Hello, Stranger Poems

Whin Ah get back tae NYC

28 September 2021

Good to see Hugh Bryden’s poetry here. He was part of the very important anthology ‘Chuckies fir the Cairn’ edited by Rab Wilson for Luath Press but his poetry hasn’t had enough exposure. I suppose when you’re an imaginative and vibrant visual artist, it doesn’t matter so much! Hugh Bryden has accumulated a vast reputation for his own art and also his collaborations with poets such as Tom Pow, Donald Murray, Willie Hershaw, Liz Niven, Chrys Salt and others. He worked in his native Dumfries and Galloway as an Art Teacher for thirty years then began working as a full time artist and publisher. His imprint Roncadora Press has won national awards and his artists books are in national and international collections. He won the Callum MacDonald Award twice in cahoots with poet Hugh McMillan, on the second occasion, in Sheepenned, producing the only book in history ‘about sheep, by sheep and made from sheep’.

Here he speaks movingly about his son Ben, a saxophonist in New York. They’ve been parted like so many families, in the era of Covid.

Whin Ah get back tae NYC

Whin Ah git back tae NYC

Ah dinny ken whin that will be

But whin Ah dae Ah hope Ah may

See a the sichts Ah’ve still tae see.

In the Guggenheim

Ah’ll tak ma time

Slowly tak the spiral track

Up through the Art Ah’ll climb

Ah’ll hae a lark

In Bryant Park

Manhattan toon square they cry it there

We’ll picnic share til efter dark

Ah’m jist the fellay

Fir Katz’s Deli

Ah’ll hae whit she’s hivin, the life o Harry Ah’ll be livin

An come oot wi a full belly

Yir Bloomingdales

Kin keep thur sales

An Times Square, Ah’ll no be there

But Arthur Avenue nivver fails

In Mott Street

Ah’ll tak a seat

A Vietnamese will surely please

An fu o Pho Ah’ll be replete

New York, it’s alright

Stays open a night

But whit is mair, ma boy bides there

An how Ah long tae hold him tight.

Hugh’s Website:


The series is curated by Hugh McMillan, poet and writer, Ambassador for the Scottish Poetry Library in 2020 and Editor of its anthology ‘Best Scottish Poems’ for 2021.

Filed in: poetry