Holding Lightning in Ben Cruachan

I.
I hold the snake-bolt
living writhing flashing

root of Dalmally substation
angel light of Glasgow

power to bring back the dead
make amends for tunnels of explosions

for the car that rolled off the edge
sunk into the depths of Loch Awe

(they are still there now
paddling the clutch in a void)

for men washed up in aqueducts
dammed up still shouting.

II.
In the machine hall no bags
cameras or weapons are allowed.

They didn’t prepare for my
conjuration from underground skies

illuminating the cavern with light
unlike pink phosphorescence

over tropical plants in forever midnight.
This is ever-day for Tigers

in living flesh wound-striped
dirt-streaked faces beneath helmets

no longer metallic beneath
a Celtic Cross but jaw dropping realities.

III.
But like old Cailleach at Brander’s Pass
their life does not last:

briefest of flashes
in the death hall of their making

they return to hollow stone
of the hollow mountain.

Lights go down at Loch Awe, Inverary
in every tower block in Glasgow

in Ben Cruachan’s hollow hall.
Cailleach’s price for bringing life

from death: she seals up the magic.
Seals up the mountain. Seals us in.

Loch Awe from Ben Cruachan
Loch Awe from Ben Cruachan

*More about the history of Ben Cruachan, its underground power station and surrounding mythology can be found here.

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