Saturday, 21 September 2013

Hame-comin



Gerda Stevenson's entry - Hame-comin - to the YES Arts Festival Poetry Challenge was selected as the winning poem by judges Allan Massie, Rosemary Goring and Tom Murray. The challenge was to respond to the words The Flooers of the Forest, in Jean Elliot's great song of that title, which is about the Battle of Flodden, this being the 500th anniversary of that tragedy. Gerda's response was a contemporary (international) take on war, written in the Scots language, the flooers in her poem being the opium poppies of Afghanistan.


 
 
Hame-comin
 
Hame, hame, hame on the truck,
the wheels grind their grumly air,
hame tae ma mither, ma faither, ma lass,
but I canna come hame in ma hert nae mair,
noo that ma fieres are laid in the grund,
and the desert sun has blurred ma een,
stour in ma mind frae yon cramasie flooer
that smoors aa pain on field and street,
no, I canna, canna come hame in ma hert
noo I’ve duin whit I’ve duin
(orders are orders, ye dae whit ye maun),
and I’ve seen whit I’ve seen:
 
oh, the bluid that brak through her skin
like a flooer frae its bud, yon bairn
that cam runnin, birlin, lauchin, skirlin
intae the faimily dance o mirth               
we blew tae hell like a smirr o eldritch confetti;
 
and noo I’m here, hame on the truck,
ma fieres in the grund, but I canna come hame
nae mair in ma hert, for hame’s naewhaur
when yer hert’s deid – nae langer sair – juist deid
wi dule and the wecht o bluid fallin like flooers,
cramasie flooers, that kill aa pain, smoor yer mind,
deid, deid, as the wheels grind.
 

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