Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Atholl Road

"East, west, home's best" runs the saying and who can disagree? Certainly not Christine Orr in this poem about the road through Atholl and the Pass of Kiliecrankie in Perthshire which she regards as the best, despite recounting such a list of other evocative Scottish placenames.

         The Atholl Road

There are some that love the Border-land and some the Lothians wide,
   And some would boast the Neuk o' Fife and some the banks o' Clyde,
And some are fain for Mull and Skye and all the Western Sea;
   But the Road that runs by Atholl will be doing yet for me.

The Road it runs by Atholl and climbs the midmost brae
   Where Killiecrankie crowns the pass with golden woods and gay;
There straight and clean 'twas levelled where the Garry runs below
   By Wade's red-coated soldiery two hundred years ago.

The Road it strikes Dalwhinnie where the mountain tops are grey
   And the snow lies in the corries from October until May;
Then down from bleak Ben Alder by Loch Ericht's windswept shore
   It hastes by Dalnaspidal to the howes of Newtonmore.

The Road it runs through Badenoch, and still and on it rings
   With the riding of the clansmen and a hundred echoings;
Oh, some they rode for vengeance and some for gear and gain,
   But some for bonnie Charlie rode, and came not home again.

The Road it runs by Alvie - you may linger if you list
   To gaze on Ben Muich-Dhuie and the Larig's cup of mist;
There are pines in Rothiemurchus like a gipsy's dusky hair,
   There are birch-trees in Craigellachie like elfin silver-ware.

The Road it runs to Forres, and it leaves the hills behind,
   For the roving winds from Morayshire have brought the sea to mind;
But still it winds to northward in the twilight of the day,
   Where the stars shine down at evening on the bonny haughs of Spey.

Oh, there's some that sing of Yarrow stream, Traquair and Manor-side,
   And some would pick the Neuk o' Fife, and some the banks o' Clyde;
And some would choose the Pentlands, Cauldstaneslap to Woodhouselee,
   But the Road that runs by Atholl will be doing yet for me!

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