Christine De Luca

Christine De Luca writes in English and Shetlandic, her mother tongue. She was appointed Edinburgh's Makar (poet laureate) for 2014-2017. Besides several children’s stories and one novel, she has had seven poetry collections and five bilingual volumes published (French, Italian, Icelandic, Norwegian and English). She’s participated in many festivals here and abroad and in numerous translation activities. Her poems have been selected four times for the Best Scottish Poems of the Year for the Scottish Poetry Library online anthologies. She particularly enjoys collaborating with composers and musicians.

Christine De Luca

Photo: Dawn Marie Jones


TheoArtistry and Tapsalteerie Pamphlet Launch »

A collection of poems responding to scripture

Sat 7 March | 13:00 - 13:30 | FREE | Holy Trinity, Queens Terrace, Small Hall



a meditation apön Exodus 3 (in Shetlandic)

Da Princess ca’ad him Moses fur he wis liftit
oot o watter. Nae blissin fur a Hebrew infant,
a foregeng o blöd: murders an mair murders.                          foreboding, foretelling; blood

But dis laad daandlt in Pharaoh’s coort gyets                          young fellow
inta a stooshie, on da wrang side o da laa,                              argument, trouble, law
aff ta Midian, bracks aa boondaries.                                         breaks all

Mair refugee as exile or migrant, but wi notions
o promised laand, o hametoun, calf-grund ringin                    ancestral homeland
his lug; an a back-history o herders, aert-kent.                          ear; illustrious

Shepherdin is a far cry fae a palace:
da wilderness aa tae yoursel, paesfoo                                       peaceful
lanerly; only a antrin yowe nyaarmin.                                         lonely, an occasional sheep bleating

Da sun is blinndin, air a simmermal dance,                                shimmering with heat
saand dat skooders bi day stivvens bi mirknen.                         scorches, chills, sun-down
leopard cubs i da caves wi a fantin midder.                             There are; famished mother

Hit’s herd ta keep fire in at nicht; little kendlin,
an glunshed in a meenit. Jöst as he neebs aff …                      devoured; Just as he drifts off to sleep
woosh o flame, a bush torched dat skails da flock.                  scatters

Dan da mintiest braeth, ‘Sained grund …tak aff dy shön’!      tiniest; ’Holy ground, take off your shoes’
Wha is dis harkin, tellin him ta chart da tyoch wye                    whispering, tough way
ta Canaan bi Mount Horeb? Wha is YHWH,

name o braeth hitsel, o verb ta be? ‘ I am .. wha I am.
Lö wi dy haert. Come traivel wi me!’                                            Listen intently with your heart; walk
da fire, no even da peeriest crackle.                                           smallest

Hit could be a angel or da Göd-Man himsel! Moses,
as his gormless yowes, is rötit tae da grund.                                (as) frightened as his silly sheep, rooted
He hes nae choice but ta trust dis cosh-laek God,                     intimate, chummy

dis oorie presence tellin him ta lead his fock; promisin               elusive; asking
a stack o clood bi day an a styooch o fire bi nicht;                   column of rock, raising a cloud
settin a bush alicht, yet hit wis nivver skomfished.                       consumed (by fire)


Christine De Luca

From The Song: Poems of Biblical Theophany (Tapsalteerie/ITIA, 2020)