W.D. Cocker

Poems in Scots and English (1932)


2 CDs £18.00


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sscd 124

1 The Deluge [p.15] Adam McNaughtan 4:09

2 The Wee Fat Stot [p.20] John Reid 2:27

3 The Tragedy of Ananias [p.22] George Philp 3:17

4 Babel [p.25] George Philp 2:58

5 Ballad of a Christening [p.29] Mary Lockhart 2:36

6 Sally [p.32] John Reid 5:46

7 Rab the Miller [p.35] John Reid 6:23

8 Jack’s Hamecomin George Philp 2:57

9 Auld Allan [p.50] John Reid 3:47

10 The Pessimist [p.55] James Begg 1:02

11 Dandie [p.77] Adam McNaughtan 1:19

12 Roupit [p.80] John Reid 1:51

13 A Plooman’s Lament [p.86] Tune "Woo’ed an mairrit an aa"

from the singing of John Eaglesham Adam McNaughtan 1:23

14 In the Byre [p.88] James Begg 1:15

15 The Barn Dance [p.99] Tune "Haste to the Wedding" Adam McNaughtan 1:18

16 Ballade of Old Age [p.103] Adam McNaughtan 1:34

17 The Bubbly-Jock p.115] George Philp 1:15

18 The Roarin Game [p.121] James Begg 2:05

19 The Bogle [p.l25] Mary Lockhart 1:24

20 Parritch [p.135] Adam McNaughtan 1:27

21 Glesca’ [p.137] Mary Lockhart 3:28

22 The Loupin-on-stane, East Kilbride [p.144] George Philp 1:09

23 The Greenock Man [p.150] James Begg 0:28

24 The Snail and the Craw [p.156] James Begg 1:10

Playing time on this CD 56:28

sscd 125

Further Poems: Scots and English (1935)

1 Wee Freenly Doug [p.13] James Begg 1:08

2 Jonah [p.14] Adam McNaughtan 4:02

3 The Chitterin’ Bite [p.33] Adam McNaughtan 1:45

4 The End o the Term [p.35] Mary Lockhart 1:17

5 Goliath [p.36] James Begg 3:13

6 The Deil’s aye guid to his ain [p.50] John Reid 1:15

7 The Creation [p.51] John Reid 2:58

8 The Deil and Luckie MacAlpine [p.55] Adam McNaughtan 1:49

9 The Kibbock [p.60] James Begg 1:50

10 Could Burns Keek Doon [p.68] James Begg 1:39

11 The Ballad of Christopher Columbus [p.75] Adam McNaughtan 4:14

12 Shepherds [p.79] John Reid 0:58

13 Clegs [p.81] James Begg 1:29

New Poems (1949)

14 The Guid Samaritan [p.9] George Philp 1:51

15 When we are Auld [p.33] George Philp 0:50

16 Lot’s Wife [p.53] Mary Lockhart 2:03

17 The Witch [p.61] Mary Lockhart 1:04

18 Granny’s Proverbs [p.65] George Philp 1:01

Random Rhymes and Ballads (1955)

19 The Robbery at Dunrob [p.18] George Philp 3:27

20 Think nae mair o’ Men [p.36] Mary Lockhart 1:19

21 Never Let Dab [p.59] Mary Lockhart 1:17

22 Bed Time [p.67] George Philp 0:46

23 Wee Red-Coat Sodger [p.97] George Philp 0:43

24 The Deil gaed oot for a dauner [p.125] John Reid 1:05

25 The Shooting Tenant [p.130] Mary Lockhart 1:25

26 The Paddock and the Juck [p.142] Adam McNaughtan 1:10

27 Abraham’s Sacrifice [p.175] John Reid 4:27

28 Call o’ the Pipes [p.228] Tune "Johnnie Cope" Adam McNaughtan 1:56

29 Haunted [p.240] Adam McNaughtan 0:48

Playing time on this CD 52:49



THE READERS — James Begg, Mary Lockhart,
Adam McNaughtan, George Philp, John Reid


Brown, Son & Ferguson Ltd for permission to record these poems.
All publications quoted are still in print (at time of this production) and are available from the Publishers at 4 Darnley Street, Glasgow G41 2SG. The book source of each poem is given.

The late Mr Alistair Lindsay, sometime Secretary of The Ballad Club (of which the author of these poems was President).

Mr Frank Wilson of the Munnoch in Ayrshire — and his dog Rocky !

Mr Champion, now of Auchterarder, for permission to reproduce a letter from
Mr Cocker.

Note: An appreciation of Cocker’s worth by Jim Kinnear appeared in the November 1995 issue of The Scots Magazine.       

A letter from W D Cocker, dated 6th April, 1959,

to Wm. B. Champion, Esq., Dagenham.

Dear Sir,

My publishers have forwarded your letter of 29th March to me to answer. Excuse me not doing so sooner: I have just come out of the infirmary after undergoing a minor operation.

Well, I am somewhat flattered that you should want to know something of my life, though I fear it has not been a particularly interesting one, except to myself. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed much of it, especially the last few years.

My full name is William Dixon Cocker, and I was born on l3th October, 1882, in the town of Rutherglen, not far from Glasgow. We moved into the latter city when I was about seven years of age, and it has been my home town since then.

Needless to say, my knowledge of the Scots tongue does not come from these industrial areas. My mother’s people were farmers in the parish of Drymen, near Loch Lomond, where they had owned the adjacent farms of Drumbeg and Wester Drumquhastle for some centuries. We had a house on their land, a small cottage which we used as a holiday home and a place for week-ends. We were a large family, and it seemed more like a home to us than the circumscribed city. We were all much attached to it.

The rural folk, the workers on the land with whom I was acquainted there, all spoke in good Scots, such as you do not hear in the city nowadays. So I did not learn my Doric from dictionaries.

Before I was l3 I left school at my own urgent request and went into my father’s business: he sold office stationery and did printing, book-binding, etc., but this was a dwindling concern, and before I was out of my teens I discovered that there was no future in it for me. I tried a few other things, including free-lance journalism, and when I was 23 I got a job with a Glasgow morning paper, "The Daily Record". With this paper and its associate the "Glasgow Evening News" I was to work for 51 years.

The only change from this was during the war of 19l4 when I enlisted in the 9th H.L.I. (the Glasgow Highlanders.) My military career was not distinguished, though some of my best poems in English were written then. I rose to the rank of LanceCorporal (paid). In 1917 I was transferred to the 15th Royal Scots and in the same year was taken prisoner at the beginning of the Passchendaele offensive, more dead than alive. I worked in Germany at a variety of jobs: in the woods, navvying on the roads, and on a farm. The last, though I understood it best, was the one I liked least. Gathering potatoes or forking manure were backbreaking jobs; and I was ill during all the 14 months of my captivity.

I had two brothers killed during the war, and my parents died then, all within the space of two years. When I got back to Glasgow I felt I had nothing to return to; I spent my first night in a soldiers’ hostel. I went back to my "Daily Record" job and, in due course, got married and lived happily ever after.

I have written a lot of one-act plays and a few fulllength ones. A list of some of them is given at the beginning of my "Random Rhymes and Ballads." My most successful one-act is "The Wooin’ O’t" which has been translated into English, French and Gaelic and performed and broadcast a great many times. I was dramatic critic for my paper for about 20 years, especially dealing with amateur drama.

I have written a few serials and a number of short stories some of which dealing with the West Highlands were collected in book form and published under the title of "Brave Days of Old" (Now out of print.) I had two illustrated books published by Blackie, one dealing with the topography and history of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the other with the Firth of Clyde.

My first three books of verse: "The Dreamer", "Dandie", and "The Bubbly-jock" are out of print but all that was worth preserving in them is to be found in my "Poems, Scots and English".

When the "Glasgow Evening News" ceased publication two years ago I retired, I thought that at 74 I had worked long enough. I am now enjoying my leisure, reading a lot and watching plays on T.V.

I still go out to Drymen occasionally to see the hills and my relatives, the younger generation. Not a very interesting life perhaps, but that’s all there is to it. .

Yours sincerely,

W.D. Cocker