Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 342

Mungo’s Legacy

Not your usual jaunt from East to West,
to Glasgow or to sainthood.
Thrown by royal Loth off Traprain’s cliffs,
cast adrift to cross the Forth,
storing up a trauma in the womb
to occupy a lifetime’s therapy,
Mungo birthed at Culross, and the rest
is history – or legend if you will.

They came back, Mungo’s bairns; re-settled
post-war streets in Haddington,
where they could nod to Traprain’s bulk,
choose their own voyages of life and love,
without benefit of monks or ministers,
play leapfrog with the memory of Knox,
play catch up with the country folk
who know the score, and name each hill.

Here SNP and Labour vie to throw
each other’s yoke off, fight or argue for
that Holyrood control, the saintliness
or ugliness of power – while Glasgow
maybe still remembers Mungo, with
his godly therapy, his special words
to calm the storm and cross divides,
his goodness spite could never kill.

Jock Stein

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