Archive for the Alba Gu Brath Category

That Most Terrible of Days

Posted in Alba Gu Brath, Liber et Audax, Writing in Theory & Practice on April 16, 2015 by Occult Detective

The MacLeods were with me at Culloden, that most terrible of days.
— Bonnie Prince Charlie,
Highlander “Through a Glass Darkly”


The Battle of Culloden
16 April 1746

It’s no secret… I’ve long had a fascination with Scotland. Today, on the 269th anniversary of the Battle of Colloden, “that most terrible of days”, I share with you an extremely short excerpt from my novel Keepers of the Dead, forthcoming from Seventh Star Press, presumably latter this year:

“Nestled securely in Cairn Wood for centuries, the hills of Scotland were theirs to prowl, but they were lured out of their den by the call of patriotism and our family faced defeat alongside the Bonnie Prince at Culloden.

“They had set out as shock troops, a lead band of wolves intent on striking hard and fast into the invading Hanoverian troops and weakening them afore the Prince’s meager militia would be forced to face them in open combat, but they were betrayed by their own kin.

“The children of Romulus,” MacGregor continued, “had allied themselves with the Duke of Cumberland in return for valuable properties in the midlands of Scotland and they served the Governmental Forces well by ambushing our kinsmen and, with the aid of a vampiress, kept the pack of Cairn Wood from the guerrilla assault they had intended. As a result, after a forced march through the night, the Stuart’s outnumbered and outgunned army was decimated by the Duke’s well-trained forces. The clans were scattered, tortured, and killed, the landscape littered with mass graves…

“Our forefathers sulked with their tails between their legs all the way back to Cairn Wood and, fearing retribution and depressed by the thought of a homeland stripped of its customs and culture, they left Scotland for the New World and the promise of a new life in the colonies.”

Burns Night 2015

Posted in Alba Gu Brath on January 25, 2015 by Occult Detective


A Winter Night

When biting Boreas, fell and dour,
Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv’d glow’r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r,
Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi’ snawy wreaths up-choked,
Wild-eddying swirl;
Or, thro’ the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl:

List’ning the doors an’ winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O’ winter war,
And thro’ the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle
Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, – wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o’ spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o’ thee?
Whare wilt thou cow’r thy chittering wing,
An’ close thy e’e?

Ev’n you, on murdering errands toil’d,
Lone from your savage homes exil’d,
The blood-stain’d roost, and sheep-cote spoil’d
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats!

Now Phoebe in her midnight reign,
Dark-muff’d, view’d the dreary plain;
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,
Rose in my soul,
When on my ear this plantive strain,
Slow, solemn, stole:

“Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost!
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows!
Not all your rage, as now united, shows
More hard unkindness unrelenting,
Vengeful malice unrepenting.
Than heaven-illumin’d Man on brother Man bestows!

“See stern Oppression’s iron grip,
Or mad Ambition’s gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,
Woe, Want, and Murder o’er a land!
Ev’n in the peaceful rural vale,
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper’d Luxury, Flatt’ry by her side,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o’er proud Property, extended wide;
And eyes the simple, rustic hind,
Whose toil upholds the glitt’ring show
A creature of another kind,
Some coarser substance, unrefin’d
Plac’d for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, below!

“Where, where is Love’s fond, tender throe,
With lordly Honour’s lofty brow,
The pow’rs you proudly own?
Is there, beneath Love’s noble name,
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,
To bless himself alone?
Mark maiden – innocence a prey
To love-pretending snares:
This boasted Honour turns away,
Shunning soft Pity’s rising sway,
Regardless of the tears and unavailing pray’rs!
Perhaps this hour, in Misery’s squalid nest,
She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
And with a mother’s fears shrinks at the rocking blast!

“Oh ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,
Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Ill-satisfy’d keen nature’s clamorous call,
Stretch’d on his straw, he lays himself to sleep;
While through the ragged roof and chinky wall,
Chill, o’er his slumbers, piles the drifty heap!
Think on the dungeon’s grim confine,
Where Guilt and poor Misfortune pine!
Guilt, erring man, relenting view,
But shall thy legal rage pursue
The wretch, already crushed low
By cruel Fortune’s undeserved blow?
Affliction’s sons are brothers in distress;
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!”

I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer
Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hail’d the morning with a cheer,
A cottage-rousing craw.
But deep this truth impress’d my mind
Thro’ all His works abroad,
The heart benevolent and kind
The most resembles God.

— Robert Burns (1786)


Yes or No

Posted in Alba Gu Brath on September 15, 2014 by Occult Detective

FourthBridgesI don’t really have a dog in this hunt, but my insides are still torn up over the vote for Scots Independence that looms heavily on this week’s horizon. I can see both sides. I really can. While I’ve ancestral ties to all parties involved, I have a special affinity for the Land of the Scots.

Stay or go, yes or no, Scotland is forever.

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