The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Margot Farrington

Highland (with borrowings from Scots)

Thistle on the hill. Purple too, the evening cloud.
The sunrise orange, the fields orange, the window glass
licked orange then gold, licked clear as air again.

You can, you canna know of my love for you, 
save when the grass greens, when the whitethroat
wheedles seven syllables. Seven.
You can, you canna know of my love for you, save when the
wind blows, and serviceberry leaves comb the breeze.
Wicked the thistle, you canna be gallus. Aloof royal. No touching.
Thwarts the picker. Let’s smell it, though. Have hue intoxicate.
Let’s run while the deer watch. The twosome together. 
The twasame thegither. ‘Tis the time of pairs.  The deer,
orange and gold.

You can, you canna know of my love for you, save when the
stones wear down. When the owl floats twinned inside her
ghost. Moon-gilt, the mouse in the talon. You can,
you canna know how lang I’ve loved. The years run forth
and back, vertical as the harp, horizontal as the seas.

I’ve a brown eye and a grey eye for you; I’ve a green eye
and an eye of blue to cherish sight of you.
You can, you canna see how long my love exceedan lasts
save by the way the spider weaves and by the willows’
green-stitching. By the geese returned—the twosome together,
the twasame thegither.                                                       
Razor-whist, those thistle leaves, but no bee resists the blossom,
no goldfinch shuns the white-spun when purple’s fled. 
So shall we be to one another as time hones us on an edge.
We slicken with a wish to clasp what dwindles yet
what richens. The twasame thegither. Feathers on wind,
we skim clouds of evening. Gold a rim
we’ll reach and vault. Gone.

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