-Oh, Scotland is an equal partner in the UK?

-Aye, suppose you’ll say otherwise, being a nat.

-We’ll, it can leave anytime it wants?

-Naw, there’s a UK government.

-Oh, a UK government.

-Aye, you feckin’ know it is, that’s how it works.

-So, what about the five hundred and forty three MPs from England, against fifty seven from Scotland.

-Aye, it’s to do with populations. England has fifty six and a half million, Scotland has five and a half million, the MPs are proportionate to the populations.

-But Scotland is a country in an equal partnership with England, so we are told, a union of countries.

-Aye, a union, the United Kingdom, set up in 1707, the Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of England, and Wales, annexed by England, and the Kingdom of Scotland.

-Well, primarily a union between Scotland and England, two sovereign countries. If so, one should be able to leave. If you and I were married….

-Oh, go away, how the feck could we be married?

-You know what I mean, equal partners and all that.

-Jesus, you come out for a quiet pint.

-Well, it’s not fair.

-It’s the way it is.

-So, if the people of Scotland want to leave they can’t.

-Naw, they got a vote in 2014, fifty five percent said they wanted to stay in the UK that was that. Jesus, a one in a lifetime vote.

-It was a once in a generation opportunity said by a politician, an opportunity, that doesn’t mean to say it was the only opportunity. For feck’s sake Brexit.

-We voted as the UK, that’s how it works. Democracy, live with it.

-Democracy! Since 1959, the people of Scotland haven’t voted for a Tory government once, yet have suffered under the policies of them. Johnston. The cost of living crises. Anyway, Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit, sixty two percent said no to leaving against thirty eight percent, that’s nearly two thirds of Scots wanted to stay in the EU, but were dragged out.

-Oh, dragged out, kicking and screaming.

-You’re being obtuse.

-And you’re being an arse. Be quiet. That’s the way it is.

-Aye, be quiet, shut up, don’t rock the Westminster boat.

-We voted as the UK, that is what we are, fifty two percent wanted to leave, get over it.

-England’s fifty three percent wanted to leave, against our sixty two percent who wanted to stay, disproportionate. Where’s the democracy in that?

-Get me a pint, for God’s sake, your round.


-Aye, you know it.


-What’s that?

-It’s proportionate.

-It’s a drap in the bottom of the glass.

-It’s a tenth of a UK pint, enjoy it.

-Feck’s sake!

I raise my snout to sniff the sweet air. I seek his familiar smell, his rough hand on my coat, his call to hunt. We ran together after the deer through the heather bound trail. He weaved as I flew bracken high with every bound, his loyal hound.

I recall the heat of running with my lord, the sweat dripping from my coat, as we fell together in the chill of the hill. We rolled in the peat, as I wrapped around him, his faithful hound.

He left me with no command to stay, with no mention of return. I pined for his voice, his touch, the thrill of his reaching for his coat, his hat, his gun.

He was gone so long, I lost heart and found a mate. We made a lair, a life, and pups.

I never lost hope, but my speed left me with age, as my pups grew strong and fast.

Then the day his smell returned to me, my heart leaped, I jumped to my feet.

He was swimming across the loch to the home he left. Naked, he stood tall on the shore of his island, looking for me. I howled as though my lungs would expel with my cry.

But he was unknown to those who were mine, and they killed what my life was for.

I ran but they were on him before I could reach there, and they scattered blooded. I licked his wounds, but he lay like the deer on the hill, open and defiled. My cry was heard through the glen to the sea.

They came and killed what killed what was mine, and they carried him away and the dark arrived in my heart to my soul.

Then they dug a hole and put him there, leaving a mound that would become my lair.

But while I couldn’t reach him in the earth I would wander the hill to find him in death.

So I run, across the glens, the hills, through the machair and the peat, looking for him, to hear his call, and I can never rest until I do.

Tom O. Keenan

March 2022

We were young then

We were young then, when the bright light of our soul lit the way

We were young then, when the night was brighter than the day

We were young then, when our dreams outshone our fears

We were young then, when our laughs were longer than our tears

We were young then, when our lives were new, our hopes on song

We were young then, when memory was short and life was long

The Oystercatcher and the Eagle

To be by the sea, gay galore, like the oystercatcher on the shore

Picking, dancing, taking to the sky; it’s such a thrill, I could cry

To be on the hill and hear the shrill, the cry of an eagle in flight

Soaring, diving, gliding so high; it’s such a sight, it makes me sigh.

The sea talks

The sea talks, listen, hear it.

It whispers, it shushes,

Go on in, it pulls and it pushes

It cries and sighs, it lives and dies

It lifts and falls, it beckons and calls

It washes and wishes and caresses and kisses

Unleash your soul

Fill your mind with beauty, let your thoughts go free

Follow your dreams, vigorously

Find a place within you, where your love should be

Give it others, vicariously

Stop the self-deprecating, you don’t need to agree

Unleash your soul, blissfully

The warmth of the night

The warmth of the night follows the coldness of the day

The tender moon moves the clouds away

The hustle and bustle of the city throng

Gives way to the night ‘s sweet song

The shrieking starlings, the squawking gulls

Are no match for the wise owl’s calls

The constant chatter, the shouts and cries

Are softer now, in evening lullabies

A harsh word, a piercing rebuke

Are but an echo of a mellowed look

The push and pull in mindless race

Are all but now a warm embrace

Tom O. Keenan Jan 2022

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