This sad poem of longing for home, by Angus poet Violet Jacob, was set to music and popularised by Angus singer and songmaker Jim Reid. Violet Jacob called her poem 'The Wild Geese' and used the following spelling.
Oh tell me what was on your road, ye roarin’ norlan’ Wind,
As ye cam’ blawin’ frae the land that’s niver frae my mind?
My feet they traivel England, but I’m deein’ for the north.
My man, I heard the siller tides rin up the Firth o Forth”
Aye, Wind, I ken them weel eneuch, and fine they fa’ and rise,
And fain I’d feel the creepin’ mist on yonder shore that lies,
But tell me, ere ye passed them by, what saw ye on the way?
My man, I rocked the rovin’ gulls that sail abune the Tay.
But saw ye naething, leein’ Wind, afore ye cam’ to Fife?
There’s muckle lyin’ ‘yont the Tay that’s mair to me nor life.
My man, I swept the Angus braes ye ha’ena trod for years.
O Wind, forgi’e a hameless loon that canna see for tears!
And far abune the Angus straths I saw the wild geese flee,
A lang, lang skein o’ beatin’ wings wi’ their heids towards the sea,
And aye their cryin’ voices trailed ahint them on the air –
O Wind, hae maircy, haud yer whisht, for I daurna listen mair!
The lyric is a conversation between the poet and the North Wind.
Jim Reid has also set to music other poems by Angus poets Violet Jacob, Marion Angus and Helen Cruikshank.
Listen to 'Norlan' Wind (The Wild Geese)' as performed by Geordie McIntyre (vocal), Alison McMorland (banjo) and Norman Chalmers (whistle).
From Rowan in the Rock, LTCD3002. Available from The Listening Post.