Scottish Poetry Selection
- Exile

Many of those who emigrated from Scotland - even those who did so more or less willingly - often have feelings of longing for the land of their birth. Even when their new home has lots of advantages compared to what they left, they can still have regrets - as in this poem by R S Craig, who has fond memories of the Scottish Borders.


O The heart is often weary and the eyes are often strained,
   Looking wistful on the ocean and its ways;
In the bitter hour of exile what in Heaven have we gained
   For the land we loved and left in other days?
The sun is thrice as golden and the sky is thrice as fair,
   And the earth is thrice as lavish, but to me
They can never bring the glory and the gladness that is there -
   Where the Teviot ripples softly to the sea.

We have raised a mighty country by the ways our fathers taught,
   And a continent has opened to our touch;
We are fingering the issues with a sunny future fraught,
   We have ventured, we have won and gathered much.
But at times the heart is heavy, and the tongue can never tell
   What a loss, beyond retrieving, came to me;
What an ache and what a longing when the dreary darkness fell,
   And the Teviot sank in silence to the sea.

0, the years will bring us glory, and our children will forget,
   In the happy land we gave them, what it cost!
It will be a Golden Legend in their memory, and yet -
   Can they ever quite recover what we lost?
When the wattle waves above us, and our fantasy is nought,
   May its sleepy, leafy rustle bring to me,
Once again, but back for ever, all the many things I thought -
   Where the Teviot ripples softly to the sea!

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