BBWB 25: Mortal Wounds

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THE BALLAD OF BLACK WATCH BRODICK

CANTO 25

Mortal Wounds


All night had Sarah Fullarton
To trembling victims tended
Upon her temple felt the sun
The endless night was ended

But still the boys brought bleeding in
With myriads of pains
A mass of human wounds akin
To Genghiz Khan’s campaigns

Then stoppeth Sarah in her track
She dropp’d the tray of dressings
The man she loved, who loved her back,
With all the Angels’ blessings

Was led upon a stretcher by
A nothingness of wall
A thunderbolting lullaby
Did fly from out her soul

“O farewell grief & welcome joy,
Ten thousand times therefore
For now I’ve found my one true boy
Whom I thought would see no more!”

“Sarah,” he sigh’d, “I don’t have long,
Come kiss me at life’s ending,”
For his last wish she must stay strong
Fastidious, heart-rending

“Ever the wide world over lass
As ever my word is true
As battles rise, as battles pass,
‘Til back at the last with you,

Of those soft lips, oft did I dream
Ours pressing close together
Next to Cnocan’s bounding stream
Led, holding, in the heather

With falt’ring voice salt-laced with sighs,
“Thou art monarch of my being,”
She kiss’d his lips, his cheeks, his eyes
That her true love was seeing

Then up whisper’d her handsome man
Smiling so smooth & slender,
“We’ll meet in Heaven if you can
Remember love so tender.”

“My love, forever & a day,
I’ll loyal be, with constant heart,
To every sphere of Heaven pray
Our souls shall never part.”

As wild hawk in the windswept sky
As roe deer to the wholesome wold
A man’s heart to his lass shall sigh
As it was in the days of old

“Beloved land, that western land,
Arran by the waters wide
We fell in love, there, hand-in-hand
& wish we could abide

A lifetime on that precious isle
Poseidon climbing from the seas
Ever shining, ever fertile,
Bouncing bairnlings on our knees.”

Then boreing deep thro’ Sarah’s eyes
He saw the Lord above
Him beckoning, twas time to prise
A man from mortal love

As George died in his Sarah’s arms
Her sadness swarms like locusts
Her happiness, her cheer, her charms
Were render’d ruinous

“O mother, mother, mak’ my bed
Where I shall lie in sorrow,
Today my one pure love lies dead
& now I want no morrow,

My death, my death, alone can show
The everlasting love we share…”
Nurses about this tryst tiptoe
For they were full aware

How much she loved her English George
She’d talk about him always
No finer love did Heaven forge,
Or elves, or fairies praise

She’d made a harp of her breast-bone
& strung it with his kisses
Music to melt all hearts of stone
So seismic was its blisses

Now swung the moment when the dike
Doth overcome the finger
Or flames sprung up from match’s strike,
Tears rumbl’d thro’ a wringer

“Flow, flow, my grief, unbounded gush,
Rise, rise my sobs, I set ye free,
Bleed, bleed my heart, I need not blush
To know my love did loveth me…”

Into that sad & sighing scene
Came striding head nurse Fletcher,
“I’m sorry, Sarah…” soft, serene,
“We’re going to need that stretcher.”

& so it was two bodies part
One living & one dead
One choking on a broken heart
One buried where he’d bled

In battle on some foreign field
Among the countless crosses
That to Eternitie reveal’d
The cost of Scottish losses

Most tragic day they’d ever seen
The Twenty-fifth of September
In the Autumn bleak, Nineteen Fifteen
Let everyone remember

How Mankind can so unkind be
To those who share his species
& Womanhood thro’ love of he
Such miseries she sees.

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