Joan Mitchell’s poem, ‘Dumfries & Galloway 2001’ details the aftermath of the epidemic – noticing the quietness, and remembering that better times are to come.
Dumfries & Galloway 2001
It is still very beautiful, this blue and green land,
Rich drumlins, glaciers’ bounty, still roll to the horizon,
Gorse shines yellow on rocky Ordovician ribs,
Oblivious waves still crash on rocky shore.
Peewits tumble, a buzzard flaps clumsily, seeking an updraft to set him free.
Grim, grey and red towers are used to human blood
Geese rise in mass from salty marsh and a farmer shivers.
Ninian’s ghost prays his land may be spared
But what will eat the grass, what shelter by the knowe?
Virus is such a small word.
But spring will come next year and lambs will play
White-belted cows will head back to the hills
A hard-eyed commentator, finger jabbing, barks ‘who’s to blame?’
Frome slate-grey hills the echo comes – you- and you- and you
And fainter still – me and me