Landseer Remains

It was true
The great artist
Had come to the croft.
The Husband had
Set it up with
The Interior Man.
Margit’s * cooperation

Hardly the time
To lime-wash
The plaster walls
Of guest-room.
And soak, pound and
Breeze the bed-clothes,
Before arrival of the
Chronicler of heather,
Nature, heritage, race.

Other women would
Not get the news
‘Til Sabbath Meeting.
Margit was near
The singular
Honour of it all!
Though He was not
Overmuch with her fare.

Of a day’s outing,
Whatever the sportsman’s
Dress or kit,
Or eyeglass or brushes,
It was always His
Sky blue eyes
‘Neath craggy gray brows,
Probing, dancing,
Which fascinated.

The Man was noble,
Cautious with words,
Sensitive in commendation.
Enrapt by the land.
(If only Husband had
Responded to her many
Requests to fix the
Horrid fissure in
Guest-room plaster wall!)

Daily, Husband and dogs
Would escort “Sir”
To some edge of the heath,
Arrangements made
For rendez-vous point
Seven hours distant.
Husband then busied
With endless demands
Of the wee farm.

Waning rays
Would highlight the form
Of returning “Sir”.
Swinging the walking stick.
No longer leaning.
Daily enlarging in
Colour, gait, height
And spirits.
Canvas agenda still hidden.

Then came the rains.
An embarrassment to hospitality.
But strange delight
To the guest who
Requested only
A season of quiet
In His room to
Formulate the work.
Mid-day bites left at the door.

Three days’
Hushed anticipation.
Only an hours’
Evening fellowship, hearthside,
With a spot of tea,
Shortbread, Scott, Burns
Or Rutherford.
Light farm talk.
Or village happenings.

The fourth morning,
Sunshine brightening
The guest-room interior.
“Sir” beckoned Margit visit
For a wee look
At the rendering.
Her examination yielded
No easel, no canvas, frame.
“Sir”only, standing, arms behind.

Non-plused, Margit wheeled
To her point of humbling.
The faulty plaster wall,
Now animated with
Richest of Highland scenes:
Hills, heather, cloudy vault.
Distant twelve-point stag.
And fissure placed as sparkling
Rill where once two lovers kissed.

(*A fictitious name)


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