At a desk in shadow,
Respite from suns relentless unwanted shrive,
That sapped his soul,
That shed unwanted light
That woke the pain within.
Lips dry and caked,
Fingers cracked and trembling,
He sought surcease and succour in the page,
But the words they would not come.
His head was numb with light.
An echo of remembrance,
Things now long since past,
That trembled faintly in the walls
Of that old and broken place,
Where once the Laird had lived.
And now like him it lay in ruins.
A Tower that towered not,
As he forsaken was,
A writer without a purpose,
Bereft of word and muse.
At night when the balm of shadow
Embraced him in its cool moist wrap,
The ache of thirst abated,
And a rhyme like water whispered in his head:
‘And see not ye that bonny road,
Which winds about the fernie brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland,
Whe[re] you and I this night maun gae.”
His eyes shut tight, his lips in motion,
Arms and legs a tremble,
Muscle memory, the rhythm of his genes,
And in his dreams he thither went.
© Greg Richards
Verse 8 in my Rhymer Chapbook