Glasgow. A place in fervent denial of its past and no knowledge of its future. We were much alike.

I was one of those that followed the Highland dregs into the city. I watched them join the stagnating morass of mill-bound humanity. Some small bright sparks set light to the fires of industry. I watched and preyed upon the drudges that turned the quiet streets into a sprawling juggernaut of industry and trade. The second city of the Empire, they called it.

My kingdom in irony was among the bleachfield workers and dockers, miners and millers. The farmers turned to market work, then to factories that quite literally chewed their children up in the gears and spat them out. The docks saw a brisk trade in human misery, both far-flung chattel and the local dispossessed. I saw their frustration, kindled it and evoked their raw passion. You could smell the fear of the London government as they sent in the army to quell the unrest. It could not be contained forever.

The open sewer of capitalism led to a collective stink, and reforms came hot on the heels of near-revolution. I cannot count the number of small rebellions that came amidst the thundering gears, pulleys and wheels. One or two, I would count amongst my children, giving them the power that they needed to inherit, and felt born to wield. One or two fell victim to that passion, and had their lights snuffed out as a result. I have borne the weight of those decisions ever since.

An escape to the Emerald Isle, for a while, for a while. I cast myself and others at the enemy with no real plan or goal. Somewhere along the way, I lost my own fire. I however found in my pride that my prison travelled with me. I fell too easily to cynicism and ennui. Ten hundred nights again wasted for an arbitrary line in the soil.  The nature of my kind, red in tooth and claw, gnawed at my mind’s bones. I fell back on lessons long lost to survive. There is a purity of purpose in that.  My self was emaciated, and my soul threadbare when finally I emerged, bowed and bloody but unbroken.

The Atlantic current carried my corpse back to the feeble lights of Argyll, where I sought to lose myself in the dark once more. Even the least part of Alba’s least part was not to be peaceful. My simple act of existence was political statement, allowing others to do the same. Luckily, I was never targeted directly. The fallout never touched my ashen heart.

Yet in the distance, the City still smouldered. As a moth to a flickering candle, I was drawn to it again from afar. Students gather in the streets, and seek new freedoms for themselves and their peers. Education is more freely available than ever before, if only at the mercy of Heisenberg’s Messenger. The passion is there. It merely awaits the spark of youth and passion anew to cast off the yoke of ages gone before. It is for lesser men to breathe on the remaining embers, that those greater may light the flame.

I will pass the torch to those that are ready. If they – or I – are caught in the flames, so be it.

Author: Website Admin