The Morning After – Christine De Luca
Much has been said on both sides of the debate in the run-up to the Scottish Independence referendum on 19th September, but Christine De Luca’s poem The morning after looks further ahead in a four-chambered call for an open heart following the outcome.
The morning after
Scotland, 19th September 2014
Let none wake despondent: one way
or another we have talked plainly,
tested ourselves, weighed up the sum
of our knowing, ta’en tent o scholars,
checked the balance sheet of risk and
fearlessness, of wisdom and of folly.
Was it about the powers we gain or how
we use them? We aim for more equality;
and for tomorrow to be more peaceful
than today; for fairness, opportunity,
the common weal; a hand stretched out
in ready hospitality.
It’s those unseen things that bind us,
not flag or battle-weary turf or tartan.
There are dragons to slay whatever happens:
poverty, false pride, snobbery, sectarian
schisms still hovering. But there’s
nothing broken that’s not repairable.
We’re a citizenry of bonnie fighters,
a gathered folk; a culture that imparts,
inspires, demands a rare devotion,
no back-tracking; that each should work
and play our several parts to bring about
the best in Scotland, an open heart.
The morning after was read on September the 11th at the Glasgow Hydro as part of The Big, Big Debate, available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Around 8000 first time voters aged between 16 and 17 year old first time voters were invited to take part in the debate, questioning politicians directly about issues they care about in the referendum. The morning after was performed by some of these young participants in a short film, shown at the end of the debate.
On the same evening, De Luca read the poem to an engaged crowd at Poetry and the Independence Debate in Cardiff at The Millennium Centre.
The poem is already an important part of the referendum discussion. With mentions in The Scotsman, the Guardian Scottish Independence liveblog and Observer, the poem has been seen by some as a call for balance amid the heated debate.
Christine says “My personal views are not very far off the middle of this debate as I can see merit in both sets of arguments. Like many people I have good friends who will vote differently from me, and I respect their judgement. It will not affect our friendship in the future. I also hope that we will be sensitive to the feelings and thoughts of the rest of the United Kingdom as they deal with the impact of our decision-making.
“In writing the poem I wanted to say something about the need to work together as Scots, irrespective of the referendum outcome; and not to become down-hearted if the result goes against our personal preference. There is plenty work to be done, whatever the outcome, to make this a more peace-loving, just country. This will need the goodwill of us all.”
Listen to Christine De Luca read The morning after:
You can download a quote from Christine’s poem as a poster from the Scottish Poetry Library.