Part of being a Scot is to feel conquered,
made outlaw in your own lands,
abandoned to foreign shores and
if that itself needed healing then I was proud
to try for the sake of the others to return to an embodiment.
Before that troubled imprint, a land apart,
and isles of parts, of shagged bark and burred wind.
A people identified by rock and soggy wool
by stone and hearth and breaking braes
one, and full of heart and spleen and kidney and knees of sinew
family and the sense of where they were together
gathered to eat and sing.
The conquering is not all they endured and our memory
is not lost withal.
I was in warm blooded company, yet
even as those shores were full of bounty, these are my people too,
the disenfranchised, the ones who pick up and move on and strive.
I should be honored to count them mine, count myself
worthy of healing those desperate exiles that choose to be
at rest until maybe they awaken their own nakedness without place,
for it’s there: the need to know where they came from
where their blood fizzes like tonic, like fermentation,
like the drone of bagpipes or the hum from a menhir
the calls to prayer, they are bastions buried but not gone.
Our waking is painful though the sleep had been balm
untenable to the warrior’s soul for long.
-kerry e mckenna