A second powerful poem of nostalgia for Scotland. This time the exile is Robert Louis Stevenson, recalling the land of his forebears from his last redoubt in the South Seas. S R Crockett was his friend and fellow novelist. RLS’s short Requiem acts as a fitting coda.

                            TO S R CROCKETT

Blows the wind today, and the sun and the rain are flying,

Blows the wind on the moor today and now,

Where about the graves of the martyrs the whaups are crying,

My heart remembers how!


Grey recumbent tombs of the dead in desert places,

Standing stones on the vacant wine-red moor,

Hills of sheep, and the homes of the silent vanished races,

And winds, austere and pure:


Be it granted me, to behold you again in dying,

Hills of home! and to hear again the call;

Hear about the graves of the martyrs the peewees crying,

And hear no more at all.


Under the wide and starry sky

Dig the grave and let me lie:

Glad did I live and gladly die,

And I laid me down with a will.


This is the verse you grave for me:

Here he lies where he long’d to be;

Home is the sailor, home from sea,

And the hunter home from the hill.