Solemn Spires of Rock


With blood and breath
They sealed the Oath,
Though parchment bore the gist
Of Covenant with Christ their King,
Whose court was moor and mist.

The shields of power
Had spewed a law:
That every soul must heed
The pulpits of the puppet-priests,
By worldly throne decreed.

But hearts enthralled
By Spirit’s touch,
And cleansed with Christ’s own blood,
Must have the shepherd-hearted prince
To preach to them God’s Word.

Now banned from kirks
And presbyteries,
The faithful shepherds fled;
To holy haunts on heathered hills,
To preach life from the dead.

And whispers thrilled
The villages,
And sought the lonely farms;
As secret calls to worship meant
A secret call to arms.

Though empty sat
The kirks of stone,
And empty sat their pews;
The glens and rills were filled with psalms
‘Neath grand celestial views.

And times would come
Of sacrament,
Of searchings-out of sin;
And fateful times when king’s dragoons
Would scatter to the wind.

And legends grew
Of gallant men
Evading musket-fire;
And matrons bold who harboured them,
To raise some villain’s ire.

And prophets saved
By providence
From Bloody Clavers’ men,
Would vanish into cave or fog,
Or stream, to preach again.

And gallows bore
The testament,
And prison glooms the tale;
And children saw the cost of truth
In those who walked death’s vale.

But still they sought
The sacred heights,
Where Grace did much abound;
Where bleat of lamb and lilt of bird
Were mixed with Gospel sound.

Still constant proved
The shepherd-heart;
And constant proved the flock;
And faithful proved the King of Kings,
‘Midst solemn spires of rock.

(Picture of Blair Tartan)

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