If you would like to comment on my book, "No Great Mischief If They Fall" you can visit my page "Tales Of Scotland" on Facebook. You will also find some fascinating and lesser known stories from Scotland's past.
I write when something inspires me. "No Great Mischief If They Fall" simply poured out of me , after I realised how close in time the Jacobite Rebellion was to the French and Indian War. The same people could have fought in both . Across the Highland Fault Line. Not between mountain and lowland but between other and part of. From the Act of Proscription 1746 to every Scotsman getting married in a kilt. Before and After. The gap between the clansmen at Culloden and the Highlanders formed in defiant squares at Waterloo seems huge, yet somewhere in between are the men of the 78th Fraser Highlanders who first bridged the divide.
Here is a poem I wrote in September 2014, just after the Scottish Independence Referendum . If you like this poem , you will probably like my book. They share an acknowledgement of complex identity . It flowed from my 19 year old son telling me how, coming home from a polling day rally, he had thrown down his "Yes" badge in disappointment , after the result was known. It expresses how I genuinely felt that same day. I did not intend the ending to be ambiguous .
"A Drunk Man Looks at a "YES" Badge"
There you lie, discarded on the ground
Your only saving grace, you didn't land face down.
Worn with such fervent prayer,
Dropped in disbelief, despair.
Saltire blue, uncomplicated white,
Three simple letters, A Claim of Right.
What will we tell our grandchildren about 2014,
When independence was more than a dream,
When a nation's destiny , was within our grasp,
A pencil's kiss, was it too much to ask ?
I recall, in the booth, a lover's frisson,
Such a simple act, to end our union.
For I have loved thee, Britannia, I cannot deny
Choristers' " Jerusalem" has brought a tear to my eye.
Born into an empire on which the sun never set,
How could I take the "Great" from Britain without regret ?
How could I do, what Hitler could not,
End the United Kingdom, betray those who fought ?
My hand trembled , as I held that pencil tight,
A choice between great loves, did not seem right.
Yet, I have sung too many of Scotland's songs,
Decried the "Parcel of Rogues" and other wrongs.
I have with William Wallace often bled,
Well, while supping a dram and in my head.
I have stood with Calgacus, Last of the Free,
Howling at the invader, " Wha Daur Meddle Wi' Me !"
I have plead with King James, not to descend Branxton Hill,
Watching, in horror, as we lose Flodden still.
Amid the sweaty crush of the schiltron , I have stood,
Defending my wee bit glen, with ancient ancestral blood.
So, when to the Feast Hall, I finally go,
How could I face my forebears and tell them, I voted "No" ?