Volume 2 Number 4


Autumn 2004


Elizabeth Barrette

One evening as I walked through the moor
By fortune I chanced to find
A skein of music adrift on the wind
That would not leave my mind.

It captured all of my fancies fair;
I followed it where it led,
That mystic music that whispered dreams
And tickled them in my head.

The lastlight faded as I went on
Over the hills and soon
The darkling air lay cool as a kiss
On skin gone pale as the moon.

The stars winked out above and below
The mist round my ankles swirled.
I crested a hill and saw her there --
She heard me behind, and whirled.

Like a shawl of night her black hair fell,
As tumbled as ocean waves
Red were her lips like the finest wine
And deep were her eyes, like graves

Her lips they parted like folds of silk
White teeth flashed like darrow jade --
Then my soul laid itself at her feet:
Such was the music she made.

Her song flowed quicksilver through my bones
And froze in my blood like flame,
Changed every note and mote of my self
And I'd never be the same.

Then one by one all the stars winked out
And the three moons sought their rest.
She sighed, and the music stilled and hushed
Then she pulled me to her breast.

I heard a flutter as if of drums
Somewhere far under my ear
And knew this knowledge would mean my death
But never once thought to fear.

For joy and pain swirled wing against wing
A spiraling, striving flight
And joy crested pain and thus made love,
Two owls aloft in the night.

When I finally came to myself
I reached ... but I found she was gone,
No trace of her touch left save recall
In the sharp light of the dawn.

A wild sadness came over me
A longing brighter than wine
Then I felt music stir in my soul:
What had been hers became mine.

So back I went the way I had come
To a house no longer home,
Where you, mother, fret at my singing
And hold me when I would roam.

You can't take the music she gave me,
Nor keep us parted for long,
For such is the Lannashae's power
Such is the Lannashae's song.

You say she will steal my life away
Long before my time is up;
You say I will feel it as it fades,
Like wine runs out of a cup.

But sleep was never as sweet as this
Nor Death on her bended knees
So out of my way now, Mother dear,
I'll die if I damn well please!