The Death Of The Loch Ness Monster

By Gwendolyn MacEwen

Consider that the thing has died before we proved it ever lived
and that it died of loneliness, dark lord of the loch,
fathomless Worm, great Orm, this last of our mysteries –
haifend ane meikill fin on ilk syde
with ane taill and ane terribill heid–
and that it had no tales to tell us, only that it lived there,
lake-locked, lost in its own coils,
waiting to be found; in the black light of midnight
surfacing, its whole elastic length unwound,
and the sound it made as it broke the water
was the single plucked string of a harp –
this newt or salamander, graceful as a swan,
this water-snake, this water-horse, this water-dancer.

Consider him tired of pondering the possible existence of man
whom he thinks he has sighted sometimes on the shore,
and rearing up from the purple churning water,
weird little worm head swaying from side to side
he denies the vision before his eyes;
his long neck, swan of Hell, a silhouette against the moon
his green heart beating its last
his noble, sordid soul in ruins.

Now the mist is a blanket of doom, and we pluck from the depth
a prize of primordial slime –
the beast who was born from some terrible ancient kiss,
lovechild of unspeakable histories,
this ugly slug half blind no doubt, and very cold,
his head which is horror to behold
no bigger than our own;
whom we loathe, for his kind ruled the earth before us,
who died of loneliness in a small lake in Scotland,
and in his mind’s dark land,
where he dreamed up his luminous myths, the last of which was man.

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