Beginning with a couplet from Carmina Gadelica
and with grace notes from the same source.
I have a charm for the bruising
a charm for the blackening
a charm for cheats and impostors.
I summon from the cold clear air
from the bare branches of the trees
from worms coiling under the ground –
charm against cruel intent
charm for neglect
charm against wicked indifference:
may it lie on the white backs of the breakers of the sea
may it lie on the furthest reaches of the wind.
A salve for those who would grudge against the poor
a salve for those who would harry the innocent
a salve for those who would murder children:
may it lie in the stoniest stretches of the hills
may it lie in the darkest shelving along the shore.
A salve for those that would cram
whatever life they have with possession –
for the rage of owning without entitlement
for the desperate murderous possession of things:
may it lie on the cloud-banks that range across the sky
may it lie on the face of Rannoch Moor in its remoteness.
A charm against mystification by doctors
a charm against deception by the self-appointed
a charm against horrific insistence:
from the breeze that stirs the last of the yellowing leaves
from the slanting of the sun as it falls though the window.
A salve against grasping
a salve against preaching
a salve against promises exacted by threat.
Grace of form
grace of voice
grace of virtue
grace of sea
grace of land and air
grace of music
grace of dancing.
A salve against the uselessness of envy
a salve against denial of our own best nature
a salve against bitter enmity and silence
Grace of beauty
grace of spirit
grace of laughter
grace of the fullness of life itself.
A salve to bind us
a salve to strengthen heart and happiness:
may it lie in the star-blanket there to spread over us
may it lie in the first light at the waking of day.