The Last Days of Maes Howe


The rain hasn’t stopped for whole seasons
crops don’t grow,
the animals are sick.
All are hungry and cold.
There are squabbles and fights.

The news goes round
it’s agreed.
The cairns must be closed up
But what of those freshly dead?
– So many as disease
ripped through communities

A scramble to prepare the last
who’ll be placed in the niches.
One sorry gathering in flickering light
Prayers said by a people clinging
to the dying rays of hope.
Knowing there’ll be no more winter sun
to resurrect the spirits of those
gone before.

Crouching to leave
the last lamp light
fading from the chamber.
Wails go up as the first stones clatter in
then silence as work goes on
all play their part.

They are buried our kith and kin
Their spirits can no longer join us.
Cut off we are like boats loosed in a storm
and scattered to the four winds.

© Ali Walters June 2015




This entry was posted in 30 Days Wild, Orkney, Poems and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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