Home Grown In Glasgow – a poem for International Women’s Day by Ruby McCann

Home Grown In Glasgow

I am woman 

a sister of Glasgow

a pale skinned, freckled-faced Scot

a she-child fae the sou’ side

a native Glaswegian

Mither Glasgow shaped me


I am a child of many

born into this city

I am Pict, I am Celt

I am Irish, Scottish, and Glaswegian

a city born, tenement-bred lassie fae the Gorbals

raised up in housing scheme-slums

an Irish Catholic, Scottish Protestant, non-believer

spawn of violence, poverty and alcohol

social services, children’s homes, foster care


I am woman

the daughter and granddaughter of many Mothers

Grannies, Aunties and Sisters

when they call me

they shout from kitchen windows

hen, lassie, dear, mrs wummin,

“yer tea’s ready”


I come from Clydeside washer wimmen

who stood by the river scrubbing a living

I’m their wee yin, their wean, a Glesga girl

home grown in Glasgow’s steamies

Glasgow is in me rolls ower my tongue

fae deep in ma belly

to the guttural sounds that I speak

the language of haggis and neeps


I’m a lassie from that ‘dear green place’

rooted in the soil of the second empirical city

I don’t speak Gallic because they took my language from me

I am though trilingual

I speak Scots, Glaswegian and English


I am not English

I speak from that body for those who do not understand me

all clear and perfect and empty

still, England is my sister, my neighbour

and unlike my an-sister Mary, she

has ta’en me in and nourished me


I am not Irish

though Irish blood runs through me

in the kick of my jig

in the heat of my temper

in the song of myself

Ireland’s waters feed and nurture

the roots of my ansisters


I am neither Spanish nor Moor

yet a Spanish Moor lives in me

in the black of my hair, my

eyes, the roundness of my hips

I have no home in Spain

there is no going back

it’s too late now


I am the bird flying to a new world

I am the fish swimming in her waters

I am the tree growing

a new leaf from the ancient oak

my roots reaching through generations of clearances

a voyage of wimmen migrating

north to south

east to west

island to mainland

highland to lowland


I am woman

a simple Glasgow lass

every day of the year

my bell rings loudly through me

and not only on Sunday’s for mass

but in the ever burning fire within


Women birthed me

kept me going

brought me here

to who I am now


I am woman

I am complete   

Ruby McCann, March, 2018 

Ruby performing ‘Home Grown in Glasgow’ with Cheeky Besoms at Aye Write. Mitchell Library, 2019.

Ruby McCann – Glasgow Writer                   

Typist Artist Pirate King at Glasgow Film Festival
International Women's Day Glasgow 2023

This section: International Womens Day, Poetry, stories and poems, Writing

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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