A Cutting near Aviemore, Scotland

Alan Gould

High voltage, holiday traffic and North Sea crude
drain through here to Glasgow, Hull and London.
One knows this is the jugular, that the Clearances go on,
that the past is an illness, the present a bitter food.
Now the Cairngorms are raising the sky's long wounds
and the heather is tangled with plaids and bones.
One knows how little's forgiven and nothing forgot,
that hardly were the clans got under their stones
than they were the future's lights, their hands
reaching past pylons to gently cut
a linesman's throat. But the high voltage flows,
the heather drinks the purple sunset,
and the road leads back to what one knows.