Some Scottish Music

Alistair Elliot

Behind the voices of di Stefano
And Callas, others sing. I seem to hear
In the same stream an earlier Lucia
Filling another room with love and woe.

The fire, the sons, their parents smell of peat,
The fume of family; their chairs scrape, on flags
Awkwardly covered with the skins of stags;
Is the wax cylinder too near the heat?

The sextet or the summers of their glen
Stored up and now released affect their eyes:
They look at nothing for a moment.

                                                Then
The eldest son rewinds his phonograph
And plays the overture. To their surprise
The dog howls at the piccolo.

                                                How they laugh,
The woman and her men! – the waterfall
Frozen, the snow unmarked for miles around,
The sea-loch and the hills of Sutherland, all
Invisible behind Italian sound.