“Morning by the Stream,” T. C. Steele, 1893, Wikiart.

Clear streams near cottages field-wandered,
Source of water, island life, gardens, sheep,
Livestock. Drying days we searched its deep
Earth source, enchanted spring Papa said.
Mere trickle at its source. “It’s not that we
Believe in magic, Willow, but whether magic
Believes in us.”  Round loaf-size stone we
House-kept, never knew or asked, ground-
Lifted from high meadows, water welled
Anew, stream flowing wide-deep, fishing,
Farming families island-living bound.

Upward stream walking, winding course,
Gravel beds, cut deep in grasslands cart
Fording places, wide, narrow, rambling
Music to my ears. Alas! Small spring rocky
Hillside trickled, ancient symbols carved
In living stone, Celtic, runes, Norse, presence
Felt of hunter-gatherer island tribes. On
Knees, I sipped, soothing splashes upon my
Face, yet waters tasted me, not sun-rosened
Cheeks, but sanguine depths, my being.

Time unhinged, magic spells undeniable,
Shadows long, snow drifts blanketing winter-
Dormant fields, wisdom beyond church or
Schools. “From stone tenements we awakened,
By archaic island tribes discovered,” melodic
Tones, sacred waters spoke aloud. “Who are
You?” I asked, curious as afeared. “Immortal-
Inevitable.” By those two words, I understood:
Creation, life-force surging, primeval ice-
Darkness, growing seasons, harvests.

More water-sips revealed, healing flesh and
Bone, rituals torch-burning into night,
Magic, mysteries past reach cloudless skies,
Once healed, life-long servitude, bound to
Stream deities, blessing-curse continued
Even today, understanding Papa’s loaf-sized
Stone. Water sealed off, island life struggled
By labours hard, blighted fields, birthing
Deaths, mother and child, those who knew
Would never forget nor yield.

Thanks for reading.

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