What’s your connection with Scotland?
Well it seems that I owe it my birth:
Mum met dad in Dundee.
And they later had me.
Could that be connection enough?
I’m afraid I have never been back there.
Perhaps you were hoping for more
Of a recent connection –
With local inflection?
I’m sorry to seem like a bore.
Though my parents went touring the Highlands
And they both played to Edinburgh crowds;
Spent some time up in Perth
With old friends and much mirth –
Still, I’m not sure it could be allowed.
For I never have eaten a Mars bar
That’s been battered and dunked in a vat.
I don’t fling, or toss cabers;
Quote Burns to the neighbours;
Wear kilts with no undies and that.
So perhaps you cannot call me Scottish;
More a botched-up attempt at a clan.
Though my dreams were conceived there,
I won’t be believed fer
A wee bonnie lassie o’Glen.
I do not know their faces
Nor the shape of their hopes
Smiles or holy days
Though their names are familiar
Their dead branches whisper to me
Cut off long before I grew
To stretch my own limbs skyward
Drinking in the warmth of life
Pollarded by the Shoah
They were dead wood
Judged and executed
Their elder fruits
Repackaged and distributed
To nourish the living
Old shoes, clothes, handbags
Torahs pulped for toilet paper
To wipe the arse of the aggressor
Marching through ancestral Europe
Kicks supplied on demand
At discount rates
An eye for an eyeful
A bullet for a broken bone
Until I stand here
Weary of remembrance
Sighing in the comfort of
Read Primo Levi and think of
Stage directions for a ‘war’ film
Complain about my own
Knowing we can never again
Afford to plead our ignorance
Of the mechanised
Bestiality of man