The Dark Servant

Not particularly content with this one, I needed to keep it short (well shortish) for the purposes of publishing. It  feels as if the narrative is a bit too rushed to me, so I may well revise it later when I've remember where I left me brain (or someone hands it in to the Lost & Found). The metre is ae freislighe and, for those uncertain, a ghillie dhu (dark servant) is a Scottish entity from folklore, pretty much identical to a Russian leshii or Tolkien's concept of an Ent. They are tree-like creatures that guard forests and are known to help lost travellers, especially children.

The Ghillie-Dhu

Pale moon-skinned, hair pendulous,
Still stands the tree-sire, dreaming
Of the wildwood tenebrous
That echoes through the gleaming.

Fierce runs the boy, hell-hounded
Solace sought from grim kinfolk
Future bleak, grief compounded
Gnarled tree faces fears evoke.

To the forest hideaway
He came, a silvered haven,
Thoughts like toys in disarray
Midst the perch of the raven.

Distant bellows terrorised
Setting birds to flight, cawing.
Breeze-stirred branches mesmerised
Till scarce could hear the roaring.

Birch limbs mournful resounded,
“The beast pursues me, Ghillie!”
The boy pleaded, unfounded
Hopes stillborn within Billy.

“I can’t go home anymore,”
Whispered the boy, lip bleeding.
Father’s rage truth’s guarantor,
Tree stirred to the youth’s pleading.

Drunken, brutish, thundering,
Dire sire up the trunk scrambles,
Billy’s hopes fast sundering.
The tree stands stiffly, ambles.

Stirs the guardian, uprooting,
Wails the father tumbling
Watches son’s life rerouting,
The walls of his world crumbling.

Sings the Ghillie melodic
Of the land in the mountains
Where life will be rhapsodic

His passenger soon made hale.


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