The Lady in Kicking Horse Reservoir (audio only)

- 1923-1982


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More by Richard Hugo

Glen Uig

Believe in this couple this day who come 
to picnic in the Faery Glen. They pay rain 
no matter, or wind. They spread their picnic 
under a gale-stunted rowan. Believe they grew tired 
of giants and heroes and know they believe 
in wise tiny creatures who live under the rocks. 

Believe these odd mounds, the geologic joke 
played by those wise tiny creatures far from 
the world's pitiful demands: make money, stay sane. 
Believe the couple, by now soaked to the skin, 
sing their day as if dry, as if sheltered inside 
Castle Ewen. Be glad Castle Ewen's only a rock
that looks like a castle. Be glad for no real king. 

These wise tiny creatures, you'd better believe, 
have lived through it all: the Viking occupation, 
clan torturing clan, the Clearances, the World War 
II bomber gone down, a fiery boom 
on Beinn Edra. They saw it from here. They heard 
the sobs of last century's crofters trail off below 
where every day the Conon sets out determined for Uig. 
They remember the Viking who wandered off course, 
under the hazelnut tree hating aloud all he'd done. 

Some days dance in the bracken. Some days go out 
wide and warm on bad roads to collect the dispossessed 
and offer them homes. Some days celebrate addicts 
sweet in their dreams and hope to share with them 
a personal spectrum. The loch here's only a pond, 
the monster is in it small as a wren. 

Believe the couple who have finished their picnic 
and make wet love in the grass, the tiny wise creatures 
cheering them on. Believe in milestones, the day 
you left home forever and the cold open way 
a world wouldn't let you come in. Believe you 
and I are that couple. Believe you and I sing tiny 
and wise and could if we had to eat stone and go on.