Books for Independent Thinkers

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'The Long Island'

Gold on the machair,
silver the sand.
Sea set with sapphire,
jade, acquamarine.
Amethyst outcrops of
garneted gneiss,
Lazy-beds emerald,
carved olivine.
Filigree lochs laid on
moss-velvet land.
Topaz, jet, tiger-eye
tumbling peat stream.
Opal-fire sunsets in
smooth turquoise skies.

Jewelled archipelago.
Hebrides gleam.


'The Legacy'

Ye shuid hae bin a writer,
tellin o worthies like the wife
wi twa hooses, upstairs and doon
for fourteen bairns and grand names
for them aa. (Yin named for Baden-Powell
wis aye cried 'Puddin-Bowl'.)
Ye'd words tae bring back oil lamps, horses -
the life o Peg yir pownie
wis better nor Black Beauty -
and village kirks wi canglin bells.
'We are the State Church,' jawed the Auld;
'No ye're no! No ye're no!' the Free.
In baith the growin list o deid
read oot ilk Sunday o the war
that kilt yir first love, maimed the tither.

The neist war cam. And still ye fund
guid stories: in the clack o queues -
'I never thocht I'd see the day
I'd gang doon on ma knees jist fir
An ingyin' - or fitba experts
on a miners' bus - 'There's aye ae
puddin but this gemme there were twa.'
Ye saw the dug-fecht ower Forth Brig,
hail stairheids wave lads aff tae war.
Aye, ye cuid mak us lauch or greet
or bide the endin o lang tales
telt in the shelter while guns
and search-lichts probed the lift.

Ye shuid hae bin a writer
but remained 'Anon'. Gied me -
yer last gift - this machine tae type
braw Scots words learnt frae you. I'll
pass both them and it tae the lassie
wi her granny's name and wey wi stories.
And she can be a writer.


Marion Montgomery was born in Edinburgh. She has had poems published in New Writing Scotland, The Herald, Poetry Scotland and The Scots Magazine.

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