In My Country

“Poetry is of no use, but it is valuable.”

Truth from Northern Ireland Poet, Michael Longley. Words and a whisper that lead my exploration on this last day of rest before Election Day and a promise of continued and growing separation. A Country of WeMoveTogether we are not.

We are America. No need to look elsewhere on Earth for wisdom, lessons, and things of value. A view of many, but I pray not most of my fellow Americans.

From my reading of the life and poetry of Michael Longley, a man with a profound understanding of that separation between neighbors, I cross the Irish Sea to Scotland. I find another voice, another poet adding value to the world.

Jackie Kay is Scottish. Yet her dark skin and “foreign look” give pause to her fellow countrymen. Her story is terrific and her place in Scottish society admirable as the Scots Makar, a similar honor as America’s Poet Laureate. Her poem, In My Country is that thing of value for me today and serves to remind us all in America. We are a nation of immigrants. A people of diverse background and thought. It is what makes us great.

In My Country by Jackie Kay
walking by the waters,
down where an honest river
shakes hands with the sea,
a woman passed round me
in a slow, watchful circle,
as I were a superstition;
or the worse dregs of her imagination,
so when she finally spoke
her words spliced into bars
of an old wheel. A segment of air.
Where do you come from?
‘Here,’ I said, ‘Here. These parts.’
I invite you to go further and watch this terrific story on Jackie Kay and her life as a Scottish Poet. Some gentle thoughts for this Sunday.

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