“For Water,” Viktor Vasnetsov, 1880, Wikiart.

Part 1: Vivanya, Water-Witch

“They are hand-carrying water,” mother said,
Outside window looking, Greer family arrived
From Scottish mainland, settling on Hebridean
Isle. New blood, generations crofting, sheep,
Cows. From old foundations, rocky heights,
Cottage built-restored, parents, children yoke
Carrying stream-fresh water: drinking, cooking.
Resting, upward-winding trails. “Douser they
Are bringing,” Papa advised. “Water-witch,
They call her, magic of forked sticks.”

Several days past, elder woman, Vivanya, ferry-
Boat arrived, wrinkled face, hoary hair, crowd
Following to Greer-family cottage, water-witch
Chanting, forked stick discerning upon rocky
Heights. “Caite a bheil uisage?” Vivanya repeated,
Wishbone-shaped rod, trembled, upward pointed,
Downward darting, grassy clump beneath gnarled
Feet. “Stand here,” she told me, Willow, divining
Rod reaching toward me, twitching at my abdomen.

“You know ancient signs,” Vivanya stated, my
Parents, island families thinking welling water,
Water breaking, pregnant daughter. “Never,”
I denied. “Omens you were told, secrets,”
Vivanya surmised, augural eyes affixed on me,
Mysteries she believed true. Thunder pealing,
Seabirds in flocks flying, tears Vivanya shed,
Breast anguished, first bubbling water. Clear
Stream down hillsides flowed. dark eyes
Glittering, Vivanya to all stated, “Iron plow,
Salt-spray blighted fields, pour this water
On barren land, island gardens shall grow.”

New Willow poetic series, mysticism of water-divining witch.
Thanks for reading.  

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