A Snowball in Summer

He bounds down Meall Riaghain,
outdistancing the stag
in the summer dawn,
no time to admire the prospect
across Loch Etive, to Trilleachan
where glacial stones ring
with the oystercatcher’s tune,
and at Ard Uisneachan
Naoise and Deirdre are home
in the ‘cattlefold of the sun.’
 
Less than an hour to pay his due,
the snowball from the corrie
wrapped in his plaid,
next to his racing heart,
down past the glade
hazed by the charcoal mounds,
gasping as he rolls
the melting sphere
on the table of the factor,
in Glen Noe to collect the rent

from the Macintyres,
a snowball in summer from Cruachan
ticked off on the ledger,
before he rides to Taymouth
to tell Breadalbane,
laughing over a glass of wine
at the charming custom
of the sons of the carpenter,
his trusted swordsmen,
settling their dues in snow.    
 
         
A rent we could no longer pay,
even if we still tenanted Glen Noe,
because the summer snow
is disappearing from Coire Chat
and soon in winter also
the whiteness will be gone
from Drochaid Glas.
A key turned in Porto Rico
is melting the glacier                           
and ruining our clan history.