sunset song
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

Lewis Grassic Gibbon,
you gave me Scotland,
you gave me Chris Guthrie.

In your books Sunset Song,
Cloud Howe and Gray Granite,
Chris moved through
her world
of wild heather, hard farming,
of Highlands, of men,
of female desire and pain.
She fought for her Self —
first as girl, then a woman —
holding fast to the
disappearing ways of
crofters and land.

I loved her so much,
I went to Scotland
again and again.
I rolled Scots words
in my mouth —
wee bairn      aye lass
the kye and the queans
as I hiked by the loch
in mist, heedless of rain,
hearing the quiet voice of
your Chris, speaking
                    my name. . .

PHOTO: Agyness Deyn as Chris Guthrie in the film version Sunset Song (2015).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have visited luminous Scotland five times so far; it’s been too long since the last time I was there. The trilogy of books by Lewis Grassic Gibbon that I reference in my poem make up A Scots Quair, a classic in Scottish literature and language. I first read this novel as a teenager and love it deeply. Chris Guthrie is an intense and complex woman — I consider her my friend. The above photograph is of me in Haddington, Scotland, 2000. The sun was shining as a storm was approaching; typical Scottish weather.

Cimera - Author Photograph

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader and lover of words. Her work is, or will be, in these diverse journals: the Buddhist Poetry Review, Foliate Oak, Hedgerow: A Journal of Small Poems, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Prairie Light Review, Reverie Fair, Silver Birch Press, Stepping Stones, and Yellow Chair Review. Tricia volunteers locally, believes there’s no place like her own backyard, and has traveled the world. Her love for Scotland was also strongly influenced by the magical and quirky movie Local Hero (1983, directed by Bill Forsyth). She lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois/in a town called St. Charles/by a river named Fox.

PHOTO: The author with her father; Edinburgh, Scotland, 1989.