folktober – kelpie
The Kelpie by Herbert James Draper, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The warning ignored
I told her again and again. But, would she listen to me? Then it took her, after charming her and her wee brother. Nothing much left to speak of of either of them.
I don’t know how many times I’ve warned them both about playing down by the river. And on the Lord’s day, too! What will people say? I’ll tell you what. That my children, her especially, disobey their parents. The looks. The whispers in the village. I’ve heard them. Just before the smiles and the sneering words of sorrow. The questions that ask where two of my children have gone to, who with, and why.
How do I say to people that my previously good children were taken off on the back of a beast? Something resembling a horse, but it’s coat seemed to weld them to it. It’s mane that should be hair, yet I saw the writhing snakes, mouths agape. They appeared to be laughing at me for losing my children no doubt. For my lack of control. For screaming wildly at them to let go of the animal. I’m certain I heard it cackling on the wind. Sure of it.
My girl tried in vain to help her brother. His hands were stuck fast. And yet, he had no fear. He was giggling. She was screaming. I tried to catch it and almost did. Almost. As it dashed into the loch headfirst with my children as passengers, I tried to grab the mane of snakes, and was bitten for my trouble. I felt it. There’s no mark on me, today. Under the water it went, deeper and deeper. That satanic beast. Taking two of my four children with it. Leaving their screams on the wind and one single yellow ribbon afloat on the water from my girl.
My wife is grieving the children. Her anger is all for me. Not for their disobedience. But, if I had been a better man, stood less nonsense, they’d be here. She says that to all who’ll listen. Oh, to my face they say that it’s grief talking. And yet, I round corners to hear them saying the self same thing.
Will I ever forgive myself? Should I? That sight will be with me for eternity.
-©Ailsa Cawley 2021
the man he left behind
not what she wanted
dust to dust
the wind whistles a tune
that used to be his
Image and words by John Hawkhead
Bios And Links
has been writing stories, poems and verses since she was a child.
It’s not always what is considered poetry by some, as she isn’t a lover of sweet, schmaltzy rhymes!
She is currently writing her first novel. A psychological thriller with a paranormal element, and she hopes to bring out a poetry collection one day!
She lives on the Isle of Skye. While some of her poetry is written from personal experience, others are written from her slightly dark and twisted imagination.