WEEK FORTY-SIX – Glencoe/ Silicon Glen

>> Glencoe

Silicon Glen <<

glencoe                           silicon-glen

Scotland is rightly proud of its glens and this week we contrast two of them, very different in character, one a phenomenon of geography and the other a construct of commerce. Glencoe has one of the most beautiful and distinctive mountain skylines in all of Scotland, and was of course scene of one of the bloodiest events in Scottish history. The massacre of 38 members of the Clan MacDonald by the Campbells in 1692 is steeped in infamy, and adds to the palpable sense of mystery and foreboding that many visitors to the area describe experiencing. By contrast, Silicon Glen is a loosely-defined area of the Central Belt of Scotland that is home to a preponderance of the nation’s electronics and technology firms. The use of the name can be traced back to the 1980s when heavy industry was thrust into its irreversible decline under the Thatcher government. Whilst these two glens share little in common except a portion of their name, in their own way they represent the extremes of Scotland’s character – one remote, wild and beautiful with a bloody history, the other urban, commercial and less picturesque but at the heart of Scotland’s future.

From Alyarmouk to Glencoe
by Iyad Hayatleh


































































When the nostalgia for my father’s Galilean house attacks me
I come to sprinkle my revelations here
and when the flames of yearning to my mother flood my heart
I come to put them out here
and when my prison becomes so tight
I come to weep for my Lamees here

Here in Glencoe
on the river banks, amongst the wilderness of my waiting
I see the moon pale in shame from the tears of bereaved mothers
and the steps of my grief march behind the shadow of a girl wandering on her choked
chasing the footprints of a child who escaped the murder’s knife
and my heart hears the echoes of a bagpipe,
a bagpipe that dodged the stabs of the monsters of the dark,
and flew away
with her tunes still filling up the space with lyrics

In the mirrors of the loch
I see my face, which was seized by tyrants
I know these mountains
I save their motherly wrinkles by heart
rocks, flowers, graves,
snow, meadows, burns and caves
the silent howling wind,
the moaning clouds,
and the legendary painful solitude
descending streams, ascending tears
I carried their unseen details like love amongst my ribs
brought them from my far away country
and fixed them here

This is Qassioun, and that is Carmel Haifa
my torn heart between hills
that is Mount Hermon from my violated homeland
hugging the neck of the sky here
and dropping down intoxicated with miracles
dancing with the red deer of my soul, running liberty over mounds
between Rannoch Moor and Glencoe

Loose from my fear, free
I spell his curves and the high peaks
the depths of the glens and the overwhelming loneliness
the glory of the eagles, and the dignity of the buzzards
the gloomy morning blizzards
the secrets of pine and myrtle tree’s perfume
heather blossoming in my body, leaning on my old wound
the immortality of my diaspora
my lost name in the family tree
herb smells deified in the bottom of my chest
and the sighs of my ancient grandmothers

Ascending, ascending
It’s as if I smell the blood of those who perished in massacres
my captive people there, my victim people here
Oh, Kafr Kassem, call out Shatila
and you, Deir Yassin, please wipe my tears in Sabra
and Tal Azzaater which repeated into my Yarmouk
Oh, house of MacDonald
oh, you, mothers, martyrs, prisoners
oh you, who are seeking sanctuary from death, in death,
every slain child in the land of Syria
I am you, take refuge in me
I set my heart for you as a tent, the width of this horizon

Here rise the songs
extending their fountains towards the seventh heaven
and shining like dew, like a gorgeous morning star
which our survived laughter deserves

Ascending, ascending
the song ascends into me:
(O, cruel was the snow that sweeps Glencoe
and covers the grave o’ Donald
O, cruel was the foe that raped Glencoe
and murdered the house of MacDonald)

Descending, descending
the song ascends into me:
(O, elegantly handsome guy, stop so I can tell you
you are going abroad but your country is better for you
I am afraid you will get established there my love
and fall in love with someone else and forget me)*


Qassioun, Carmel Haifa, Mount Hermon: Mountains in Syria, Palestine
Alyarmouk: a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria
Kafr Kassem, Deir Yassin: towns in Palestine
Shatila, Sabra, Tal Azzaater: Palestinian refugee camp
(Massacres took places against Palestinians in all above places)

*A Palestinian folk song


Silicon Glen
by Carolyn Richardson

a woman plants a shovel into Middlesbrough, Belfast
staples steel wool on northern dull skies
scours heaven better to mirror her Queenly reflection

she means business

Rob Milne, aka Silicon Glen
charges down the superhighway in a DMC to pick her up
an ear on a mouse in the glovebox
a brace of bleaters in the back

he means business

gull wings open
straight in, ramming hard with love talk
gdp, gbp, goes deeps in
yield rates, compound (self) interest
her legs spread

straddles the Firth
twin colossi of both coasts
jute, jam, journalism
orgasmically squeezed in meaty thighs

he chops a line
gets high on zeal and greed
she nibbles his earlobe huskily
quotes Thessalonians
“If a man will not work he shall not eat
laughs pushing his head down

their in-joke with the Wee Free

pops her for a cool five mill for IA
shopping & shooting galleries
Grand Theft Auto, AI, IA
and surfs the interweave

one hand on the wheel
one up her skirt
eyes wild

Monarch of the Glen


ROB MILNE earned international respect for his innovative work in adapting artificial intelligence (AI) as a practical aid to industry and in bridging the gap between the research laboratory and the factory floor. His Livingston-based company was called IA. Milne died on a climbing expedition on Everest on 2005







iyad-hayatleh-picIyad Hayatleh is a Palestinian poet, translator who was born and grew up in Syria. He has lived in Glasgow since 2000, and has taken part in many cultural events, translation and poetry workshops and readings in UK, and published his poems in anthologies. He has collaborated with poet Tessa Ransford, on a two-way translation project for a book Rug of a Thousand Colours, published by Luath Press 2012



Carolyn Richardson is a poet, a painter with work in the Public Catalogue, now re-branded as ArtUK, a maker of filmed poems and a guerrilla poet in the wilds of Dumfries & Galloway. Carolyn has been a Director of the Scottish Writers Centre and longlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work, both 2015 & 2016. She spends some of the year abroad in the National Booktown of Montolieu in the South of France. 




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