Edinburgh, 12th September, 2005
ancient Scottish castles don't decay. They get refurbished.
The colourful tartans of the clans no longer clash in battle.
The spoils of the earth aren't gratefully received.
The peoples of the Northern Isles don't emigrate
and raise sheep in Patagonia.
I love this little country because it's enormous
in what it has and some day will possess.
I'm not the only one who's here. Five million others are peering
through the cracks of its history: the Nordic invasions, battles with
Mary Stuart, the Greenock shipyards, the miners and the fishermen, the
poets, artists, artisans, all the innovators and inventors and Mr. Hamish
Henderson singing, for my mother-in-law -and in Italian too - an old song
of the war-time partisans.
Scotland, there aren't precise formulas by which to calculate
where its languages begin and end. I know that there are secrets. Many
and many insubstantial phantoms.
Around the harbours, gusts of wind, fishermen at sea, dramas and delights.
And ashore, landscapes and loveliness that move me back to my own childhood.
are the moles, forever scraping at the earth. The salmon absorbed by all
of their complex existence. There are the Celtic gods with harps and violins.
And us, together with those now dead, who did not leave without first
giving me their love.