From Dornoch we moved further north
not as north as where she was born
but north enough to understand;
to understand her returning

She sat there beneath the sculpture
Of ‘The Emigrants’ at Helmsdale,
Moved by the woman looking back
To the strath that was once her home.

For she too had to leave here
To work in service or in shops;
She too, with some eighty years now,
Lived in the south and not the north

And these years have moved her to tears
And this woman brought them all back,
Yet she sits with son and daughter
Who marvel at her dignity.

Two highland ladies, one in bronze,
And the other in flesh that pains,
Bestow upon a changing world
Unchanging values that redeem.

This is taken from Jim’s latest book of poetry, Being Beneath the Moon. Available for £2.50 including. postage & packaging from Magdalene Press, 2, Carlton Street, Edinburgh, EH4 1NJ.