OFFERINGS: THE HEBRIDES

Bending under Scotland’s gales,
we learned the Princess of Wales was dead.
On the Lewis ferry, we stood silent
while the Captain threw a wreath of yellow roses
into the sea.  To what angel,
this offering of petals and tears?

Pushing through peat hag and heath,
we found toppled fragments,
time buried in passages.
The mother of stones has fallen in silence,
remembering fires and feasts,
long nights in fertile fields.

The archangel on his stone tower
above the sea has not forgotten
violins burned to keep away the sin.
The fiddler wept But, O, the parting with it!
The words of the priests turned out the light,
but in the darkness every candle is an eye

and still, in that land of cold
stone churches and silent Sabbaths
in one ancient chapel we sang
with one small tribe the ancient songs.
By fallen stones in one ruined field
we found three orange carrots tied with string.

 

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