Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Carnival of Genealogy's Ode to My Family History: I Dinna Hear The Voices


Aye, once to Scotland I did go
Dreaming of hills of heather and gold,
Hoping chanters, pipes and drums
Would speak to me with voices of old.
Alas, I dinna hear the voices,
The voices I dinna hear.

The Bruce trampled thru Stirling castle and town
But would never sit upon the Stone of Scone,
Tho Wallace had won the day at Bannock Burn,
Edward took the stone to London, leav’ Scots in ruin.
The voices I dinna hear.

Along the Sprey, from Inverness to Castle Cawdor
Highlanders gathered to the to Prince’s call.
An abortive night march to meet the Duke at Nairn,
Lord George turned the sons of the hound back to Culloden Moor.
Alas, I dinna hear the voices,

Camerons, Stewarts, Atholls n' Clan Chattan,
With no food or sleep,
Were sore galled by English canons
Till Clan Chattan broke ranks and charged.
A Highlander snarl, kilts pulled high, swords in hand,
The Sons of the hound came for meat.
Leaping kilted warriors charged like lions,
Over the bodies of brave chiefs, four deep.
Alas, I dinna hear the voices,

Trod old Cluny’s castle grounds with owner new,
Looked across to Cluny’s cave on Craig Dubh
Where once a haven from the outside world,
Soon no place of safety for a Highlander true.
The voices I dinna hear.

Followed the holy mile from David’s Holy Rood to Edinburgh,
Stood in St. Margaret’s chapel on castle’s rock, standin' there still.
Her lineage to Edwards, Exile and Confessor, wife of Malcolm,
And David’s mother, ever so pious, she knelt in daily prayer.
Touched the holy stone where she prayed so still.
Alas, I dinna hear the voices,

In the streets of Edinburgh, I was feeling all alone.
Markets, pubs and parks, I plied stone on stone.
A sandy haired boy looked at me, --Ahh, young Rob of home,
Now, hooded eyes of my father and brothers,
and a look of Steffie Jo had she been born,
T'were voices I couldna hear.

The Voices were always there, watching me,
Voices in the faces, in the set of the jaw,
The sandy hair, the stance, and complexion ruddy,
The voices were there, watching, watching me.
Alas, I wouldna hear the voices.

* * *

Written in 2005 and included in Along the Way: Stories From Here and There, by Joan G. Hill, Roots'N'Leaves Publications, 2007. Text copyright by Joan G. Hill, Roots'N'Leaves Publications, Ashland, Oregon.


  1. Great poem, Joan. Y'hae a way wi' words!

  2. Neat! Thanks for sharing. Also, thanks for commenting on my blog post today!

    Keep these ancestor stories coming!

    Bill ;-)

    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  3. Love this -- but then I am Bonnie Jean! LOL! Although I am concentrating on Italy for my in laws at the moment, my maternal line hails from bonny Scotland! Most of my aunts and uncles were born there although my mom was born here!
    Bonnie (valentinoswife)

  4. A beautiful tribute to your Scottish ancestors, Joan. I enjoyed traveling with you throughout the land of your ancestors by way of this poem. (And I love Bill's comment!)

    100 Years in America
    Small-leaved Shamrock
    A light that shines again
    Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture

  5. Oh Joan, so shivery and sad, and yet just a smidge hopeful too. Nothing like a sad Scots air to get the blood pounding (at least for me)! Just lovely!


  6. Joan, what a lovely and wonderful poem! I have always loved Scots! So rich in history! I too have Scottish ancestry. Thank you for sharing such a treasure. I too love Bill's comment!

  7. Bill W, Carol, Bill S.Bonnie, Lisa, Amy, & Gini ---you guys just take my breath away with your kind words. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my Scots Ode. You can't imagine how much it means to me.

  8. Ah, Joan, this one I do love. My brain doesn't even begin to go wherever it is yours went to come up with a word arrangement akin to this one. Thanks for sharing this. Vickie E. . . . P.S. And thanks for visiting me at my "home on the web" -- I do appreciate your input.

  9. Your poem is so vivid, Joan... I'm in awe!

  10. Congratulations Joan! You have been chosen as the Featured Author for today's edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. You did a terrific job with your family history poem. Thank you so much for sharing your writing in the Carnival of Genealogy!

  11. Joan well deserved feature author of your poem. I have Scottish roots and have been twice. Your words resonated for me. Thanks you. I think I need to follow your blogs.

  12. Congratulations Joan for being the featured author! What a marvelous poem! Absolutely well done!

  13. You were my personal choice. This was AMAZING! Although I must say I have come to depend on you to knock my socks off. You are causing me to have cold feet with every read.


  14. Many Congratulatios, Joan! As Vickie said, my brain can't go in a place that would let me come up with such a great way with words! I've read it twice now, and see something new each time. How I would have loved to be a mouse in your pocket while you went around Scotland hoping to hear your ancestor's voices!

    And I so agree with Bill, Aye, ye do indeed hae a way w' words.


  15. OMG, my community of writer-researcher friends,
    I am amazed with, and blessed by, your comments. I dinna expect this response. I hold each bonnie comment dear to me heart. Thank you!

  16. Well done, Joan! I enjoyed the journey to Scotland. Also, congratulations on being selected as the Feature Author of the CoG.

  17. Wow, this makes me want to go back there and to go back in time. Fabulous!

  18. Joan Hill, Featured Author . . . sounds good! You and your poem are more than deserving of this honor by Jasia for the > 89th Carnival of Genealogy < . . . Congratulations!