"The Hinds": a poem by Kathleen Jamie

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Walking in a waking dream
I watched nineteen deer
pour from ridge to glen-floor,
then each in turn leap,
leap the new-raised
peat-dark burn. This
was the distaff side;
hinds at their ease, alive
to lands held on long lease
in their animal minds,
and filing through a breached
never-mended dyke,
the herd flowed up over
heather-slopes to scree
where they stopped, and turned to stare,
the foremost with a queenly air
as though to say: Aren’t we
the bonniest companie?
Come to me,
You’ll be happy, but never go home.

Kathleen Jamie’s collections include The Queen of Sheba (1994), The Tree House (2004) and most recently The Overhaul (2012). Her essays are published in Findings (2005) and Sightlines (2012). Jamie’s poem commemorating the Battle of Bannockburn was inscribed last year on the monument at the site.

This article appears in the 26 February 2014 issue of the New Statesman, Scotland: a special issue