Henry Moore: ‘Woman
Seated in the Underground’
George Mackay Brown
How many thousands of years she has travelled
To come to this place.
Above, burning wind
Broken stone and water.
She has sat in Troy and Carthage and Warsaw.
She has endured ice and sun.
She sits, pure from those weatherings.
Is she waiting for the hunters and soldiers to come home?
Does she hear
The laughter of lost children?
She breaks the long vigil
With spinning, baking, gossip, welcomes and farewells. In April
she will set daffodils in a jar.
Fires, shaking of cornerstones!
Nineteen-forty. This is her longest winter.
London is burning and breaking above her.
Persephone, wait on your throne.
George MacKay Brown has always lived in Orkney and has written several books of verse, short stories, plays, novels, children’s fiction, essays, etc. Some of his work has been set to music by Peter Maxwell Davis (the opera The Martydrom of St. Magnus, basesd on the novel Magnus) He is at present working on a poem-cycle and a new novel has just come out: Vinland.