The Ghosts of Culloden: 1746

Can you hear them, can you see them
Marching proudly across the moor,
Hear the wind blow thru the drifting snow,
Tell me can you see them, the ghosts of Culloden.
—Lines from “The Ghosts of Culloden” by Isla Grant

A savage lot, you say,
wearing kilts their women wove,
the dyes set by their lasses’ piss.
Look close to see the weave
their tartans fine as any noble’s vest.

Can you see them rising up again
with their claymores dipped in red,
but when the smoke of battle clears
they fade into the mist.

And all to unify the clans,
return the Stuart line
to England’s throne.
Such a waste of lives—
their Bonnie Prince Charles
was a fucking arse.

Climb to the Highlands
to find the standing stones,
make passage back in time,
then feel the thunderous entry
of their passing souls—
and you can worship down.

There is a bloodied page
in this history tome I hold.
I am a daughter
among the many daughters.
We’d have fought too,
if such were allowed.

We carry the weight
of suppressed rain,
the loss of lands,
the seasons of death
etched in the planes
of our faces.

You may on this page
scribe your many lies,
but no pen can change
nor words rearrange
what happened at Culloden.

 

— Marge Simon

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the Horror Writers Association Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association with a Grand Master Award. She has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry.

Editor’s Notes:  “The Battle of Culloden (Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Chùil Lodair) (16 April 1746) was the final clash between the French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverian British Government in the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Culloden dealt the Jacobite cause—to restore the House of Stuart to the throne of the Kingdom of Great Britain—a decisive defeat.” Read more here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btJzi8_GrUE and listen to Isla Grant sing The Ghosts of Culloden. More information can be found here: https://clan.com/blog/folklore-thursday-the-ghosts-of-culloden-battlefield and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Culloden#/

 

 

The image is a Woodcut painting by David Morier of the Battle of Culloden first published just six months after the battle in October 1746.

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