Back in 2013 I read a book called Witchlight by Susan Fletcher.
It’s based on a true story set in 1692 of a “witch” called Corrag retelling her life and gives her account of the bloody Glencoe massacre to a Jacobite clergyman. It’s a beautiful book full of gorgeous natural imagery and it has influenced a lot of my writing. Below are some notes and poems I’d written in the book when I first read it.
“I understand the whisper of leaves, the embrace of tree shade and sunlight fingers in my hair and the smell of lavender and pine and wet soil far better than the false faces, strange movements and lying smiles of my fellow man.”
“How does she find words for movements and sights in the natural world that I love with all my heart but cannot describe with something as clumsy as human words?”
“It’s like blood, heart blood, how honest and raw this is.”
“The effect of horror described by one so gentle is more horrifying than the deed itself”
The witch-called ones know this word.
know how it rolls like thunder, dips like a ravine then ends like the thud of a rock.
We are small and strong with no friends, no soldiers to protect us.
Who would want to protect a strange creature who sees beauty in the dark side of the moon?
A creature who finds comfort in the cool embrace of loch water,
who finds happiness with leaf shade and grass fingers in her hair.
So, run; the soft voice of love, the kindness of us, for others and the earth on which we stand is lost in the yelling clamour of those blind to the compassion of the ground.
We run, in time, from love, for it is dangerous for us,
us who love too deep.
But still, we love, that is what our Sight is for,
to see the beauty in our fellow man and love them the way we love the blue sky, the way we love the solar patterns on our closed eyelids. We love the echo of the earth in people.
I shall love like this one day, perhaps,
and I shall try not to run from it.”
“Can it be real?
When I am chained and unable to run he tells me ,gently,
“Come with me”
I try to love and believe in men but they make it so hard, yet I trust him.
Trust his gentle voice, his kind, tired sky eyes.
I see the Earth in him.
My heart’s voice trusts and our hearts speak to each other, our souls are bound.
He saves me and we are one,
our hearts beat in time.
He gives me my legs and tells me,
with his pale hands and sky eyes,
“Run, witch-called, run.”