Clearances by Rob Cullen

Visiting Scotland lots of times over the years with my Scots wife and recognising Welsh place names and what they mean pointers to a history never taught. Visiting Ethiopia and witnessing the same process threatening nomadic peoples viewed to be savages by the ruling elite, And nomadic people are under threat worldwide today ignoring what they can teach about sustainability!

I am not a silent poet

I see my people’s names

in all the places I search

but I do not see them.

I read my people’s names

on the dry page of the folded map

but the land before me is empty.

I watch the landscape

identifying the marks

that my people have named

but the sound of their voices

is no longer heard.

They are quiet

no echoing of names called

no trail of our footprints

only the trail of names

in a land that calls itself

by a strangers name.

A land echoing in its emptiness.

The mountains are still with us

but we are nowhere seen.

“And we will present our eyes to the world.

Is it pretentions to believe that we are equal?

Is it asking too much that we want to live?”

(From Deliverance: Alan Stivell)

At Kinlochmoidart 1993.

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