He saw a woman at the ford
a wicker basket, hard ridged board
but this, mid-summer, and cloudless sky
the river at that ford ran dry.
He heard the woman start to drone
an ancient song with words unknown
a chant perhaps in verses three
a chant to set the waters free.
He stood a while and as he watched
from beyond that ford, the waters rushed
then knelt she with her linens blooded
and scrubbed them in the ford that flooded.
An ancient story filled his mind
of the Morrigan and Cúchulainn
of deaths this woman did foretell;
and in the distance heard he the knell.
The fool man stood so long in gaping
That around that corner a car came racing.
Ask not for whom that death bell tolls
For that washerwoman gathers souls.
Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #34