Work by Alison King :: Poem by Gerda Stevenson
Ma Ain Country
Violet Jacob, 1863-1946, county of Angus; novelist, poet, essayist, short story writer, and botanical artist; travelled widely abroad; her only child, a son, died in WWI.
From Quines by Gerda Stevenson
In 2016 I was completing a large wall hanging “Where, Minister, is my Consolation?” – a memorial piece commemorating the struggles of McCrae’s Battalion during WW1. McCrae’s Battalion was raised initially from many of the players and supporters of Hearts Football Club. My husband’s Grandfather was their Padre and my work was based on his experiences at the front and the anguish and doubts that this engendered.
There was one particular burial sermon that he delivered which runs -“We bury him far from his family and home, but in the future when we sit of an evening to contemplate the past, he will be near and we will feel better for his presence.”
In the poem “My Ain Country” all the anguish Violet Jacobs feels for the loss of her only her son is expressed. Although he is buried far away she imagines his spirit returning to the glen. The solace she finds in the landscape is so moving. The way that “yonder standing pine” reminds her of the Somme that stole her son. Drawn by the cry of the geese she breathes in comfort from the hills.
Living sometimes in Glengairn, a beautiful, quite remote part of Scotland I find it easy to imagine how soothing the landscape could be. I have always had a passion for describing the emotional qualities found in wild mountains and moors. So “My Ain Country “was a gift.