Suppose we begin with a glacier bearing a massive stone till the world warms, leaving the boulder abandoned, alone through aeons of desolation, before a wind brings crumbs of earth, tundra forms, with reindeer, then one day, a bird from an unkent airt (the future) circles appraisingly and drops a gift, a hazel nut which sends forth the tree that inaugurates a forest pine green and berry bright - the wood holds sway a thousand years then feels the first axe bite. The rest, we cry ‘history’- kye and castle, empire, mine and mill, till we win the right to be governed according to our will. Which brings us to this chamber where, at our provisional behest, today you take your places. Well, here is a first request. Thon bird’s back, wheeling over bedraggled and dismayed, she soared to sight the horizon, but returned afraid. She soared to sight the horizon, (her wings flashed gold) but turned back, preparing herself to tell what must be told, and perched on a certain boulder (her life-long friend) she’s ready, so please listen as she caw’s you to attend. “All things pass and change, that’s aye been the way; but the stark vision I saw up there must be allayed. For that, no lone child, woman or man will be enough, you’ll want your multifariousness when it all gets tough. Stones, it won’t be sufficient just to sit on your dowps and say ‘nay’. Trees, don’t be waving your arms about in some new breeze every day. It’s maddening your own age-old injustices remain, but now your human influence invades the wild domains - on you depend the puddock’s leap the hare’s breath, the drone of summer bees, the whale’s dive in the ocean - and you need them.” So please Let the morrow-bird’s handsel be wisdom, leavened with music and song. We seek good governance, Parliament. Act bold. Be kind. Stay strong.
About this poem
This poem was read by Kathleen Jamie, Scotland’s national Makar, at the Opening Ceremony for the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament on October 2 2021.