2007 - 2021

Country Break

I thought it would be fitting
if we were driving North
to a holiday cottage in Aviemore,
our country rolling out before us, autumn-ripe.

But the NO signs threw me,
more than we expected,
in fields of ginger cows
beside roundabouts, on road signs.

We folded into bed early,
too tired to get close;
the kids suspended in sleep
under skylights and flowery duvets.

Like waiting for Christmas,
exam results or a pregnancy test,
we were practiced, meditative, reverent.

At 6.40am
our child’s first foot
in the grey daylight
of someone else’s living room.
I flicked to News 24
where Huw Edwards
sounded resigned, almost melancholy.
No need to sit there in dressing gown
before Cbeebies took rule.

I climbed the stairs to tell you.



Ciara Maclaverty is the 2017 recipient of a New Writers Award for Poetry from The Scottish Book Trust

Comments (12)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Andrew Hay McConnell says:

    Thank you Ciara Maclaverty for your excellent poem.
    I am very pleased to be contacted once again by Bella Caledonia along with blog posts.

  2. John Gourlay says:

    Excellent, Ciara.

  3. Bibbit says:

    Pensive poem indeed. invoking that sad, anti-climactic, snatched-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory- which-seems-to-be-our-lot-kinda-day.

    Ah but greet and we may yet bring the whole clamjamfray down.

  4. Bert Logan says:

    Made me think of that day. Anticlimactic but …

    In the pub mates drank and lamented,
    sure that it would be 15-20 years away for that next road trip.

    Now? 3 years and the pressure is immense. Majority parliament, brexit and right wing Tory hell.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “Now? 3 years and the pressure is immense. Majority parliament, brexit and right wing Tory hell.”

      And don’t forget the 56 SNP MP’s, i.e. de facto independence, albeit yet to be claimed.

      1. Bert Logan says:

        Yup – that night – I can take a different tack from the lovely poem above. My brother and I had been speculating over 30 or 35 SNP MPs and how stunning that would be.

        I watched in awe – what Scotland had done – we have changed forever now.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Bert, I was rather hoping someone might explain why independence was not claimed in 2015, considering the emphatic unprecedented democratic result of that GE? I too “watched in awe”, though quickly followed by despair as the cohort settled into Westminster, all 56 of them, to then meekly allow a solitary Tory MP in Scotland dictate matters to us, as if the ‘sovereign will’ of the Scottish people did not matter a jot.

          1. Bert Logan says:

            Yup – I understand their game, I understand that ‘Cameron’ was promising the world via Smith. Wait to see what happened … et voila! Nothing – a joke.

            I was also disappointed, elation sank low when it was obvious the Lab/Tory brick wall was set up at the border so to speak.

            Now? I hope they put it in the manifesto! Majority of Scottish seats = indy.

          2. Alf Baird says:

            I asked an SNP candidate the same question the other day, i.e. why don’t we use the SNP Scottish MP general election majority as a mandate for independence? The answer was: “it wouldn’t be democratic” and “it could lead to violence”. I’m still trying to comprehend (a) how an election is construed as not being democratic, and (b) why any perceived threat of violence or intimidation should be allowed to thwart democracy?

  5. Ciara says:

    Thanks for the kind comments and I’m glad to spark debate. Yes, I feel thwarted at every turn. What will happen post General Election, (Tory landslide / SNP hold on to all or most of their seats?) Do we have any decent options or do we have to wait until 2020 for indy2? What is our best gamble?

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Scotland’s people have to assert their own independence. That starts with the SNP securing (again) the majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats on June 8th. It is these MP’s who are then ‘holding’ the sovereign will of the Scottish people, requiring them to act in our country’s best interest. Constitutionally, the Union of Parliaments certainly came about through a simple majority of Scotland’s (then unelected) MP’s (or ‘Commissioners’), which suggests the Union can therefore be undone in the same way, more especially now that a democratically mandated referendum has been refused. Constitutionally we should also remember that Scotland is not a province or a colony or a possession of Westminster, but rather was a joint ‘creator’ of the UK Parliament, involving the then dissolution of both Scottish and English Parliaments (though never the dissolution of either nation), and which should be able to be undone in the same way it was created. However, like the post-Soviet Union Baltic States etc the UN General Assembly may request a referendum to recognise any independence declaration made. That would seem one way to force Westminster to ‘allow’ a referendum in Scotland, which could also imply a referendum organised and ratified in Scotland, not in Westminster (i.e. not needing to be ratified by 600 MP’s, or Lords, of other nations, who may also seek to unfairly dictate what an independent Scotland might ‘look’ like). My concern is that the SNP MP’s, most of whom were quite recently unionists lets remember, are perhaps more social democrats than national patriots, and arguably in any quest for national independence we really need the latter far more than the former.

  6. David Anderson says:

    Like the poem and it reminded me that things just go on as normal after such events though they will ultimately leave their mark. I fear a repeat.

    A cold sore indeed

    The pain of the referendum loss
    Is much like the herpes simplex virus
    Buried away in the trigeminal nerve
    It rears its head only when stressed
    By obvious bias in the media,
    exposure to ugly Unionism,
    When politicians lie more than usual
    and those ‘experts’ serve themselves,
    Or when I consume a little to much alcohol

    The ‘if only’ pain then swims in my eyes
    On my face appears a heartfelt grimace
    once again my stomach turns,
    as it did early that September morn.
    Generally, the pain lies dormant
    Unseen by others, only I am aware
    Of its benign, tumour-like presence
    Waiting for removal at some future date
    When the Independence appointment arrives

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.