Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 383

When The Deer Come Down from the Moorland

As the last candle is dimmed from mass
a mile away we pass into Birkwood

One black dog on the hill called Barney
ghosts through the gate

Our feet find knots under the snow, soft
chests of heather, hidden rabbit doors

and there we come upon the saints, still
as a cloud, steam on their crowns, casting

a memory: a ballroom, a hall of skulls,
then Barney comes down and they scatter 

leaving a single note of snowfall,
a hymn distilled to its most hidden part.

Olivia Rafferty

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