Bidean nam Bian

On Saturday, 25th January, I’ll be heading off with my better half, to some friends in Ayr, to celebrate the annual homage to Rabbie Burns. Each of us has a part to play. This year I’ll be opening the singing and poems with a rendition of Ae Fond Kiss. Everyone will, thereafter, take turns at singing traditional Scottish songs or reciting poetry. The whisky will flow and, before we know it, even the shy folk will be clamouring to start another, with cries of, ‘Who knows this wan?’ 

My contribution will be this song I’ve written, about, possibly, my most favourite place on earth. I started singing the first verse last week while driving home from work then left it. Two successive 4.01a.m. rises, these last two mornings, insisted on the rest.

(source)

My heart’s in the heilins fae dusk untae dawn

My soul’s bidin’ wi’ it; it’s where I belong

Where three sisters are guardin’ their people below

Heart and soul in the heilins; in the wilds ae Glencoe.

 

The mountains, they measure the years that amass

As history’s sentinels, none can surpass

Testifying to troubles as clouds frame their peaks

Witnessing joys, have their lessons to teach.

 

While wind whips the weather, they stand for us aw

Against all adversity; backs to the wa’

They’re stalwart and strengthened, determined to rise

Fae the soil, wi’ good reason, they reach for the skies.

 

The streets ae the city seem uncouth an’ unclean

Hashin’ an’ bashin’ and fashin’ ma dreams

Ma soul wants tae be where the air’s fresh and free

Bidean nam Bian calls, ‘Come thee tae me’

 

The sisters, they beckon, ‘Come, feel what we feel

The spirit ae freedom, untarnished and real

We thrive where we’re planted tho’ folk trespass our paths

Formidable, fantastic and we have the last laugh.

 

The brave and the stupid, we’ve seen them a’ here

Cautious and careless, some showin’ nae fear

We wait an’ we watch while they navigate steps

One at a time till they’re out ae their depths.’

 

The mountains remember each climber, each fa’

They know who has loved them when none cared at a’

Respect is their due while they lend us their land

They’ll lead us tae skyline if we take their hand

 

Who can negate them, who ignore what they’ve seen

Who disnae listen tae their hopes and their dreams

While they push against gravity, reveal hidden glens

The mountains of Glencoe hold truth’s treasured gems

 

They’ve watched as their weans fought ower cattle an’ grass

Wept at the massacre there in the Pass

Whistled the wind while it whispered their tales

And when no one listened, regaled them in gales

 

Remember their hist’ry, absorb what they feel

Filter through cloud’s fog, clear the mists tae what’s real

When I’m in the heilins I’m hame and I’m free

An’ the path tae the heilins hauds its haun oot tae me.

 

Aye, ma heart’s in the heilins fae dusk untae dawn

My soul’s bidin’ wi’ it; it’s where I belong

Where Bidean nam Bian hums, ‘Know what we know,

Come, find yersel’ in the soul of Glencoe.’

Transitions

Silhouetted dawn, the boundaries blurring

Separation into liminal

Night and day contrive while skylines warring

Threshold held before peak critical

 

War of worlds, deprived from ever meeting

Till, pressured light, through darkness, pivotal

Accorded prominence, afforded being

Daily battle reaches pinnacle

 

Bricks and mortar, ‘neath, sleep undiscerning

Fragile humans held subliminal

Awakening to the miracle of morning

Unseen conflict, disturbance minimal

 

But, arise before encounter is commencing

Witness struggle rarely visible

Master of the night holds firm till light, absolving

Reaffirms all life’s transitional

 

Foot-weary soldiers, rest, for day is dawning

Though battles rage, by turns, they’re integral

Nothing’s lost while we are still proclaiming

The yoke of darkness never shall prevail

 

Bullshite and Empathy

A cautious, ‘Hi’, here.

My response to Mark, at https://healingyourheartfromwithin.com.au/2019/08/28/empathy/

was becoming rather lengthy so I figured, make a post of it.

I reckon there are others who feel as I do.

Forgive me, Mark, please, for using a comment as a post. Haven’t quite mastered the art of brevity.

Hi Mark, the prodigal Scot is dipping her toes back in WP waters and you’re the first one I came across in my comments. I don’t even know if I’ll read anything else.

No, I’ll visit Beth at Colemining. You and she are two of strong connection. And that might be it.

Some of the lovely people I had met on here don’t figure in my thoughts when I’m away. That’s just life. Fleeting moments of remembrance and brief connection and we move on.

I hardly know why I’ve been away so long but your post has struck a chord.

Empathy.

It’s a bugger for me. Not only me. I was speaking to one of my sons recently and he was feeling emotionally and mentally drained to the point of …not depression…but similar… a hopelessness. He works with troubled young people while also studying at uni. He feels. He feels the world. It’s painful. I tried to explain what you are saying, in your post, but I don’t think I got it myself.

One of my daughters is the same. Mostly, the others of my crew practise a lot of sublimation. Or, maybe they just deal with the part of the world they have any control over and they’re better at separating the two than some of us are. Force them, and they’ll talk. They’ll give their opinions. They’ll tell you their beliefs. But, mostly, they get on with life. And I try to do the same.

But a few of us here struggle with the realities of what is happening all over and fluctuate between action and inaction, depending on how much energy we have left after dealing with life.

Empathy. The drain.

I’m struggling with the world. My own corner of it. What a mess is going on here. That’s kind of why I’ve been absent from WP. I decided to do something instead of writing and talking about it. But I’m not sure that what I’m doing is making any difference. Any more than words would.

Communication, for me, has always been key to dealing with people. Although, frankly, I don’t really relish being with people. It’s like I love humanity but I’m not so fond of it on an individual basis.

Someone once described an introvert as a person who can party hard with everyone else but needs a long time to recover. I rather liked that description. It fits who I am. I’m compelled to deal with people – kids, mostly – all day and, at the end of it, I just want to sit quietly in a corner. But I can’t, for the most part, because life demands and commands.

I began to take a more active role in politics last year, in the belief that actions speak louder than words. I still think that’s the case but those who have the time for action tend not to be holding down a full-time job and managing a household. Something always suffers. My writing has. It has become the last thing I do after everything else.

But it’s been bugging me. The same son I was speaking of earlier told me once, ‘Mum, writing’s a constant for you in your life. You always return to it.’

He gets me. The lass who feels the same also writes – in between living.

And that’s the shitty bit.

Something that constantly returns, but has to be put on hold, suffers neglect because arseholes are making a mess of doing the job they’re supposed to be doing.

I’d have been sacked for less.

And quite rightly.

They have all day, every day, to manipulate the world and I – we – are ants in the middle of it. Working till we drop.

I can’t stop seeing a bigger picture. It’s hazy. But not as hazy as I’d like it to be. All too clear, in lots of ways. And I’m bleeding energy for the state of the world.

What do I do about that, Mark?

How do I make empathy work for me? For the world? Because, right now, all it’s doing is draining me of the hope that has been as constant as the writing.

Thank god, right now, we have the September Weekend – a four-day break from work that’s a Scottish holiday. How I need it!

 

I had no intention of posting anything on WP. Hasn’t even figured in my mind at all in months. But, your post, Mark, speaks to me. I just don’t get it.

I don’t know how to separate what I think and feel from my energy source. When I think, I feel. When I feel, I’m exhausted.

I need a course on how not to let thinking and feeling drain me.

I need to retire, quite frankly!

But, I’m not going to do that until I see a world fit for my kids. This momma didn’t raise no cannon fodder!

Just tell me how to stop feeling everything and letting it bleed me dry.

If not, tell me a joke so’s I can laugh and move on.

And, I’m only half kidding.

I need a laugh to deal with the bull.

Thank god, I have a few comedians here who keep me smiling despite angst. Great leveller is humour. And so much truth in it too.

(There’s a slight glitch in the video but it only lasts seconds and it’s well worth hearing till the end)

Seeds Assigned

A seed, some soil, the skill

The will and willing

A hook, a line, some bait

And world revolves

The rising and the effort

These things telling 

Of evolved and elements

With basics solved

 

A pestilence, a shark 

The challenge waiting 

Some ingenuity, against the odds,

And life goes on

Then cultivators, trailing nets

The size of mammon,

Defeat survival

This phenomenon

 

A scourge upon all husbandry

And basics

Though sources rich

The system undermines

So what is grown, is caught

Is earned for living

Becomes not yours or ours

But is assigned

 

Till effort, willing, rising

Is diminished

Impotent deviations

Futile highs

An abstract of all life

The givers, taken,

Conceptual norms

Becoming life despised

 

A mere idea defeating

What is normal

A notion of all functions

In control

Of beneficiaries

In a shameful structure

Begs the question

What, exactly, is our role?

Head For Home

It must be evident, to anyone tuned into Westminster politics, that the representatives, elected by the Scottish people, are out of place in that house. It is a house of representation for English politicians. Numbers and attitude confirm that this is no union of equal nations. So be it. @SNP, come on home. Build bridges here.

You’ve done all you can

With ideas, open hands

Eyes and ears ever mindful

To their plans

They’ve made grave mistakes

Now we need a break

They’re ‘on the make’

We must be done

 

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

 

You’ve ‘seen all the frowns

On the faces of the clowns’

Ignore the vows that they made

Unguaranteed

And you’ve heard all the noise

From Westminster’s prams and toys

‘But they don’t mean a’ thing

If we’re not free

 

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

 

You’ve been to that place in that town

Where their words let us down

While they ‘stare at each other’

You’ve lampooned them

‘Screamed at the moon’

They behaved like buffoons

And you’ve discovered

 

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

 

You’ve travelled the land

Their trajectory, crash land

Seen their faces in that place

Misunderstand

Yes, you’ve witnessed their world

Seen their tactics unfurled

And their ‘noise

That destroys and commands’

 

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

Head for home

‘Run as fast as you can

Oh-oh-oh run’, repeat, come right on home

 

Where Extremes Meet

Imbalanced, unsteady

World out of whack

Cosmos chaotic

Can we find our way back?

 

Heavens to hell

We’re caught in between

Is anyone listening?

Do you know what I mean?

 

Richest to poorest

Filet mignon to mince

Palace to pavement

Paupers, crown prince

 

Eden to Gaza

Stripped of what’s best

Points of the compass

Confused east to west

 

Morbid obesity

Starved unto death

Billionaires, beggars

Comfort, bereft

 

Extremes in nature

Whole world in flux

Empathic encounters

While some give no fucks

 

Leisurely, lazy

Or worked to the bone

Temperate to pissed

Hyped-up to stoned

 

Scales have all shifted

They’re whirling like mad

Weighed down or lifted

Sky-high or launch-pad

 

Graven pretenders

Vying with Christ

Compassion, contemptible

Virtue and vice

 

A planet imploding

With greed, avarice

Don’t know about you

But I never voted for this

 

Button to reset

That might be the plan

Pit one against other

Warring woman to man

 

Polarised humanity

Silenced, shrill scream

Trying to stay upright

On an unsteady beam

 

Pendulum’s swinging

And the clock’s ticking down

Minutes to midnight

Of tragedy and clowns

 

Terrified faces

Rictus, raw smiles

Fiddles on scary

No deliverance for miles

 

We’re caught on a swing

With a g-force of ten

Tensioned to torment

Released, repeated again

 

Scrambling brains

By the power of extreme

While I’m seeking balance

Please say you know what I mean

 

Virtuality

Related image

(source)

While you were preoccupied, I stole into your home

You never noticed what I took even when I’d been and gone

I confiscated basic things, the ones that you’d ignored

And you were just so busy, I was not overheard

While sat before the TV, you did not see me there

And, if you had, would you have done a thing to show you cared

I don’t believe that you deserve to own the things withdrawn

For you were quite oblivious to what was going on

Distracted as you were by ice, by factors x and y

You have no right to now complain, to wring your hands and cry

So what, if now, you note they’re gone and want and need them there

I took them for my own ends and, quite frankly, I don’t care

I hold those things you thought were yours; your freedoms and your rights

Uninsured, no guarantee when unguarded out of sight

If you had raised your eyes, but once, beyond an oblong screen

How different might your future be, you might have looked and seen

That I am here, I’m always here, to steal the things you need

My raison d’etre: money, power; to satisfy my greed

Another chance? A do-over? A more attentive you?

Too late, too bad, you did not fight. You know my words are true.

Now here I stand instead of you, your rights crushed in my hand

Corruption rules, you did not move to fight nor make a stand

Escapades on gogglebox became reality

Back to your box

Or resist remote

Tune-out controlled TV

Run Aground

Tales rotated, deceits abound

Their fabrications bounce, rebound

Slander, libel, our name defiled

Grudges nurtured, to rule, divide

Shit dissembled, a masquerade

Phoney fuckers throwing shade

Of feigning union, but monopoly

Power retained, their sovereignty

Documentation disproving lies

Prove fact and fiction falsified

Mendacious masking ricochets

Reverberations in these days

Working, waiting, building trust

To re-establish what is just

Claim of Right intensified

Independence, morally justified

Tales rotated, deceits rebound

The Act of Union run aground

Finaglers’ Devices

 

Bigger plans afoot than senseless, stupid

Perception seeks and sees manoeuvred sin

The meanwhiles gather, rapid with intention

In situ, gaseous masking, febrile spin

 

Disbelieve the engineers, finagling

Devices, masterminded, coast to coast

Fools in place, distracting jesters, hoaxing

While masterminding prize that’s valued most

 

Counted heads and costed revolutions

Epic portraiture in snapshot ink

Of war in peace, acceptance in the psyche

Governance, by gaslight, doublethink

 

Rest Ye And Be Thankful

Rest ye and be thankful when the mountains give respite

When the road that is less travelled reveals the truth of right

Though the years eroded potency and restraints reined your might

Rest ye and be thankful for the end is soon in sight

 

Rest ye and be thankful that you sought to climb the peak

That you spoke when speaking mattered for you had the right to speak

That you told and taught the stories that someone had to teach

Rest ye and be thankful for the goal is now in reach

 

Rest ye and be thankful as the future cries your name

For the stalwarts, armed with stamina, once rested, feel no pain

From mountain tops to steep ravines, words echo through the glens

Rest ye and be thankful then stir and rise again