CCC#34: The Washer at the Ford

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #34

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 CΓΊchulainn
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.


Wordcount 131

Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #34

About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
This entry was posted in Crimson's Creative Challenge, Poems (Some Silly) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to CCC#34: The Washer at the Ford

  1. Violet Lentz says:

    Whew! That is excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dale says:

    Brilliant, Crispina!
    Every time you supply a green path with a gate, I get stuck, fearing I shall become redundant. You, however, take us on a journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brian Bixby says:

    And I’m a fan of this one, too. Myth and reality, the ancient and the modern, appropriately intertwined.

    Like

    • crimsonprose says:

      I thank you, Brian. I liked the idea of bringing the old myth into the present. And of course, although Cuchulainn is Irish, the washerwoman harbringer of death is also found in Scotland.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        Aye, I’ve just been rereading Yeats’ “Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland” and nodding at the similarities to Scottish legends.

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        But of course. Though for three unrelated reasons. First, in C5th the Irish ‘Scotti’ (pirates) settled Western Scotland … and later gave it its name. Second, the Vikings settled both Ireland and Scotland. Third, when the England stamped its heavy boot on Ireland, they invited the Scots to settle as plantation workers. Lo, back and forth they went, taking their tales with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        Which on a personal level is how my maternal grandmother’s life unfolded, yet another part of that back-and-forth migration.

        Pirates and Vikings — we have such illustrious ancestors. If only we had transported criminals, we could have been Australians!

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        Like that. Caused me a grin and a chuckle.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Fantastic poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jen Goldie says:

    A wonderfully provocative poem and story. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is absolutely wonderful, Crispina! I love all your poems, but this I think is my favourite so far πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Laleh Chini says:

    What a great poem dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lynn Love says:

    Such a great image, that washerwoman at the ford, conjuring the water to wash her bloodied sheets – love that! And the poor, distracted soul who becomes her next victim – excellent. Love the metre, the imagery (at once ancient and modern, timeless) and just the feel you’ve managed to create. Just fab

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Indira says:

    Excellent poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this Crispina – love the sense of myth and magic behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tien Skye says:

    I love the mythological elements in this piece; it meshes well with the horns of the car so I’m not completely caught unaware or was surprised by its appearance. Beautifully written!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rekha Rajgopal says:

    I love poetry with a story. Both flowed seamlessly. This is wonderful Crispina….

    Liked by 1 person

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