In the highlands a beauteous lass lived,
skin like winter snow, hair radiant red,
lips that curved in a saucy smile.
In the highlands a handsome lad lived,
strong of back, eyes with golden threads,
a smile full of impish wile.
At a gathering called by the High King,
they danced the Foursome Reel,
with eyes only for each other's flesh.
They crept away during the Highland Fling
to the fields and together did kneel
and share their bodies, love jointly fresh.
"I will love only thee," he declares.
"No one else is there for me," she swears.
Hearts and souls intertwine until the dawn.
But he was a proud Clan Campbell heir;
the Clan MacDonald hearth she shared,
no fiercer feud had the gods ever spawned.
In the dark of the moon, the lovers
stole away to escape to the coast,
but warriors of the clans gave chase.
Running hand in hand, always seeking cover,
past lonely cairns and grieving ghosts,
the pair flew, but nearer the hounds raced.
At last the lovers came to a cliff high.
The waves crashed down below.
“Trapped,” she cried out in fear.
He drew his sword; live or die,
she was his love, he was her hero,
but an ethereal light then appeared.
A blue white glow faded to reveal
a tall woman, beautiful and bright,
powerful and perilous. She called...
When warriors—swords drawn to kill—
gained the cliff, they found only the night,
no lovers ashamed and appalled.
Angry at the terrible cost,
the warriors battled, raging mad
until in blood they bathed,
blaming the other clan for the loss,
for it be plain the lass and lad
had leapt to their watery grave.
Four centuries gone, but the old men
claim on nights when the moon is dark,
the lovers dance at the Lady’s command
while the Faery Folk and their kin
enthrall all who hear to dance and spark
the Foursome Reel in the highlands.
(Poem from the forthcoming Undying: Poems of Fantasy and Science Fiction by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. No copying without express prior permission from the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.)