(For Martyn Bennett 1971-2005)


I saw your mother yesterday,

at Celtic Connections.

Dried eyed and coping.

She graced the stage

with Sheila Stewart  – that voice.

That exotic fruit you fed me.


You did this.


Re-rooted a nation

with funky cèilidhean,

cool fèisean.

Returned hee-durrum-haw-durrum

to ceòl mòr.


Who but you would dare

liberate Michael Marra to harl a psalm

or soundscape Sorley Maclean.


The radical route you trod

on eroded drove roads, laid

tracks for our exiled youth

to follow you into their past.


Into muscular modernity.



But you dusted the archive of ancients

not wanting

to join them so soon.


The grit in your eye

as you stood by the trig stone

defied your urgent future.


One score years and some

was never enough.

It was all we were offered.


Now that waste is forgiven.

Tradition links arms

with beat box and decks.


This fèis is your echo.


When the footstompin dies,

and the piobaireachd stands alone,

we will pluck sad stones

from our breasts and

place them on your cairn.


Published in Poetry Scotland