What the Auld Fowk are Thinkin'

What the Old Folk are Thinking
The children in their beds, worn out with no work
   Are sleeping, nor ever an eyelid winking
The old folk lie still with their eyes staring stark
   And the dark brim-full of the things they are thinking.

When out of each corner the children they peek
   Laughing and playing, arms loosing and linking
The old folk they watch from the warm fire-side
   But the children little think what the old folk are thinking.

When the old folk sit quiet at the root of a stook (British, meaning a group of sheaves of grain stood on end in a field)
   In the sunlight their washed eyes flickering and blinking
Folk scything, or binding, or shearing with hook
   Care not a straw what the old folk are thinking.

At the church, when the minister's dull and dry
   His farthings as if they were gold guineas chinking
And the young folk are nodding, or fidgeting sly
   Nobody knows what the old folk are thinking.

When the young folk are crying about the bed
   Where like water through sand the old life is sinking
And some would say the last word was said
   The old folk smile, and know what they're thinking.

What the Auld Fowk are Thinkin
The bairns i' their beds, worn oot wi' nae wark,
  Are sleepin, nor ever an eelid winkin;
The auld fowk lie still wi' their een starin stark,
  An' the mirk pang-fou o' the things they are thinkin.

Whan oot o' ilk corner the bairnies they keek,
  Lauchin an' daffin, airms loosin an' linkin,
The auld fowk they watch frae the warm ingle-cheek,
  But the bairns little think what the auld fowk are thinkin.

Whan the auld fowk sit quaiet at the reet o' a stook,
  I' the sunlicht their washt een blinterin an' blinkin,
Fowk scythin, or bin'in, or shearin wi' heuk
  Carena a strae what the auld fowk are thinkin.

At the kirk, whan the minister's dreich an' dry,
  His fardens as gien they war gowd guineas chinkin,
An' the young fowk are noddin, or fidgetin sly,
  Naebody kens what the auld fowk are thinkin.

Whan the young fowk are greitin aboot the bed
  Whaur like water throu san' the auld life is sinkin,
An' some wud say the last word was said,
  The auld fowk smile, an' ken what they're thinkin.