Ode to the Scottish Republic

by George Gunn

Heckle is delighted to republish this poem from George Gunn, who travelled from Thurso to Edinburgh on the day of the coronation to read it at the republican rally on Calton Hill. George was one of the initial signatories of the 2023 Declaration of Calton Hill.

My allegiance is to the Scottish people
to all people
to be called a British subject
& to swear allegiance to a King
while my country has no place
among nations
is to be a ghost
& to bear disgrace
it is the dispossession of all citizens
of our future Republic

to see the number of the poor increase
while one hundred million & more
is spent to put a crown on a coof
is to shame our Democracy
to see her discarded in the gutter
in a coat of rags
her feet in rillans

hame hame hame
hame wid I be
hame hame hame
in my ain countrie
wae the birk an the pine
an the bonnie rowan tree
ah bloomin fair
in my ain countrie

the Lord of Misrule
in his Summer tents
ponders momentarily
current events
stealing our destiny
as he steals our rents
but no more
no more
for the King will see
our Republic rising up
out of the ground
seeking a new simplicity
the republican wind
blows through the liberty tree
no King can escape the coming melee

hame hame hame
hame wid I be
hame hame hame
in my ain countrie
when the new Moon
will be born
on the carrying stream
so that we may be
the Republic of the people’s desire
we make the song
we catch the fire
free of tyranny

I can taste the sweet salt of Freedom
on my tongue
as we gather here to proclaim
that which is obvious to the young
let us change elegy into hymn
remake it all
let us not fail again
in oor ain countrie
& for the love of our people
let us make our Scottish Republic
& make it strong



George Gunn was born in Thurso in 1956 where he still lives. He has been a deep-sea fisherman, a driller for oil in the North Sea, a journalist, playwright and poet.

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