Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ian Duh Nan Cath

As a small token to a great man, I wrote this poem in honor of John Graham of Claverhouse in the voice of one of Dundee’s men. The title comes from the name the Highlanders gave him in Gaelic, Ian Dhu Nan Cath meaning Black John of the Battles. (As usual in Scotland, he was not called black because of evil ways, but because he had black hair and a dark complexion)

Ian Dhu

Oh lads, come listen to my tale,
For I must tell it ye,
Of a hero of our hills and glens;
A brave gallant man was he.

The Highlanders called him Ian Dhu,
The English called him “Bloody Claver’se”.
But we always called him Bonnie Dundee
For he did his country and people favors.

How can a man be thought a butcher
When all he ever did was fight for his land?
Fighting and dying for Scotland’s cause;
Trying to deliver her from a tyrant’s hand,

Our Ian Dhu fought just as bravely
As all our great heroes before.
He won the heart of all his men
And became the man that we adore.

Oh, brave Dundee, you were the pride of the band
And taught us which cause was right
Just like your ancestor, the great Montrose
Who paid for his deeds on the gallows height.

The Grahams were ever a gallant clan
Ever ready to raise a sword
In defense of the country that they held dear;
We’d follow Dundee at a single word.

Like your ancestors before you
You never failed to be there
When Alba called out your name,
To fight you would always dare.

But for your country, you paid a price
It came as death, no less.
At the battle of Killiecrankie
You fought so the enemy would their wrongs confess.

And Dundee, you never died in vain,
For you fought through thick and thin.
Even through the darkest, bloodiest battles
That you knew you’d never win.

For what is it that makes a hero?
Is it all in bravery true?
Or is it also in perseverance
To win the good he knew.

Dundee, you’ve been written as a scoundrel,
A villain convicted of cold murder;
But we know the truth of your tale,
How you loved Scotland and would never hurt her.

For you did what you knew was right
For your country and your king.
Who could condemn ye for all of that?
We’ll write a new song to sing!

So though some know ye as Ian Dhu,
And some your character just do not see.
To us you will always and forever remain
Our John Graham: Bonnie Dundee.

Have a good weekend and I will be back in August to introduce my official Wallace Month.

Slainte, Hazel

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