(Poem #1172) Scotland Small?
Scotland small? Our multiform, our infinite Scotland _small_? Only as a patch of hillside may be a cliche corner To a fool who cries "Nothing but heather!" Where in September another Sitting there and resting and gazing around Sees not only heather but blaeberries With bright green leaves and leaves already turned scarlet, Hiding ripe blue berries; and amongst the sage-green leaves Of the bog-myrtle the golden flowers of the tormentil shining; And on the small bare places, where the little Blackface sheep Found grazing, milkworts blue as summer skies; And down in neglected peat-hags, not worked In living memory, sphagnum moss in pastel shades Of yellow, green and pink; sundew and butterwort And nodding harebells vying in their colour With the blue butterflies that poise themselves delicately upon them, And stunted rowans with harsh dry leaves of glorious colour "Nothing but heather!" -- How marvellously descriptive! And incomplete!
It's refreshing, especially in these troubled times, to find a poem that displays an unabashed love for one country without an accompanying disrespect (or worse) for others. MacDiarmid does not puff Scotland up with facile comparisons, he does not praise extravagantly, nor does he deprecate or stoop to condescension; he does not need to. His deep-felt connection with his land shines through in every word of his description; it's the _detail_ that makes the difference. thomas. PS. It's good to be back :) [Minstrels Links] England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales: Poem #65, Home Thoughts From Abroad -- Robert Browning Poem #1172, Scotland Small? -- Hugh MacDiarmid Poem #41, Ireland, Ireland -- Sir Henry Newbolt Poem #374, Psalm Of the Valleys -- Alex Pascall