Croick

It was the worst time of the year too;
In the summer we might have borne it better,
But they chose to wait till
Winter had a good grip 
And the Factor and his men a better one.

The burning it was that finished us,
With the bairns screaming and
The cailleachs wailing like banshees.
The thatch went up like a torch and nothing to stop it.
The memory scorches me:
Standing in the snow clutching the youngest
While our glen went up in smoke
And the anger burned in us.

The Factor and his cronies
- heartless to the last man of them -
Showed no mercy.
If there’s Justice beyond,
They’ll roast in a fire of their own making.

We took what we could from
The ruins of our lives
- precious little we’d had and
Even less left in the ashes.
In our sore need we turned to the kirk.
Sad and weary was the walk to Croick
And what welcome did we find there?
- a locked door and a stern face,
And the anger burned in us.

We huddled against a snell wind
In the lee of the kirk.
The men put up a shelter of sorts
And we made do,
As people must who have nothing.
The dying was of grief as much as cold
And every day a grinding struggle.
And the anger burned in us.

Of the journey here I will say nothing;
Necessity drives a long, hard road.
We made a life of sorts in this strange land
But still my thoughts turn east
To an empty glen and
An English Duke who sits in splendour
With the stink of burning thatch on his silk clothes.

And the anger burns in me yet.

© Elfstone 16/4/04
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