Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You There, In the Plaid

As the new son of an old nation
you got a gentle start
in pastoral South Lanarkshire
schoolboy days in Paris
wine, wisdom and worldliness
how soon the world can turn

Dispossessed of your ancestral lands
but never the blue and green tartan
cursed by the Crown
friend-in-arms of the Bruce
defeated at Methven and Dalrigh
victor at Brander, Roxburgh, Bannockburn

A hard life during hard times
made more so for the wars
that never seem to end

Sometimes on a walk
through the green grounds at St. Bride’s Kirk
I imagine your thick, black mane
damp with sweat and others’ blood
I can almost hear
your deep baritone thunder
across the plane of battle
Ye shall all die, thieves of England!

Gentle and sweet over pints and in love
all fury and ferocity in a good fight
beloved yet savage ancestor
we owe you all

And for reproducing before your final clash
on the frontiers of Andalucia
Thank you

As true as your spirit lives on
I will follow thee or die

~ J. D. Mackenzie

[Based on the following Poetry on Wednesday week 9 prompt: WHO AM I? Write a poem about a well know person, celebrity, historical or mythical figure. Please do not reveal the name. It should be fun to guess who it is.]


  1. Mel Gibson?
    Lovely lilt and historical flavour to this.
    Could not be William Wallace because he did not fight in Spain. It has to be the head of the MacKenzie Clan or the Black Douglas?

  2. Maybe on the wrong track, but thinking Spanish Civil War, Nationalists - no name comes to me.

  3. Miss Pommeroy is warm, but was born warm about such things and has instincts beyond our grasp. Stan is right on the continent but about 600 years too late. Not Gibson, maybe a mate of his?

  4. Hi JD,

    I was thinking The Bruce (posthumously!) but also wondered if the Chief of MacKenzie might feature. However, I think Rall has it!

  5. Not the Bonnie Prince? I'm unsure of my Scots history; am I a couple of centuries out?


  6. I'm not entirely sure, but your mention of the Bruce has me thinking it's Sir James Douglas, maybe?

    The poem itself is lovely and has an epic air to it. Everything culminates to the last two lines, which have an inspirational feel all their own. There is Scottish in my family line, on my mother's side. I can feel a tingle in my skin after reading your poem.


  7. This is a beautiful walk through history, and it has me thinking what a great assignment this would be for middle school students.

    The lilt of your words is lovely. I read this aloud to my husband--it is a splendid trip off the tongue. rhythm in story...

    Don't know who it is, but Rallentanda's Mel Gibson guess made me laugh out loud. ha!

  8. JD
    I know Robert Roy McGregor well maybe ;)

  9. I'm not very good with Scottish history, but I discovered it's James "The Black" Douglas after a bit of research. Your poem definitely piqued my interest, so I'll have to read more about him.

  10. All ~ this was sooo much fun. Yes, it's Sir James Douglas, whom I found quite interesting. And I'm a sucker for independence movements. We're not related that I know of, but we both favor green and I think we're the same kilt size.

  11. JD--Another beautiful poem! Your poetry is wonderful--hard to believe you haven't been doing this forever!

    Thanks so much for your kind message on my blog--which I haven't been paying much attention to recently. I am definitely trying to write--in fact, taking a writing class in NYC, but I seem to be suffering poor confidence in my poetry recently and some writer's block, too. So, your message is definitely appreciated! Hate to take up too much space writing to you here...but your webpage doesn't show an email address so am replying on your blog. Anyhow, I'll try to put aside my hesitations, write, and post. Hope you're having a great summer, Robin

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