Tuesday, 12 April 2016


As a schoolchild I was not at all interested in history as I found it altogether boring. It seemed that I was expected to just remember a list of dates, and who was the Scottish King at any given time!

As for prehistoric man- well he was dismissed as being unintelligent and just grunted! Of course I know the latter to be entirely untrue as many television programmes show us.....if only history had been so vividly brought to life for us all those years ago.

Nowadays I avidly watch any ' history' programmes and really enjoy them. This enjoyment and interest is mostly due to my late husband who was very interested in the subject. He filled my bookcases with " Egyptology", history of the "Bible Lands ", English history......then laterally Scottish history. Days, weekends and holidays were spent exploring archaeological sites, castles, vitrified forts...to name a few.

A holiday on Orkney delighted him. Beforehand we read books, collected leaflets, organised our trips and gathered together the necessary equipment to explore less popular attractions.....like torches, hard hats and boots! On Orkney there is a site of either historical or archaeological interest every mile and a half! You can imagine his excitement! Unfortunately the weather was not kind and we put up with frost, sleet, rain and gale force winds for a week ( we'd planned two ) and we were driven away as we were in an unheated VW camper.

Of course I've always appreciated the link between history and geography (the subject that I took to Higher level), and when explaining map reading to beginners I point out historical references, place names, battle fields, ancient roads etc, showing that the two are related to each other in many ways.

I've looked through my poetry archives this morning and come up with this one, intending to show that " history repeats itself ". I probably wrote this about 1967 ? I think it's still relevant .....

Did you see the dove fly out from the smouldering rubble?
Did you hear a child laugh in the empty streets?
Did you listen to the music of the birds in the ruins of silence?..
Then you are dreaming , my friend.

I did not see the dove fly out from the smouldering rubble,
I listened and heard no laughter in the streets
and no birds sweet music made.....
Yes, you were dreaming my friend.

For man's cruelty to his kind is his downfall,
and nothing survives.
The impulsive lust of the powerseeker
pushes him on to greater triumphs!
And his reward?
Smouldering ruins of an empty,silent world.

Kath Curtiss