Phrases such as ‘the dead are sleeping’ roll
over the battlefield now as cannon blast and smoke
did then. Thankfully the notion of ‘glorious’
has never been applied to these boys, or their deaths.
Over there is where the British ordnance lined up.
Right here is where the Highlanders stood and took it.
I don’t have a personal axe to grind, as likely to have
ancestors on one side as the other; more likely both.
We know the result, though. We are the result,
or one of them, of progressive union through war.
Now, from nowhere, comes a sleek fighter, pointed
low over the battlefield and deafeningly loud and
all at once they are up again, clamouring and clinging,
frightened and tearful in their tattered grave clothes,
their dark sticken eyes. The commotion they make,
it’s going to take ages to get them back down.
F111 Over Culloden – Robert Davidson
Extracted from Riptide – New Writing from the Highlands and Islands
Reproduced with permission from Two Ravens Press