The curlew makes his plaintive call
across the windy moorland.
Sheep stand in clumps,
huddled against the wind’s bite.
Overhead, the gulls shriek defiance
at the gusts threatening their flight.
Otherwise, the land is desolate,
apart from the shells of bothies,
jagged teeth in the sere landscape.
Once there were people, crofters,
clinging to the edge of subsistence.
People who appeared as
hard and forbidding as the land itself,
but on further acquaintance,
melted into warm friendliness.
The people and the land
They belonged together.
Land and people, existing in harmony.
Inseparable, entwined, belonging.
But the lairds came.
They saw that the land, that seemingly empty land,
could be used to make them richer.
Remove the unproductive people, and
fill the land with sheep. Fat sheep,
with lots of wool.
Now, something is gone from that land,
a richness and warmth,
as though the Spirit of Scotland has fled.