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Burns Night 2022

'This Place is a Gallus Woman'

Ayrshire-based poet Leyla Josephine recites a piece commissioned by Begg x Co for Burns Night 2022.

Watch the full film, shot on location at The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, The Brig o'Doon and Ayr town and seafront.

‘This Place is a Gallus Woman’ by Leyla Josephine.

Shot by Alex James-Aylin. Music by Joe Loughrey. Hair & Make-Up by Molly Sheridan.

This Place is a Gallus Woman

Leyla wears the Arran Reversible scarf in Charcoal Mace. For an insight into Leyla's work and inspiration read our article on Comfort Blanket.

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This Place Is A Gallus Woman

This place we find ourselves in is a gallus woman
Born and bred of moss then brass
She is a nippy sweetie
Long teethed and sharp tongued
She is clever but knows better
than to act smart

Our landmass, her body
a canvas, birthmarked and scarred
by our abundant living

She is salt swooped in from the south west
Her hair a tangled gorse
With a belly full of schemes scheming
Youths making their marks on her walls

She makes a good home
This gallus woman
She plays with the dogs
and gulls on her shore
Combing the knots
from her seaweed
with the sour smell of chip shop vinegar

She flirts with Arran on the horizon
But he is a sleeping giant and takes no notice
He sucks in the sun as it sets
leaving her only with a sky


In winter, this gallus woman
dusts her hinterlands
with snow so cold it burns the skin
and she smokes from
every chapped mouth at the bus stop

Her wind bites us until we are left bone and
bare branches and boarded up houses

When this gallus woman rains,
she pours
her grasses lap it up
and call for more
but we hurry down the high streets
with broken brollies and hooded jackets

She is volcanic
She has a temper
and rightly so,
she would not last long without one

She watches us
her arms crossed
 a woman scorned

Because we litter her with train tracks and bottles
We pierce her with pylons, wires and petrol
We have mined her skin until it was coal
Her veins slick with motorways

but her blue bells still manage to push through
And boy, are they are holy

This gallus woman, doesn’t stay mad for long
wrapping us in a blanket when we step out of her glassy sea
She forgives us


At the gloaming she glows orange
like a burning star,
Listen closely she speaks now