year I was asked to join a group planning an ‘Angus Writers’ Festival, and went to a few meetings at Hospitalfield. http://hospitalfield.org.uk/. We had ambitious plans, but unfortunately the funding didn’t materialise.  I was more than disappointed, because taking Marion Angus back to Arbroath has been on my ‘to-do’ list for years.

But I got on with other things, and forgot about it.

Just recently I got a phone call asking if I’d be able to do a presentation at Hospitalfield on 5th September. Yes, please!

The title is a reference, of course, to Marion’s poem ‘It’s yersel, Naomi’ which I think perfectly expresses her emotion regarding coming back to the place she spent her formative years.

It’s Yersel, Naomi.

… And the city was moved about them, and they said, ‘Is this Naomi?’ — The Book of Ruth

Naomi, Naomi, what wait ye for?

The elders have steppit the causey ower

Wi a sigh and a froon an a mounfu ee

Wailin, “Naomi! It canna be.”

The wives have lookit ye up and doon,

Yer trembling mou and yer faded goon,

Sorrowfu steppin the causey ower —

Naomi, Naomi, what wait ye for?

For some dear lass ye kent lang syne,

When days of youth were clear and fine,

To tak yer hand in the twa o her ain,

The tears upon her cheeks like rain —

Wi a word o comfort the hert to fill –

“It’s yersel, Naomi, and bonnie still.”

But the talk will be more joyful than the poem suggests, because I’ll be drawing on Marion’s ‘diaries’ of ‘Arthur Ogilvie’ and ‘Christabel’ – written in Arbroath, about Arbroath people, when she was young.

Angus archives http://www.angus.gov.uk/info/20023/archives/215/angus_archives have been marvellous – sending me lots of photos of Arbroath in the early 20th Century.


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