Lullaby ida Mirkenin

(lyrics: Vagaland, melody Lise Sinclair)


Nicht ida Nort is lang;

(Night in the North is long)

Maamie sings a sleepy-sang.

(Mummy sings a sleepy-song)

Caald he mirkens ower da sea;

(Cold he brings murk over the sea)

Peerie licht - come ta me.

(Little light - come to me)


Caald-rife wis da day at's geen;

(Full of cold was the day that has gone)

Sheenin blue dy boannie een

(Shining blue your bonny eyes)

Laek da flooer closing noo;

(Like the flower closing now)

Peerie licht - sleep du.

(Little light - sleep you)


Moraning brings nae sun-blink here,

(Morning brings no sun-blink here)

(Nane ava bit dee, my dear,

(None at all but you, my dear)

By nane bit dee my hert is eased;

(By none but you my heart is eased)

Peerie licht - waaken pleased.

(Little light - wake up pleased)


"Vagaland" is the pen-name for poet Thomas Alexander Robertson, who was born in 1909 and grew up in Waas, on the South side of the mainland of Shetland.  The name comes from the Old Norse name for the area, incorrectly rendered as "Walls" by the Ordnance Survey.  He is considered by many to be the greatest Shetland poet of the 20th century.  His commitment to Shetland dialect is clear in his writing and in his other activities, such as the publication with John J. Graham of 'Grammar and Usage of the Shetland Dialect' and his involvement in founding the Shetland Folk Society.  He died in 1973, with "Collected poems of Vagaland" appearing in 1975, reprinted 1980.

Lise Sinclair came from Fair Isle, between Orkney and Shetland, part of a cummunity of around 70 individuals.  She was a singer, songwriter and poet.  This lullaby appears on her 2007 CD, "Ivver Entrancin Wis", on the Shetland Music label.  "Ivver Entrancin Wis" was originally a suite of music performed in Lerwick Town Hall in 2004, by Lise with an ensemble including Catriona McKay, Chris Stout, Abby Hayward and Wendy Weatherby, who went on to appear on the CD.  The setting of "Lullaby ida Mirkenin" had been commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library for performance at the launch of "Hansel", Wordplay 2005, a collection of Scottish poems for welcoming and naming babies.

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