A History Lesson by Mandy Macdonald

Strathnaver, May 1819:


They smashed through our windows,

they tore off our doors,

they burned our roofs of peat and living turf.

In a cold springtime,

they left our children wailing, our elders dying, our herds scattered in terror.

They drove us into ships, into the sea.


In a hundred years

there will be nothing to see in this place

but tumbled stones, faint hollows

where once neat tighean stood,

long-cold hearths among the grass and nettles,

bright saplings of rowan.


Their magic did not save us.



Calais, March 2016:


Here we have

no windows, no doors,

no roof

They drive us from the shelters of canvas, cardboard, plastic, duct tape, rope,

in which we have barely endured the winter.

They set fire to our tents and shacks;

everything is gone, everything is mud,

everything mangled, suffocated in mud.


In this alien place rain falls all the time

but they are driving us even from here

with riot shields, fire, gas, as if this too were war.

We ask whether we are human, when humans treat us thus.


In a hundred years

there will be nothing to see in this place

but concrete:

a vast flat lorry park, motorway’s anteroom, oilrag

for the ceaseless machinery of trade, the pointless flow of money.

Or there may be nothing here at all

but the bleak, clouded edge of an encroaching sea.


Their cruelty will not save them.



3 thoughts on “A History Lesson by Mandy Macdonald

  1. Pingback: A History Lesson by Mandy Macdonald | Celfypridd

  2. Pingback: Donald Trump has got yellow eyes | debasis mukhopadhyay

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