Eilean Munde[1]

Elizabeth Spragins
11/09/17 05:17:00PM
10 posts

The Highland mist conceals a sacred isle
Where green of moss embraces gray of stone
That marks the grave of one who fell to guile
Of clansmen who betrayed him to the throne. [2]

In life he donned the mantle of a laird
And rested hand on hilt of sword or dirk
But slept unarmed by winter hearth he shared
With those who broke his bread and shamed the kirk.

The daughters of the dead succumbed to snow
And prayed with frozen lips for shelter’s grace.
At death’s approach they glimpsed a jeweled bow
That bridged the clouds from loch to holy place.

But duty tethered falcons to the wrist,
And souls foreswore the sunrise for the mist.

~Loch Leven, Scotland

First published in Glass: Facets of Poetry , no. 4 (Apr. 2017): 13.

[1] Graveyard Island, a burial ground for several Scottish clans (including the MacDonalds), is located on Loch Leven.

[2] In 1690 William of Orange defeated James VII of Scotland at the Battle of the Boyne.  To erode any remaining support for the Stuart (Jacobite) cause, King William offered to pardon rebels who swore allegiance to him by New Year’s Day of 1692.  Delayed by a snowstorm, the Laird of the MacDonalds of Glencoe did not swear fealty promptly.  When the king’s men (under Robert Campbell) subsequently requested shelter from the laird, he welcomed them as guests.  The soldiers enjoyed his hospitality for several days and then rose up against their host before dawn on February 13, 1692.  Thirty-eight MacDonalds, including their chief, died in what came to be known as the Massacre of Glencoe.  Dozens of women and children died of exposure when they fled their burning homes.


“The Massacre of Glen Coe.” BBC , 19 Sept. 2014. Web. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/union/trails_union_glencoe.shtml . Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

MaCaulay, Thomas Babington. The History of England. Vol. 4 (of 5), chapter XVIII. Project Gutenberg Ebook History of England 2613. Produced by Martin Adamson and David Widger. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates: 23 June 2008. Google Book Search. Web. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2613/2613-h/2613-h.htm#link2HCH0002 . Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.