Robert Garioch

'we mell and mate,
and syne we're still
as the brou of a hill
that kens the leisor
of time's ain meisor'
('Quiet Passage')

Robert Garioch Sutherland is best known for his humorous verse in Scots. Such poems as 'Embro to the Ploy', 'The Canny Hen' and 'Edinburgh Sonnets' are comic masterpieces, with the pretensions of the city of his birth the frequent target of his satirical tongue. But he wrote in other moods and modes, from drama to translations into Scots. He typeset and printed his first two works himself and, in the old chapman tradition, went out to sell his wares: '17 Poems for 6d' (1940), a collaboration with Sorley Maclean, and 'Chuckies on a Cairn' (1949). When his 'Selected Poems' was published in 1966, Sydney Goodsir Smith welcomed its long overdue appearance 'with shouts of joy and reverent hiccups'. Several more titles appeared before his 'Complete Poetical Works' came out in 1983, including 'Two Men and a Blanket', an autobiographical account of his four years as a prisoner of war during the Second World War. Robert Garioch was a teacher for many years and latterly worked as a lexicographer and transcriber at the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh.

Robert Garioch

Robert Garioch, Queen Street Gardens, Edinburgh, 1972.

© Gordon Wright. For permission to use this image or to order a print or digital copy, email Gordon Wright.