‘Sasine’: Celebrating 400 years in poetry

To celebrate the rich history of the General Register of Sasines, Scotland’s makar Jackie Kay has written a poem to tie in with its 400th anniversary. Read the verse by the country’s third national laureate below.

Sasine // Jackie Kay

Then my auld freend, as the furst sign

Let’s haund ower a clod o’ earth

And ken that ye and I will keep our wurd

Over time’s lang in-between.


Ye came tae life in a dwam, a dream,

A name here shows whaur you’ve been, lang syne.

To measure time, your deeds, this record –

Seizer! The auldest o’ the wurld.


Auld Caledonia: front runner, streaks ahead;

So far that you kin turn and look back;

The slow, timeless stare o’ the stag,

A heap o’ stones, a sma’ time-lag.


Plot, bothy, shack, croft, lease.

A writ stamped, counterpart, peace.

This land register – across these four centuries:

Fast furward, back; here’s your old stories.


Enjoy this poem? Discover more of the sasine register’s story and Scotland’s intriguing land registration history by exploring #RoS400 on social media.

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