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CillChroisd2

The House of Trees

4

       Cill Chroisd

 

On the road to Elgol

That dances its way

In the dark and light

Of moving skies.

 

Breathing up and down

Sliding beside loch and ben.

 

Between the green toes

Of Beinn na Caillich –

(she, who, giving birth to the land,

Remains unconcerned

But ever watchful)

 

Beneath the raven’s wing,

Beneath its long, far cry;

Amongst the short grass,

Sheep-cropped and hummocked,

A blanket fit for sleep and dream,

They have placed the corners

Measuring the ordered landscape

Of the dead.

 

Here lies a MacLeod

Under the brown breast

Of Beinn na Caillich.

He has not angels by his head,

Nor angels by his feet,

But four eternal trees –

Green flames of yew –

To shade him from too much sun,

Too much starlight.

 

Four trees

Grown from his bones,

Fed by the exhalation

Of his long sigh in sleep

And promised rest.

 

They will be a shelter

From the four quarter’s winds

That winter howl along

The dark glen.

 

They will be a shelter

For the small birds

Singing him joyful

‘Til his Judgement.

 

A sure roof

Outlasting the crumbling of walls –

The green, sky-stretched,

Wind-hugged branches

To bear him back home.

 

Here he shall have peace.

Peace, but for the hooded crows.

Peace, but for the sheep

Tugging the small, green tumps.

Peace, but for the passing wanderer, curious.

 

They have built for him

A house of earth

For the earth of his body.

They have planted for him

A house of trees,

Seeded from his flesh,

Grown from his sinews

So that he can live for eternity

In holy wood.

They have built for him

A house of song-

The wind in the ivy,

The swan and the curlew-

For his soul to stretch out.

 

Who would not want a mountain

As a headstone?

Without cold in the bones,

A delight to watch for centuries.

Without a watery eye:

The storm winds, a delight.

And to drink the peace

Of the cloud-tangled rushes

In the evening and morning time,

Rippling with diver and otter.

Who would not melt to moorland?

Rich peat mixed with memories

Of the long-gone,

The onward patter of rain.

110RoadToElgol

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