Two Million Steps

by Charlotte Higgins

On the road down South,
there isn’t even a line –
the miles fall away,
replaced by kilometres on the road signs
and underneath the English, Irish names
Dún Laoghaire, Dún na nGall, Baile Átha Cliath –

but the landscape doesn’t change
the brooks don’t flow through fields of gold
the grass still blows
not a blade more or less free
because we call this blade home
and that one another country

Between Scotland and England
is it not the same?
We have built up walls
inscribed new names
but walk from Gretna to Carlisle with me
tell me that we have changed countries

from Land’s End to John o’Groats there are
two million steps in all
point me to the one where England falls away
and Scotland rises in its place
tell me how much has changed

If, in these islands, there is space
for the ragged Causeway coast
and there is space for King’s Cross Station,
London, joy and hope and smoke
and there is space for all the highlands
rising in the heather dusk
and for the valley-mines, their sprawl and song,
that’s more than space enough –

If we can fit this in one country,
why can’t we fit all of us?