WINNERS OF THE 2017 ARKANSAS SCOTTISH FESTIVAL POETRY CONTEST

 

Third Place  -  E.A.S. Demers - Conway, AR

In the Waters Dark and Deep

In the waters dark and deep,
where none of sunlight dare to go,
there in the cold and brackish depths,
lie the souls of those you once did know.

As black as death, as white as ice,
with teeth as sharp as bone-strrength,
the fetid, foul, monstrous steed,
makes its hollow far beneath.

Take heed along the water,
trust not the feeble mare,
her wrtched, dripping man,
a sign you must take care.

Though her trembling begs your pity,
her act beguiling is but a ruse,
no tender heart throbs within her frame,
as life's fragile frame she seeks to undo.

Touch  not the creature stood before you
lest your timid grasp, held-fast,
no earnest plea will save you
as her watery web is cast.

Far below, where cries fall silent,
and those who'd help, know not your plight,
the Kelpie claims your ghost to sate her hunger,
your flash and bone, seized in savage rite.



Second Place -  Shannon Connor Winward - Newark, DE

The Ballad of Molly Malone

On the bay of Dublin
the pulse and the din
of the land and the sea breed desire.
The caw of the gulls,
and the roar of the swells,
are known to set hearts afire.

The tide's thrust and tussle,
the dock's clutter and shuffle,
the songs of the sea-faring fellows;
their tenor-tongued sailors
and wine-brazened whalers
and trollers with throats like a bellows

with calls spry and all canty,
lures of ballads and shanties,
choruses romantic and jolly.
Tunes and more they taught her,
the fishmongers' duaghter,
lovely and lively young Molly.

For a verse on the quay
or an in by-and-by,
Molly'd sample their cockles and eels.
The love of the boys put a trill in her voice
and a happy spring in her heels.

With her barrow full-stocked,
every morn Molly hawked,
"Here be fresh oysters and mussels!"
And through streets high and low
her refrain, "Alive-O!"

a melodious boisterous bustle.

Down streets low and high
rolled her come-hither cry
and alwasy earnest custom beset her.
So sweet and so fetching,
her pitch so bewitching,
t'was sure no fishwife fared better.

But as cathedral bells linger,
so the pretty youn singer
did echo with love's tainted thrum.
'Ere a long red fever
o'er took and besieged her
and the merry maid Molly was done.

Or so it was thought,
when the coffin was bought
and the lass shut up within,

only to awake in the Night
bereft of all sight
and sound in the ground of Dublin.

No street aria could rival
Molly's plea for survival,
Alive! Here! Alive! O!
Alas she did wail,
but t'was no avail;
all were deaf to the lament below.

In the land of the dead,
the departed are fed
on the clatter and scuff of the living.
A spirit can utter
but a sigh or a flutter
a whisper of spite of misgiving.

With ears slack as hunger,
the yawning wraiths blunder
toward the crackle, the rattle and strife,
the titters and bawling
the orchestral squallin,
to feast on the music of life.

But the fishmongers' daughter,
with a voice like no othter,
fills the street with her ghostly solo,
and for a thousand tomorrows
drives her brimming wheelbarrow
still singing "
Alive! Here! O laddies, Alive, Alive-O!"


First Place - Susan Macdonald (verses 1-4, 6-9)  and Lady Agnes Randolp, Countess of Dunbar (verses 5 & 10)

 

Black Agnes

 

Black Agnes was a bonnie wench.
The daughter of an earl.
Her heart, it was a warrior's heart.
Her face, it was a pearl.

Black Agnes was a lady fine,
A lady brave and bold.
Her husband was the Laird Dunbar,
A man of rank and gold.

The Earl of Dunbar went to war
to fight King Edward's men.
"Guard well our castle my sweet wife,
Until I'm hom again."

"Surrender, Lady Dunbar,"
Lord Salisbury advised.
"King Edward wants this castle.
Give up if you are wise."

"Of Scontalnd's King I haud my house,
He pays me meat and fee.
And I will keep my gude auld house
While my house will keep me."

She did not fear the catapults,
Though rocks like rain did fall,
But gave her maids lace handkerchiefs
To dust the castle wall.

"Your brother is my prisoner.
Surrender or he'll hang."
Salisbury's threat made Agnes scoff<
Loud her laughter rang.

"I am my brother's heir at law"
The dark-haired beauty said,
"I'll be Countess of Moray
As soon as he is dead."

She resisted. She persisted.
Five monthe the siege did last.
Through all the English threats and blows,
Black Agnes she held fast.

"Of Scotland's King I haud my house.
He pays me meat and fee,
And I will keep my gude aud house,
While my house will keep me."