The hanged man's tale...


We saw the Hunter's Moon take flight
across the deep October night
and aided by that baleful light
we ran our rambling road aright 
until a tavern came in sight,
all its windows warm and bright
to welcome any soul who might
need respite there from toil or fight.

As we came near, the door flung wide,
the landlord bid us come inside,
find food and drink and there abide
in comfort through the eventide,
'til in the morning, we might ride
with sunlight for a better guide,
thus timely to arrive with pride
and toast the wedding and the bride.

We ate in haste, but would not stay
to rest at ease and wait for day.
We'd miles to pass before the gray
dawn broke upon us in our way.
A traitor had a debt to pay
to brothers fallen in the fray.
Before he with his love could lay,
the gladsome groom, we'd vowed to slay.

So we rode on beneath the pale
portentous moon, o'er ridge and swale,
through boggy slough, on ringing shale,
by wooded steep and grassy dale
upon our horses, stout and hale,
headlong into the darkling gale
and all by now have heard our tale
of faithless greed and friends for sale,

of how we found him at the stair
at Michael's Kirk with his bride fair
beside him on her golden chair.
My rapier parted his neat hair,
Lee's pistol barked in the bright air,
The comely bride shrieked in despair,
though none made effort to impair
our murder of young Richard Blair.

Johnny, lurking in the rear,
now swiftly brought our horses near,
the company, it did appear,
were one and all transfixed by fear
and holding their own lives more dear
than justice, left our passage clear.
The only sound that we could hear,
the rattle of our horses' gear.

But in good time we hunters three,
Johnny Muir, myself and Lee,
by our own vengeance came to be 
chained together as you see,
waiting by this hangman's tree
to have our sorry souls set free.
Please say a prayer for them and me,
we'll say a shorter prayer for thee.

henrymitchellbooks.com

Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, Henry! What a wonderful poem and such a harrowing tale! You, sir, are a great storyteller and wordsmith. Thank you for posting. Thought about you this morning on my daughter's school trip to The Gap (Jones Gap). Happy Halloween!

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    Replies
    1. Josh, Idaguv apurty to abeen in the Gap today! My Aunt Mary, in her 90's now, still lives down by Falls Creek, all by her own self. She says she has no worry about going to Heaven when she dies, since she's been there all her life.

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    2. Amen to that. Something about that place gets into your soul.

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