SCOTLAND. On Loch Ness (A Poem)


Inverness is monster town, they make a big thing of it
Like the Kiwis with their Middle Earth and Orcs and Dwarves and Hobbits
I’m never one to laugh at such, I don’t like to inquisis it
But when I stood there on the shore, the Monster came to visit.

She was quite nice, and very large, all black and round and finny I’d never think that she could live in a place so cold and windy They’ve said for years she lives up there, in the loch up in the heather In the howling winds and biting frost that in the Highlands they call weather.

We gave her food, a piece of bread, and a small brown ball of haggis
And a piece of fruit and a shortbread cake and a little plate of tatties
She wolfed them down, in lizard style, then splashed away with glee
For monsters rarely eat enough, and not like you and me.

Some say that Nessie’s just a myth, a phantasy of man
A made up thing, a fairytale, an imaginarium
But she’s real, she’s there, she swims about, she’s of the female gender.
So don’t you listen when they say she’s like Charlie, a Pretender.

The loch is dark, the sky is bleak, the land is fierce and barren
But deep beneath the waves there lies a monster-laden warren
With Nessie eggs, that soon will hatch, and banish all the doubters
When the Monsters swim about in droves and play upon the waters.

Graeme Philipson, Inverness, 26 February 2015

The story of the Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness is a large lake in the north of Scotland (“loch” means lake in the
Scots dialect). It is the largest and deepest lake in Britain. The legend of the
Loch Ness monster really began in 1933, when a new road was built around the northern shore of the loch and many more people began to visit the area.

There had been some mentions of a creature in the loch well before that time, but there were always lots of similar stories in all sorts of places. People just like to believe in monsters.

In July 1933 a man driving around the new road claimed to have seen “a most extraordinary animal” lurch across the road into the lake. A few months later Arthur Grant, a motorcyclist, said he saw a similar thing, on a moonlit night. It was supposed to look like a plesiosaur, a swimming dinosaur extinct for millions of years.

There have been purported sightings ever since, but nothing has been proven. There have been a few grainy photographs, but they could have been of other things, including ripples in the water, or birds or otters or seals, even an escaped circus elephant, according to one theory. One famous photo was shown to be a hoax. People have even built little submarines in the shape of the monster, or towed models behind boats.

There have been dozens of investigations, including a program to constantly monitor the loch for years. There have been sonar readings and aerial photographs, and just enough little hints to keep the monster legend alive.

And alive it is (the legend that is, not the monster). The biggest town near Loch Ness is Inverness, which is full of monster things. When you drive into town there is a metal statue of the monster in the middle of a traffic roundabout. All the tourist shops sell little monsters, and monster tea-towels and monster coffee cups and monster paraphernalia of all sorts.

When you tell the locals that you’ve seen the monster, they don’t say that there’s no such thing. They just laugh, or smile knowingly. Whether the monster exists or not, it’s very good for business in Inverness.

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