By Duncan Harley
Bob Smith (1941-2015) was brought up on a farm at Skene near Westhill in Aberdeenshire and spent much of his life in amongst the newspaper industry. In his later years he took to poetry and adopted the moniker, ‘The Poetry Mannie’.
He wrote mainly in the Doric and his words express a deep love of the places, the people and the landscape he held dear. This new collection of his work includes the powerful poem, ‘Spikkin Doric’, which was first published in Aberdeen Voice some years ago.
The piece is a reflection on the virtual banning of the native tongue of the North East during the difficult days when locals were strongly encouraged to speak the Queen’s English and nothing but the Queen’s English.
Bob would have none of it:
“Lits aa fecht fer the Doric
Hae it taacht in aa the skweels
Instead o aa the lah-de-dahs
Thinkin the Doric is fer feels.”
Alongside his many contributions to Aberdeen Voice – and there were around 200 of them – Bob’s work made the pages of Leopard Magazine and also The Scottish Review.
He also features in amongst the chapters of my various books about North East Scotland and it has been both a pleasure and an honour to have this opportunity to bring his words to a wider audience.
Special thanks are due to the various folk who assisted along the way, including his widow Linda Smith and daughter Kerry McRitchie for permission to publish the work in this new print edition and to Fred Wilkinson for providing the foreword.
A multitude of other folk, such as Grace Banks, Charlie Abel, Paul Kohn, Sheena Blackhall and Alison Abel have provided guidance and made suggestions along the way.
‘The Poetry Mannie’ by Duncan Harley is supported by the Doric Board and is available in paperback on Amazon for £6.45.