Poet lends his pen to hoard campaign

Hugh McMillan with councillor Tom McAughtrie.
Hugh McMillan with councillor Tom McAughtrie.

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s ambition to secure the Galloway Viking Hoard for display in Kirkcudbright has received lyrical reinforcement from Hugh McMillan.

The Penpont poet put pen to paper after pondering the popular petition pressing for the Hoard to be allocated to the local area. The poem “Stars in the Glaur” compares the current economic climate in Galloway to its vibrant past, and makes the point that a treasure buried for 1,000 years in “good Galloway glaur” should be one way of helping to regenerate the local economy – “our future rooted, maybe in our past.”

Hugh has made the poem available for both the council and the independent Galloway Viking Hoard campaign to use.

Councillor McAughtrie said: “To have such a nationally respected poet such as Hugh on board means a lot to our efforts in respect of the Viking Hoard. Hugh is one of those Dumfries and Galloway voices heard far beyond the boundaries of the region, and we hope that this short but very pointed poem resonates with those who our Council continues to lobby locally and nationally. We are committed to doing all we can to provide a home for the Galloway Viking Hoard, here in Dumfries and Galloway.”

Stars in the Glaur

(Viking Treasure Kirkcudbright)

Brochures show panoramas to dream in,

a canvas, a blank page to write on,

no sound, only the bark of a shotgun,

the whispers of the turbines,

the subtler sound of our children,

slipping away like fairies in the Spring.

There was once a people here, faces

like you see in old photographs,

glowering outside their cottages,

their villages neither picturesque nor quiet.

All gone now. We can see the universe

more clearly with no people in the place

but there are still jewels beneath,

mirrors of the stars themselves,

in good Galloway glaur they’re clasped:

our future rooted, maybe, in our past.