Bio Note: My poem riffs on the great “La Belle Dame sans Merci”. There are lots of references to this poem in it: the sedge, the lack of birdsong, the cold hillside, the ghastly visions, the loitering etc. I try to use it as a starting point for the idea that one cannot always loiter on the mountainside. Eventually one has to start again. How successful I’ve been I will leave to the judgment of others. For me, starting to write again is an achievement in itself. Truthfully, I’ve had so much grist but haven’t known how to grind it. Still not certain but this is a start.
L’homme qui Aimait la Miséricorde
Colquhoun lingered around the upland lake. Morning frost marched over sedge and shrub, birdsong vanished and days and nights filled with visions from the broken world. Spectral faces haunted the gloaming. Nightmarish voices, waving across water or echoing from canyon and cave, chained him to the cold mountainside. One dream-tossed night a stranger appeared and whispered quietly in his ear. What ails you that you loiter here when legs are strong and limbs are long. The path is often upward sloping and littered with loss and grief, but whatever lurks behind bend or hill can never blow all beauty away. Then Colquhoun awoke and heard a single bird singing on the cold hillside and standing, lifted his head and walked, praying that courage and mercy be his guides.
©2021 Neil Creighton
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