Alba – Victoria Hamilton

I saw him in the back room.
His frail hands
And words didn’t fly,
More a float
With no signs of sinking.
They hung in the ale stained air,
Favoured Scots.
That harsh clicking drawl
Framed fractures
Of feelings and far flung travels.

I’m obliged to write in this
Mother tongue.
Adopted really
By boat men
And famine bent workers.
Verbs and nouns counted their way
Down family
Lines, abandoned towns.
The road from
Gweedore to Shettleston’s long

And the sentiment’s strong
In the snugs
And terraces my
Friends frequent.
Our sassenach names and
Emerald hearts stand apart
From the slave
Ships and bonds that built
Scotland.
Her foundations forced on the

Bones of an Empires song.
They made her,
My forefathers fought
Her battles.
They built her brick by brick,
Connected track by iron track
They filled her
Tenements with life,
Her ship yards
With sarcasm and laughter.

In the midst of discontent
She bore me.
Not out of love, a
Mother that
Moulded and broke me.
She bound me up and thrust me
Out, immersed
In her waterways,
She drowned
Me with poets and thinkers.

So whose pen tells her Freedom? Whose lips
Dare not speak her tongue?
She cast me
Out of the garden
To rot in her dole queues
And dank schemes.
A wandered teen
I deny
Her and all her shortbread pomp.

So this is why I write.
Not for her
Islands, oil or troops
Those bonny
Glens and low land stoops.
But for McNulty’s and
Connellys,
O’Carrolls
And Donechys
Who carved the rock on which she

Stood. So together we stand
Wrapped in a
Cloak of saltire blue.
For freedom
Has no native tongue,
She binds no ethnic
Glue. Our bonds
Are built in
Steel and stone
The bedrock of proud Alba.

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About aloudqmu

Aloud is a monthly poetry and spoken word open mic night, and literary magazine. We are based in Glasgow University's Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Here we wish to publish performance videos from our open mic nights, event updates, and the writing featured in our monthly Aloud Magazine, and some of the writing that didn't quite make the final cut.
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