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Ascending up a ridge
we came upon a croft
set leeward on the hill- aloft
a stream and granite bridge
guarding the high domain
of empty jagged land.
The ruined house defied its band
of moss that dripped with rain,
but kept a young hawk dry
to tear at rabbit skin;
We stooped aside and saw within,
beneath an open sky
the ragged chimney stack
where cooking pots once hung,
on hefty iron bars still slung
between the stones in black
recesses of the fire,
where logs once hissed and popped-
We bore witness awhile then cropped
some thistles from a brier
and cast them to the fen
to see them washed away-
As men were cleansed from here to lay
in graves outside the glen.
During the Clearances in the 19th Century, whole families were evicted
and burned out of their homes to make way for sheep, so that
landowners could make more money, and they were forced to live on
narrow coastal strips of land where the ground was then very poor.
Tarskavaig is one place where people were evicted to, it now looks
quite idyllic, but I imagine the folk that first came here were
destitute, cold and starving, dwelling in hovels.
# 72 on Explore