Ploughman, Poem for Scotland
The year was 1941, my father told me,
And by moonlight, as he ploughed the field,
Plough and harness a dull grey silver
The dark clouds parted, and revealed
Nazi bombers, bound for Clydebank,
High above over Abernyte,
The boy below, frozen in furrow
Reins in hand, awed by the sight.
I never thought he was the weaker,
In the face of brutality he never bowed down
And the boy, with the horse and the plough, entrusted,
Ploughed his seed into the ground.
I saw a man, just like my father,
In a field planting rice, in Vietnam.
So small he looked, against the bombers,
In the face of vain strength, a resolute man,
A ploughman, like my father
And a man of the land,
Although cultures divide them,
Together they stand.
In Bosnia, I saw the children who fled,
Their homes destroyed, their parents dead.
Their fields unploughed and the seeds unsown,
Their graves unmarked and their names unknown.
They spoke to me of the moonlight man,
Standing alone, with horse and plough,
More than speeches or politicians,
He led the way, he showed me how,
That to stand alone is no great shame
If something is taken in anotherâ€™s name.
And remember, always, that you are a man
And the reins are held in your own hand
And that children are seeds as yet unsown,
Who may, come the harvest, be your own.