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by Gerry Haughey

 Thereís ancient sturdy bridgesí crossing long deserted streams.
Thereís winding roads through empty glens, past long forgotten dreams.
Stop there for a moment. Is there a melancholic air?
Or a brooding, heavy atmosphere, of sadness and despair?


For here a way of lifeís now gone, and olden ways wiped out
MacDonald, Ross, Mackay, Macleod, no clan escaped the rout.
Glencalvie and Kildonan, Lewis, Mull and Mingulay.
Callous chiefs and cruel factors swept the innocents away.


Sons of Conn of the Hundred Battles. Race of Colla your spiritís flown.
You will never be forgotten, you will never be alone.


For mighty lords and leaders sold and leased what wasnít theirs.
Betrayed their highland kinfolk to be mutton millionaires.
Whole families were scattered to the damp and boggy glens.
Seeking shelter in the hollows and behind the cattle pens

Can you see and feel the terror, the hysteria and fright?
As helpless stricken families were ravaged in the night.

In Strathnaver homes burned furious from Grummore to Skail.
Two thousand souls uprooted, in a cold and icy gale.
The oppressors showed no mercy, to infirmity or age,
But set upon the innocents in a cold destructive rage.


Sons of Conn of The Hundred Battles. Race of Colla your spiritís flown.
You will never be forgotten. You will never be alone.


An old man from the Clan Mackay, crawled from his croft ablaze,
Inched to a ruined mill nearby, in shocked and painful haze.
While his landlord dined on wine and cake from an overflowing store,
The old man licked the flour-dust from the old mill floor.
Mackay lay there for two whole days, starving, sick and spent,
Then died alone, no clansmen near, no pipers sad lament.


Son of Conn of The Hundred Battles. Race of Colla your spiritís flown.
You have joined your ancient clansmen. No more youíll be alone.


What kind of leader values kinsmenís lives worth less than sheep?
No guilt, no troubled conscience, to interrupt their sleep.
What kind of law allowed this crime, didnít halt the pain and grief?
What kind of clergy sided with an avaricious chief?


And so, these ancient Highland clans, were beaten, spurned, forsook,
Not routed by the foe - but kin. Not sword - but shepherds crook.
Their chieftains broke their promises, their spirits and their hearts.
Cruel factors broke their bones and sent them off to unknown parts.
No tales of long past glories told, no ancient songs were sung.
They embraced a foreign culture, and lost their native tongue.


Sons of Conn of The Hundred Battles. Race of Colla your spiritís flown,
Yet in every corner of the earth, the seed of Conn is sown.

Gerry Haughey 28 August, 1996

See also Gerry's Poem Who is a Scot?

Return to Poems and Stories


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