Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Poem-another sign of love- a kilt story July 17, 2013

She gets these notions, ken?

Strange notions.

That because my great,





grandfather was a Scot

I need a kilt.


I won’t wear a kilt,

I said.

I am not connected to

my Scot’s heritage

I said.

That’s all right,

she said,


eight meters of fabric

and starting to pleat.


I won’t wear a kilt

I said.

What kind of belt buckle?

she asked.

So I picked the clan buckle

of my great

great etc



I won’t wear a kilt

I said.

Which pleat design?

she asked.

So I picked the pleat to the sett

(or so she tells me)

and she ironed

and ironed

and ironed

late into the night

and then she sewed

and sewed

and sewed

each stitch by hand

for night

after night.


I don’t want a kilt

I said.

She sewed

a linen shirt

and knit a lace jabot

and created sock flashes

and sock garters.

I ordered the socks and

the sporran from


she said.


I really don’t want…

I said

Try this

she said

arranging a leather pocket

dangling from chains

around my waist.


I squawked

It can’t go like that!

That’s like saying

X marks the spot!

She laughed

at my dismay.


Just try it all

she said,



I sighed

but did.

Walk up and down so I can see the swing,

she said.


she said

and led me back up the hall.


For our anniversary

she said

will you wear your kilt?


I said

and did.



True story.

Outlander inspiration is clear.

Diana has a lot to answer for.

But most of it is good.

Verra good.


Here’s the proof:


and the more modern interpretation:


We should have taken some pictures from behind to show off…

(cough) the pleat to the sett.

It’s verra lovely.


Always remember “Happy Wife, Happy Life” or as Diana wrote him in the book plate for his copy of  The Scottish Prisoner, “No one looks better than a man in a kilt.”

Diana sign ScottishPrisoner kilt comment


FYI- Here are a few of the posts written back while I was making the kilt with photos of the process:

Note the dates- It’s been nearly 18 months since I finished.  He’s worn it ONCE before today, back for that final drooling fitting.  Plainly I caught him in a moment of weakness today.  Or else he’s been reading Outlander again on his own.  Good lad.

6 years later, here’s a lovely shot of the swing from behind! 🙂



19 Responses to “Poem-another sign of love- a kilt story”

  1. jdsfiction Says:

    Rock the kilt! I’m a Scot, and I wear the kilt regularly. I have four. One solid black wool for black-tie occasions, one in my Stirling family tartan wool, and two modern denim kilts for daily wear. I love them, gives the -ahem- boys room to breath.

    • I think breathing room actually terrifies the guy, but it sure looks great on him! I doubt I’ll ever get him to wear it in public, but that way I don’t have to worry about him being assaulted by wayward Outlander fans, rabid for Sam Heughan. Good on you for rocking your heritage! 🙂

  2. davidprosser Says:

    I don’t think I look half as good in mine. xx Hugs xxx

  3. I should like to see the back.—- you are a beautiful couple. Photogenic, the two of you.

  4. Really loved the story which I came on quite by accident. Travelling through standing stones into history, scary and exciting at the same time. Love the kilt. We really do need a rear view! Cheers. Susan

  5. Julia Says:

    He looks mighty fine in that kilt!

  6. pi314chron Says:

    What to do when I run out of superlatives?! I suppose I just say, “How much would you charge for making me a kilt?” I don’t really want one, but my wife has some cockamamie wedding anniversary idea she won’t tell me about! : roll : Wonderful poem!


  7. seanbidd Says:

    What a tale to share, rock’n a bit of heritage in the poetic

  8. This really warms the cockles of our Scottish hearts – especially Ian’s, for he is the bonafide, born and bred Scotsman. We love your poem. It is hard to imagine a Scotsman not wanting to wear the kilt. However, I’ll bet his five-great grandfather didn’t have to be talked into wearing one. You certainly did a great job of sewing, Shawn. I know I (Gayle) would not have chosen to try my hand at sewing one. Ian’s first kilt was furnished to him when he was an Army cadet in Scotland in the 1940s. Later as an airman and bandsman in the RAF he was in bands that wore “trews” instead of kilts. After emigrating to Canada, though, he was given a kilt by a friend of a Scottish relative. Even though he wasn’t of the Stewart Clan (the kilt bore the Royal Stewart tartan) he reconciled wearing it because he was Scottish and thus under the “protection” of the royals! Hah – such an admission from an ardent Scottish nationalist! In reality, the reason was that he liked the tartan and, of course, it was free!! Nowadays, after undergoing many adjustments by me to accommodate his expanding girth and then his diminishing girth, we visited the Scottish Highland Gift Shoppe in Calgary last year and had him measured for a kilt in his family tartan – the McKinnon.( The Morrans family is a sept of the McKinnon clan.) It cost us a pretty penny, too. We’ve used that tartan to help decorate the cover of Ian’s latest book, a memoir: From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” By the way, we also love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books. Ian does cringe, though, whenever the so-called word “verra” comes up. He says he has NEVER heard “very” pronounced like that in all his years in Scotland or since. I wonder who was Gabaldon’s consultant on the Scottish dialect. Perhaps it was the online Scots dialect dictionary which did bring up a translation of “very” for “verra.” Ian thinks it must be a very obscure usage, though. He is a Highlander, also lived in the Lowlands for some years and has friends from all over Scotland and never heard that pronunciation. Anyone out there know in what part of Scotland the pronunciation “verra” is used?

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