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,

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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.

              REQUIEM

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.