On Barra Hill

Steep steps on soft turf,
across your naked flank,
your royal head bent to the wind.
And seen below, a buzzard there,
above the stones of Bourtie, carried aloft
by the buoyancy of your breath.

Above your furrowed brow,
a crown for a king, whose people here
once lived and died. Dying now,
the sweetness of your summer:
the fields all fallow, the swallows
gone far to the south.

On this good soil you hold me,
above Bruce’s seat, the chimney pots
of Meldrum, the silent cars
sweeping away – in this moment –
beneath the unchanging
changing of the sky.

Ian. S. Grosz

The poem is about Barra Hill above Oldmeldrum, the site of an Iron Age hill fort and closely associated with Robert the Bruce and the Battle of Barra. The poem appeared in Causeway / Cabhsair Magazine V.10.2 released in 2019.

Ian Grosz is a writer based in the northeast of Scotland, graduating from the University of Aberdeen with an MLitt in Creative Writing in 2019. Drawing inspiration from the landscape to explore notions of place and identity, he is published across a range of journals and magazines both in print and on-line.