Skip to main content

Scottish Festival and a bit of poetry...

The 38th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival was held at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas on April 7th - April 9th. This was the first time I'd ever attended. I'm sad to say I didn't even know the festival existed until last year. On Saturday, April 8th, a group of friends and I made the several-hour trek, determined to enjoy everything we could.

The weather was glorious, all bright, bonnie sunlight and mild temperatures. Seemed mother nature approved of the festivities. The campus was appropriately kitted out, and nearly everyone in attendance was properly *ahem* kilted out. 

Bagpipes playing, we ate meat pies--- well, mine was a 5-cheese mac & cheese pie--- watched clans parade their colors, got sunburned (darn our fair, Celtic skin), and wanted the day to last forever.

There were a host of competitions, everything from Scottish/Irish dance-offs, sheep dog trials, Tartan races, a Celtic poetry competition, piping and drum trials, even a bonniest knees competition (i.e. blindfolded lasses caressing kilted kneecaps 😇).

In the spirit of competition, I entered the poetry contest--brushing off and sprucing up my Kelpie poem. Because, why wouldn't I commemorate the day with a verse about a monstrous creature that roams the waterways looking for innocent people to carry off to a watery grave...this is me we're talking about.

The days since the festival were quick to put me back in my dull routine, though I would still hear the occasional deep bellow of a pipe in my head. Something about bagpipe music gets in my bones and refuses to let go.  

The week passed steadily. After all thoughts of the festival were just a pleasant memory--after I stopped peeling from my sunburn--out of the blue, 2 days ago, I received an envelope in the mail from Lyon College. It contained a single check for $50. Guess whose little, dark dirge won 2nd place in the Scottish Festival's Poetry contest?!?!

So, here's to you, my dear Kelpie----

In the Waters Dark and Deep

In the waters dark and deep, 
where none of sunlight dare to go,
there in the cold and brackish depths, 
lie the souls of those you once did know.

As black as death, as white as ice,
with teeth as sharp as bone-strength,
the fetid, foul, monstrous steed,
makes its hollow far beneath.

Take heed along the water,
trust not the feeble mare,
her wretched, dripping mane,
a sign you must take care.

Though her trembling begs your pity,
her act, beguiling, is but a ruse,
no tender heart throbs within her frame,
as life's fragile thread, she seeks to undo.

Touch not the creature stood before you,
lest your timid grasp, held-fast,
no earnest plea will save you,
as her watery web is cast.

Far below, where cries fall silent,
and those who'd help know not your plight,
the Kelpie claims your ghost to sate her hunger,
your flesh and bone, seized in savage rite.

-- e.a.s. demers                       


Popular posts from this blog

I is for...

... Iron Maiden

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? ---Edgar Allan Poe

---and not the English heavy metal band from East London...

Day 2 in the realm of morbid/macabre torture devices finds us back in the Middle Ages (there was definitely a fashionable trend of imaginative torture devices during this time). Though, the Middle Ages isn't really when we should be turning our attention when we discuss the Iron Maiden. In fact, there has been some debate as to the exact appearance of this monstrous creation.

It's probably easiest to relocate such a torturous thing back to a time when it seemed everyone was as skilled at exacting a confession as they were at creating the tools to exact those confessions. It's easier to blame ancestors from several hundred years ago than to accept that anyone of civilized disposition would be capable of doing such horrible things with such terrif…

V is for...

... Vrolik Museum

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? ---Edgar Allan Poe

How about a morbid museum?

Still used by the medical faculty and students at the University of Amsterdam, the Vrolik Museum is a unique collection of odd bones and skulls, pathogenic specimens, and an assortment of anomalous embryos.

The collection was amassed by Dutch anatomist, Gerardus Vrolik (1775-1859) and continued by his son, Dutch anatomist and pathologist, Willem Vrolik (1801-1863). And since Willem's death, various donations have expanded the collection even further. Most specimens are human, though a few zoological specimens have trickled into the collection. Preserved remains, plaster casts, and various models show an assortment of congenital deformities and malformations.

This is one of those places that isn't for the faint of heart---certainly not for those who are easily moved or triggered by…

M is for Merfolk.....

Since man first set sail across the oceans, there have been tales of Merfolk--- or, more specifically, Mermaids. I mean, what man wouldn't hallucinate a beautiful woman when he is sick with scurvy and miles from home--- who wouldn't want a bit of comfort on the lonely sea?

Mermaids are often associated with Sirens from Greek Mythology. Though, the first known stories appeared in ancient Assyria where it is said the goddess Atargatis turned herself into a mermaid after accidentally killing her human lover. Guilt-ridden by what she had done, she dove into the sea to take the form of a fish, but, the waters refused to hide her beauty--- her divine visage remained, while her lower half took the fish-form she had cursed herself with.

I suppose it's from this myth that Mermaids were often connected with sea tragedy--- drownings, storms and shipwrecks. Though, there are still a few traditions that depict the Mermaids as good--- benevolent creatures that can and do fall in love wi…