Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 341

Loch Voil, Dhanakosa Retreat Centre

The waves are galloping west
full length of the loch, white manes tossing,
racing each other then sinking.
I remember the kelpies of myth,
horse-headed and fish-tailed who, singing
lured travellers to their death.
There seem to be footsteps following –
but it’s only the prayer flags, clattering
as they are whipped by the wind.
This morning the heads of the hills
are turbaned in scarves of grey mist
but the young leaves and clover-strewn grass
gleam as green as a goblin’s eyes.
Here is a place to regain childhood’s belief in fairies,
though it makes no promise that nature
will progress in order, or sunshine
appear when summonsed, but rather
offers joy in the unexpected –
red clouds of sunset at midnight,
a rainbow half as high as the sky.
Magic must be caught on the wing:
like the swallows’ evening flight
chasing insects; in an image of ripples
flowing around reeds and boulders;
in words that fly and sing.

Anne Ballard 

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