The unchanging moor, but heeds season’s call
To don her different well-coloured weeds,
My heart is cold, left lonely; waterfall
And bright babbling brook, pretend their proceeds
Quell the vast sorrows of this tranquil scene,
I feel unsure; their songs, certainly sweet,
Are not for me alone, my wise world, lean,
Licentious, and bear-hungry, may yet cheat
A mind trolling memories of childhood
Seeking honesty instead of light lies
Sculpted to suit a man misunderstood;
Such is the bard’s fate, much to his surprise.

Upset? It matters not, moss-covered stones
Suck at water droplets, eager for their
Life-giving properties; Nature hones
Her cunning ways, cites rainbows, in prayer:
I think, just a trick of refracted light,
Light dancing off water, and deceiving
Just when I need consolation’s slight
Kiss; just enough to convince that grieving,
Save for the broken heart of a lover,
May well be a good cure for all that ails
Dethroned desperados; love, left over
In a heaving heart, often-times prevails.

© Sam Gilliland. 5/2/18.

Residing in Scotland, Sam Gilliland is a champion of Lallans (the Scottish language) poetry and a recipient of Sangschaw’s prestigious MacDiarmid Tassie. With three previous collections of poetry published his work in Scots includes A Rickle O Banes (Penny Wheep Press). Founder/Secretary of Ayrshire Writers & Artists Society the organisation became the home of The Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, to which he devoted twenty eight years of his life as co-administrator and judge.

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9 Responses

    • Sam Gilliland

      Thank you, Joseph. I think that most distinguished minds accept an occasional dip into reality and deal with it accordingly. Decorum in poetry is a thing apart from decorum in life and I think, also, that lyrical ballads/poems often represent emancipation, in both cases. Thank heavens for poetry! Aye & aye, Sam.

  1. Carlijn

    As a young woman, I read books and consumed media about tragic young, waify girls with emotional problems. Girl, Interrupted comes to mind. And of course, I idealized the idea of being the beautiful, tormented girl whom everyone loves and says, “But she is so talented and so beautiful Like the hot, crazy, troubled girl. I knew SO many girls like this in the early and mid 90s.. Grunge culture didn”t help at all. So much of a “there is no space for the depth of my soul, my complicated being that is so tormented. I am not like you. And my difference makes me feel terrible and hate you all It”s not terribly dissimilar to what you”re describing here, except so much of our lives and self-destruction were focused around being a part of a man”s Kerouac-like destruction. Sitting next to him while he shot up, or cut himself, or trying to be his muse while starving ourselves and writing poetry that we showed nobody. Not long after, I discovered the best of Barbara Kingsolver”s first few books like The Bean Trees and suddenly I realized that wearing big boots was better if you were using them to kick ass, rather than skulk about.

    • Usa W. Celebride

      From Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”:

      “Oh, brook! Oh, foolish and tiresome little brook!” cried pearl, after listening awhile to its talk, “Why art thou so sad? Pluck up a spirit, and do not be all the time sighing and murmuring!”

  2. Sam Gilliland

    Interesting, Carlijn, that one would want to ‘kick ass’. Hardly the grandeur one expects
    when discussing the bit-parts of life. As to hate, that emotion is a bit like communism, self-destructive. Find refuge in poetry rather than venting spleen, or tilting at windmills. I suspect that there is a finely tuned lady beneath that gruff exterior, let her out! Aye & aye, Sam.

  3. James Sale

    There is a great ease of expression in Sam’s work that show true mastery. There is nothing wrong with ‘romanticism’ per se but as a pose it is cliched, and the great thing about Sam’s language is that it is refreshed all over again. I love “Such is the bard’s fate, much to his surprise.” especially as it rhymes non too obviously with ‘light lies’. I am continually surprised and delighted by the quality of his writing; it ought to have a wider audience and a major collection should be published by some publisher who understands what poetry is and what it can aspire to be.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Mr. Gilliland, is, in fact, a bard who wears the triple crown of Scots, Gaelic, and English in his works. This important truth of his life has been recognized by no less than Sangschaw, the foremost advocate of Scots language and poetry, when it awarded Mr. Gilliland the most important prize a bard could ever win, namely the MacDiarmid Tassie.

      We Americans often have a difficult time understanding poets whose verses reflect actual reality, primarily because our culture is completely divorced from it. Sam Gilliland’s poetry is not separable from his actual life. It is his very mode of existence. And I believe it is this singular fact which gives his verses all their force.

  4. Bard Eucewelis

    The changing forest heeds the season’s ever moving call of autumn, winter, spring and summer, back again to fall. We leave, but still recall the diamond waterfall we seek, that fell across the well-placed log upon the flowing creek. The melancholy of the scene comes from the broken heart that wishes it could start again, but has to be a…part. It’s true, the bard’s fate, much to his surprise, is hard as stone. He cannot stay with those he knew, he has to be alone. We all move on. But still it is not easy to forget the trickle of refracted light, the ferns, the trees, the friends.

  5. Sam Gilliland

    How incisive, Bruce. Normally my work epitomises life, obviously with a backward glimpse. Humility, I disguise in poetry and poetry offers the kind of distraction that leads to a positive response to all that has happened to me – even though I well understand the need to ‘not romanticise reality’. Frankly, I deliberately offer evocative liturgical lyrics purely to benefit our elegant art. What others do with this merely reinforces my feelings about the muse. My thanks to all involved is sincere and heartfelt. Aye & aye, Sam.


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