Highlands and Island Road Trip

No more NaPoWriMo. Have to make my own poetry prompts. So a poem inspired by one site we visited on Day 2 of our Highlands and Island road trip in Scotland. If you are not familiar with the story of the Highland clearances the Badbea Clearance Village is a stark image of why migration, going away from all they knew was the only option for survival. The landlords wanted good grazing for more profitable sheep. Tenants were shunted off to marginal land. Literally marginal land as Barbea clearly illustrates.


Badbea  Clearance Village

Their new place

was made of sandstone and mica chist

Heather and ling, sphagnum moss,

barely a blaeberry.

Gorse, of course.

The sea below offered 

herring scholls, gulls eggs

to be picked from cliff nests.

But it was a sheer drop

150 feet or more.

They were made to build

their own boundary wall.

Paid to pen themselves off.

Scoured by North Sea winds

they tethered their beasts

and children, too.

Everything else

had already been snatched away.

They’d been pushed far enough.

Clear off.

Copyright Bee Smith 2019

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