WEEK FIFTY-SEVEN-AND-A-HALF – Oor Wullie/Merida the Brave

>> Oor Wullie

Merida the Brave <<

oor-wullie                                                merida


Think bucket, dungarees and tackity boots and to numerous Scots worldwide the image of Oor Wullie will immediately come to mind. The popular Sunday Post cartoon character is, after all, not just oor Wullie but ‘A’body’s Wullie’. A cheeky wee laddie roaming the streets of ……… [insert name of preferred city] with his tribe of Fat Boab, Soapy Soutar and Wee Eck, he is forever pursued by his nemesis PC Murdoch. Though known to all in his neighbourhood, he has no other provenance than Maw and Paw, no other demesne than Wullie’s Shed. So very unlike Princess Merida of DunBroch, the 16-year-old daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor of a Scotland threatened by the Romans. Skilled in archery, Merida the Brave is a warrior equally proficient with the spear and the sword, despite her mother’s desire for her to marry. The main character from the 2012 Disney Pixar film Brave, Merida is the 11th Princess in the Disney Princess line-up. Although both very different fantasy figures for boys and girls of certain generations, their cartoon selves are perhaps united by a devotion to their animal sidekicks – Oor Wullie’s pet mouse Jeemy and Merida’s Clydesdale horse Angus. Where would they be without them?


Oor Wullie
by John Quinn

Spiked hair an exclamation forest
of porcupine points and proto-punk pride,
he’s unpetrified blond joie de vivre,
chutzpah charm and childhood in black
dungarees worn by not Just William.
Sitting on a philosopher’s bucket
with jesters Soapy Soutar, Fat Boab and
Wee Eck, he’s boy King of Auchenshoogle.

Common ownership – oors, yours, etc. –
shares the smile, that ineffable thing,
that factoid, that chiel that winna ding.
Forever in cousinhood with the Broons
in the paper only read at oor Mum’s,
he declaims jings and crivens, help ma boab!
When he’s the conversation, silence melts
with get-rich-quick schemes not about money.


The DunBroch Tapestry
by Keren Macpherson

It may have begun with the hair;
her Mother absentmindedly twirling
red shoots on her finger;
thoughts forming curls, loops,
knots, from her daughter’s locks,

until something braided to her veins
made an image in the mind’s loom;
laid out a familiar grid,
and her hands, quick
to pick up strands, tied it

to Merida’s hair, and to a spool
where they spun onto the warp;
the rest of Merida teased,
thread by thread round the spindle
of a Mother’s best intentions;

any slack tugged tight, tamped down
in the pattern, loose ends
snipped off, tucked in, so the picture
almost perfect, could be knotted.
But Merida, who would not be held,

snapped, slashed herself free
from the wool, the scrim, fled,
strings fixed in her skin
– a persistent needle.
She felt the pull. 


John Quinn
is formerly a teacher and is now a Tour Guide at Verdant Works Museum in Dundee. He has been published in Poetry Scotland, Northwords Now, Southlight, South Bank, Dundee Writes and Poet and Geek. He has also done performance poetry at various venues in the East of Scotland including on the StAnza Slam where, like, the Scotland Football Team, he didn’t get beyond the early stages.

Keren Macpherson
completed her Masters in Creative Writing at Dundee University in 2015. She lived and worked in New Jersey and Colorado for fifteen years as an artist, and as a teacher of Fine Art to adults and children. She has had poems published in several issues of New Writing Dundee, in Dundee Writes, and more recently in Seagate III. She currently lives in Fife with her two girls, snatching time to write, and occasionally picking up a paintbrush.



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