Cutting Turf

Jane Yolen

Ah, the Scots.
I live among them.
I can see the giant hand
coming up from the green bog,
holding a large knife to help
the small girl struggling
at the gathering of turf.
And her brothers,
older, wiser in fairy ways,
grabbing the knife by its handle,
slicing the hand
that might have snatched her,
or cut her, or diddled her,
before anything bad could befall.
They are Scottish, not Irish,
expecting the worst
and so offering it first.
The hot blood, falling like rain,
scarring them all.
I do not know what happened
ever after.
Does it matter?
This was Scotland
where good deeds
are always punished
and bad always comes up
like an army from the south.




Jane Yolen’s 400th book was published in March of this year and since then five more have been brought out. She lives in Massachusetts and Connecticut with her new husband (she had been a widow, he a widower), and they sometimes write  books and poems together. She has three children, all of whom have many published books out, and six grandchildren–two of whom have books coming out. They have a secret plan to dominate world literature for the next fifty or so years. If there is still a literature. If there is still a world.