Friday, 5 November 2010

Dundee's V&A Museum design - a poetic response from W N Herbert

WE are proud to publish an exclusive - a new poem from Dundee's W N Herbert in response to the news of the winning design for Dundee's proposed Victoria & Albert Museum - thanks to Bill for allowing us to use this!

The Silvery Bridie

Twas in the year of 2011,
a date McGonagall will be eagerly marking in Heaven
(or, if he isn't there then in some nearby place
they put dead people when Peter can't quite remember your face,
where he’ll be seeking whatever passes for parole
that he might walk amang us and read verses from a scroll),
that in that blazing core of Kulchur known only as 'Dundee'
famed far and wide baith above and below the sea
as the hame of discerning columnists and delicious conserves...
and also some ither thing that is currently evading me,
a Japanese architectural firm called Kengo Kuma
expended quantities of building nous and not a little pneuma
to design a Silvery Bridie to hing ootowre the Tay
and delight the porpoises and sparlings upon a summer day
(at least those who do not read The Courier, who might know to swim away),
and impersonate an aircraft carrier, though one that has no planes
though as neither of our new ones do, the result is much the same
as the Dowager Empress’s great ship of marble, erected in Beihai Park
instead of paying for the Chinese navy, and all that offensive capability lark,
and all at the request of the Victoria and Albert Museum
though our Empress and Prince Regent are never there, should you call to see them –
a situation McGonagall’s bright shade knows anely too well
for they turned him awa from Balmoral as though he wis a bad smell;
not that the V and A are offering to pit their paw in pooch
and pay up for the biggin, sae we’ll aa be on the mooch –
perhaps it shall not happen, which may be just as well,
though surely then McGonagall will do bad deals in Hell
and sell the city’s soul so that he be resurrected
and skelp the city’s arse should this not be erected;
but may badness of all varieties flee far from our prospective Gallery
and may it lure an Englishman hence with sniffs of a respectable salary
to make up for the lines of Casuals from Whitfield and Fintry
who’ll suggest he take his building and insert it in another kintry,
though I’m sure the Silvery Bridie will delight many a Dundonian
such as does not take a drink and sings to their harmonium
the civic psalms beloved by sic as love their municipality
for its bandstands and shrubberies and sic-like banalities
for here is where the couthy meets the anime, the wifie meets the geek
and where those aliens the cultured will meet for coffee in mid-week,
where our robo-zombie bardie hears a dictum he must stick to
as the Reverend Gilfillan cries, ‘McGort! Klaatu barada nikto!’


  1. Dear me, line 8 stinks. Could the discerning reader substitute the following:
    'famed far and wide above beside and underneath the sea'

    Line 5 from the end emits similar odours, and would be slightly improved if it read:
    'for its bandstands and shrubberies and subliminal banalities

    I thank you. Bill