Bridget Khursheed

Thoughts on an oatcake
taken from a Highland soldier’s purse after Culloden and displayed

a piece, a biscuit crumbled, crumbled
and eaten on a battle morning
in a glass case and a ball beside it
the ball a bullet clean now under glass
blood that dripped on grass from
the white skinned chest and an arm
on that green grass the skin white
above the weathered tan and the pattern
of veins small and blue in white skin
on green grass the blades
drip with blood under glass
the ball all clean and the biscuit
from the pouch is clean and crumbled
a little taken to keep the spirits up
and the rest to be saved for later
a wife had said or a mother
and the biscuit that perhaps the man
or the boy, the crofter
had with forethought saved
wrapped in a small bit of cloth
or handkerchief for the evening
protected there as he left it
the crofter or the boy or the man
laying down in the grass quite softly
apologetically white upper arms
soft and childlike known only to a mother
or a lover revealed and pressing softly
the pattern of thin blue veins
on the green grass and the blood
quite clean drips steadily
as the heart continues its work
for short while and the grass its seeds
or lack of them remind this man
of the harvest and the sun and the sky
emptying above him so still around
for a battlefield the evening gathers
and the piece biscuit crumbled
ready under glass still waiting
and the ball beside it
stopping the heart’s work


Copyright © Bridget Khursheed 2013

Bridget Khursheed is a poet based in the Scottish Borders with work published most recently in New Writing Scotland, Southlight, Gutter, Poetry Scotland and The Eildon Tree. She edits poetandgeek.com an online magazine and blog. She is currently the poetry mentor at CABN (Creative Arts Business Network).

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About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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