Seven Tears: Lamentations
I would see them all gone:
The small black rags of malice
The small black rags of nightmare
A poison of harsh cold iron will.
Forbidding beauty, disdaining.
Who turns the flame of hope
To worms of despair.
A curse of faith despising life.
I would wish the gentle ones
Back in the deep glens,
By the loch-side:
The long chant, the ordered hours,
Prayers for all, care for all.
Chant in the cold night,
Praise in the dawn,
A haven, a refuge,
A fire of openness.
I would not leave the hills silent,
Nor barren, nor unsung.
I would not have them feared,
Nor mocked, nor misunderstood.
At very least, a common prayer:
The song of gathering in,
The song of weaving,
The song of sinew and patience,
The rock and sway of fruitful hours,
A song of peaceful construction.
This silent, bitter solace of hearts
This leaden, sullen lock-jaw -
A walled, guarded desolation
In the midst of shining presence.
We would not know freedom, even,
Were we feeding at its warm breast,
So torn and twisted our hearts
So cursed by the darkness
Left to breed inside so bitter,
Bitter, wormwood would be sweet.
This long rent severance,
This decree of exile,
This proclamation of abandonment,
This churning mistrust peeling
Mind from heart, half from half,
Mothers mocked, sons burst open,
It was not the cry of a fox
At the cold centre of the night,
Nor gull ghosting on the water
That woke me into darkness.
It was the despair of a woman
Echoing hills and empty streets.
In the certain dark, ill-lit,
Wordlessly crying out,
Summoning the flicker of pain.
The endless distraught
Eternal wringings of sorrow,
Bloody clouts reddening
Consonants of spite,
Howling, sobbing vowels
Down the long years.
When shall it cease?
I, too, should leave by that bridge,
(would I could),
Leave the sullen solidity of pain,
The unforgotten sin, remorseless blame,
Not wasting one more word
On the forlorn rigidity of final hope
They cling to who have not already
Released clawing fingers and drowned.
I, too, would return to the twilight dance,
A weaving with purpose and poise,
An upholding, a reimbursing,
A constant, belonging chord.
Chant and chanter, strings of song,
No need, ever, to remember or forget.
Free from those who would sever the root
To free the tree, who would wash the soil
From each endeavour, strip the river
From its valley, would feed their children
To a red mouth of destruction