Judith McCombs




After the Skirmish in the Snowy Field, Patrick McKommie Asks

On 28 January 1673, Chief M’Comie Mor’s heir and next-best son were killed by the Farquarsons, whose Chief was killed by M’Comie Mor’s party. A plaque marks the place—still known as M’Comie’s Field—near Forfar, Angus, Scotland.


What use are seer’s gifts? Of course I saw

The chase, the close, our riders strive and fall,

Their raiders strike and fall. I strove to see

Who luckless flinched, whose skill and bravery—

 

This happened many times, these feuding years

When Canlochan’s woods were neither ours, nor theirs.

Ours by purchase, under Cromwell’s law;

Theirs, when the seller’s King upended laws.

 

Was it my spells and prayers that steeled our clan

To fell the worst of the marauding Farquharsons?

Did their spells, or chance, in that field of snow-slick stones,

Bring down our Chief’s two brave, outnumbered sons?

 

Still always in my seeing eye it seems

Canlochan’s woods were green: all seeds released

In swaying leaf, green tangles overhead—

But underfoot the trampled, seeping red.




Earlier M’Comie/McKommie poems appear in Innisfree Poetry Journal and

Shenandoahliterary.org (Graybeal-Gowen 2012 Poetry Prize). Other poems appear in Calyx, Measure, Nimrod (Neruda Award), Poetry, Potomac Review (Poetry Prize), Prairie Schooner, and her fifth book, The Habit of Fire: Poems Selected & New. She has held NEH and Canadian Senior Fellowships, and in 2009 won Maryland State Arts Council’s highest Individual Poetry Award. She teaches at the Bethesda Writer’s Center, is on the Splendid Wake Committee, helps edit for The Word Works, and arranges a poetry series at Kensington Row Bookshop in Kensington, MD.










                                    

 

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