seallaidh-tìre (landscape – a poem, perhaps)

…ice-scoured tongue-scape rising from the sea. Each Gaelic-gifted name-place, of hill, of river, of beach, of bay, of headland, of pass, of time, of space smooth-softened into place. Feet treading paths populated by ghosts, spirits of the land guiding exploration. Low, broad walls whose turf-topped tracks bounded by mortar-less concentric bands of stone stubbornly refuse to fall. Roofless, lifeless testament of attempted genocide.
See? Where? Sea-ware. Kelp-skelped. Ruin.
Children of the Norse clinker-carried upon the sea, cast adrift to cast line, net and pot for salt-seasoned harvest, many themselves cast into the boiling sea. Husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, nephews lie scattered round the shore. Sacrificial homage paid in exacting price.
Fisher, Fissure, Craic, Crack.
Gneiss, niece of granite, rocks of ages, rocks of eons, rocks of cradles. Peat, moss, heather, moor, run the rig no more. Lazily the rippled land sprouts forth small yielding. Blight. Famine. Laud the land. In ports, import of grain, sustain, but emigration’s this season’s crop. Seven-hundred souls. A fair return? (no return).
Pest-i-cide, gen-o-cide, you-de-cide. Clear a path. Clear a way. Clear away. Clearance
Clock chimes the quarter
Quarter the clans
Cull them.
Clearance. Clear rants. Clear rats. Like vermin.
Factor in the Factor. Blame is absent. Landlord is absent. Nature abhors a vacuum.
Factor in greed. Blame apportioned. Lord it over the landless. Nature has no dominium.
till the land
reveals bones long-buried.
cleaving, displacing,
overturning communities.
Improvement. Impoverishment. Chart the ice-scoured tongue-scape…


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