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Poetry Magnum Opus

The Cousins


dedalus

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Aye, aweel, the Highlands and the Islands

carry the ancient feel of lost Dal Riada,

that peaty smell of the combined old kingdom,

traces of Naisí and the Sons of Usnach.

It's not for me to hate them Lowland gomerils

who shtew and shpit their venom ... pa-thwook,

rushing in to count their wee fuckin pennies,

rushing out to support the Glasga Rangers.

 

Shprkk! (an indefinable throaty Scottish sound).

 

I believe the reason many modern young Scots

who never bled a drop for Wallace, who never

had to face Cumberland's cannons at Culloden,

dislike the English ... it's so ingrained ... has much to do

with mortification, the self-flagellation of their grandpapas,

those outraged bouncing eyebrows, sniffing noses,

jutting jaws: the shared ecstacy of pain.

 

Pain is guid, mo chuisle. Make a friend of pain

or ye'll gan all soft like a Sassenach: it's true

ye cannae push all the pebbles of blame outside

along with the cat, with the steaming chamber pots,

nor reach for skirling bagpipes, nor haul on

yer kilts and to hell with what's under them,

while throwing stones at the train from Carlisle

and hissing at English tourists.

 

Ah, the regiments: Ypres and the Somme,

Waterloo before that, the Crimea, Juno Beach:

the pipe sergeant and the kilties.

 

Spend all of ten long years

building a Parllyament, in which

naturally enough, nothing happens.

Gang the whoo da wha. Snort. Spit

in your neighbour's porridge, search

for further avenues of deprivation, split

Presbyterianism into even colder shards.

The more it fuckin hurts

the more Scots ye'll be.

 

Fight for England. Best pain of all.

 

Culloden, aye, aweel, that was ...

that was the Boyne of Scotland.

Charluss, the pink-cheeked Bonnie Wee Prince,

an idiot, a dynastic disaster, a foppish fool,

simply slipped off awa' to France, leaving

the clans to suffer the noose and the lash:

never put thy trust in princes. Play a pibroch

on the pipes, play the Flowers of the Forest

for the many young lads, play it slowly and lowly,

not for the Taliban ministers of the kirk

but for the last of the Afghans in the UK.

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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I myself dislike suffering, Brendan.

 

Pain is guid, mo chuisle. Make a friend of pain

or ye'll gan all soft ...

 

Spend all of ten long years

building a Parllyament, in which

naturally enough, nothing happens.

Gang the whoo da wha. Snort. Spit

in your neighbour's porridge, search

for further avenues of deprivation, split

Presbyterianism into even colder shards ....

It does seem that some have a long and complicated path.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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