Poem – ‘There are worse things to be than small and free’
At Bellacaledonia we love our poetry and the opportunity to share with you new work that we feel displays the diversity coming out of Scotland. Either written by those from Scotland or who have come to make it their home, we are honoured to share with you written work we think demonstrates the national mood.
This poem by Orla ní Dhúill, an Irish poet, feminist and activist based in Edinburgh.
What does it mean to be small and independent?
I’m only 5’ 3’’ and depending on the day people still listen to me.
See that I’m small and independent but exactly the right size for my internal organs,
Despite warnings against getting too big or worries I’m getting too thin.
In small there is still space to be welcoming,
Not about who we’re letting in, but what we’re letting them in to
So my garden may be small but I know where the soil drains best
Where the south-west evening sun hits the back wall
All them in the RHS down in Devon and Kent can say that April is the last frost date
But we know it can be as late as May
Say the geraniums are fine to plant out now
But you can’t see what these hills can do from down there
There will always be those who think your ownership of yourself
Is against common sense, it’s not safe to go alone take a protectorate role
Told growing flowers is for girls by same fools
Who don’t know how to use a spade, or get their hands dirty
Surely imperfection is inevitable, but with independence
There is space for the smallest garden to grow without imposing on any indentured host
Most of all I would like to live in that promise of work,
Where the world shapes many a better nation.