“There is no doubt that Gibson is an important poet in Scotland today, arguably one of the most important, as her growing readership attests.” Cencrastus
On Wild Women of a Certain Age
'I don't usually read poetry but this was brilliant. "Scotland Oh Scotland" deserves to have as big an impact on the Scottish psyche as McDiarmid's "A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle".'
Carole from Galashiels, Scottish Readers' Website
In March 2009 Magi was inaugurated as the first Makar (poet laureate) of the City of Stirling in 500 years.
Scotland Oh Scotland
My poor small country
struggling under the weight
of so much calvinistic decency!
Scared to make love
with passion and nakedness
lest your civilised neighbours
twitch at their border curtains
and call you savages.
You chase tartan rainbows
waving lucky plastic heather,
you search for tealeaves at the bottom
of a thousand whisky bottles
to convince yourselves
there is a future.
While somewhere deep below
an outward show
of growing confidence
of MSPs and Scottish Parliament,
your underbelly churns and growls
your prisons overflow with suicides and wasted lives,
your kids kick burst dreams at ever-moving goalposts
on graffiti-splattered housing schemes,
and your old folk freeze alone
watching Win A Million on flickering TV screens.
And still - to trawl those tourists in,
you package up your sense of nationhood
in shortbread tins, in haggis skins,
in cozy tartan rugs, in highland toffee bars,
in football teams, in bull-necked rugby stars -
while behind this pseudo-culture kitsch and keech
you try to hide the awful truth
that no-one dares to utter -
you are the lion rampant
and never ventures from its den -
the David that never leaves his bed
to face Goliath with his stone and sling -
beaten before you begin,
a purple-faced thistle full of pricks
in ginger wigs and tartan tammies
in cinemas and city streets and pubs
crying in your nightmares for your mammies.
Oh my sad, sad people who think that Demo Crassi
is the latest Baywatch Bimbo, who sit in living rooms and lounges
staring at Sky while your seas are poisoned,
your food is modified, your intellect is stultified -
and in your towns and villages your kids go chasing dragons
and their young dreams die -
how dare you have the brass effrontery
to say you’re on the way to self-determination?
How dare you have the gall
to claim your re-birth as a nation?