The fairy bridge
See the cars speeding fast and low
Along the thin, black tarmac ribbons,
Crisp laid over the rolling moors.
Oblivious to the blur of heaped stones,
The dips and corners of bypassed histories.
Speeding around the proud, sleek corners
Leaping the old valleys left silent, shaded.
Easy, then, to miss the Fairy Bridge
Where MacLeod of Dunvegan
Found and lost his fairy wife
In a place between here and there,
Neither rock nor water, earth nor air,
A hunched road between hunched hills.
Left in sorrow,
(Impossible to span such a distinction of worlds,
Falling asleep for centuries
Or cursed with too much guiltless joy,
The dance never ending),
He returns to his empty home with a last gift:
A flag, furled against desperate times,
A promise of three victories out from despair.
Doomed to crumble, disappear in tatters,
Worm-eaten, forgotten, misplaced, tear-stained.
A thin withering, a frayed thread,
The clear glory imagined now dust,
A past that bartered its continuance
Without suspecting anything except valediction,
The clear glorious road ahead smudged with sunset storm,
A dark path abandoned by light.
The Fairy bridge,
Between time and space, here and there,
A feather touch of fame and fortune,
A moth touch of death, a kiss, a whisper,
A foot placed right, a foot placed wrong,
A slip, a sliver, a glint of gold, a refrain coded,
A yearning, a whole nation beguiled,
Mazed, lost, cast away,
(The blue distant shimmer, the smooth green hillside of freedom).
He doubts now:
Did he dream it? The long years of love and laughter,
The line and weight of beauty,
The grace of hand and fall of cloth?
And what was the cause?
What was done, what left undone,
What path unnoticed, what riddle unsolved?
What required answer not given
At the right time, the right place?
The song is: if only.
The grief of not knowing, or of knowing too late.
Gold cast away into mud, the firm, fast knot slipped.
To give and take is sacrifice,
To give the most must lose the most.
They have all been swept away,
By time, by foolishness, by a repayment of debts.
The land parceled, emptied,
Lorded over, an amusement for weekends,
A respite from care,
A cleared killing ground,
A desolation of aristocracies.