The Ballad of Charlie MacRae
Many think when a rainbow hangs over the hill
That it harbours a crock full of gold,
A deity worshipped by those who believe
That love can be purchased or sold.
Sir James had a beautiful house in the glen,
And when he was forty years old
For lending his name to an eminent cause
He was given an ingot of gold.
Lady Cynthia Marie (young Meg of the Dell)
A lady of infinite charm,
If brought to his household and given his name
She would socially strengthen his arm.
But she sat in his cold house and stared at the moon,
At the moon, like herself, growing old.
Whilst he sat at the opposite side of the hearth
In love with his ingot of gold.
She frequently saw a young shepherd pass by
With his dog on the way to their sheep.
And the trill of his whistle and lilt of his song
Often roused her tired heart from its sleep.
Young Charlie MacRae had a croft on the hill
His grandfather’s long, long ago,
Which he shared with his dog and a white whiskered cat
And the wind and the rain and the snow.
One morning when James had gone off in the Rolls
To survey his assets in town,
His gold and his silver his stocks and his shares
And had Krugers stayed firm or gone down?
Meg followed the whistling ‘til under the clouds
She came to a little white house,
So little compared with the houses she’d known
It seemed scarce enough for a mouse.
Upon coming closer she saw with surprise
There was never a key to the door,
And feeling secure in a mantle of trust
She ventured inside to explore.
She smiled; it was surely a man who lived here,
Those old pots and pans on a shelf,
The table and chairs and the wag- at- the- wa’
And an old rocking chair for himself.
When Charlie returned with his dog to their house
And found Meg inside with the cat,
He brewed up a drink in an old battered pot
And that, as you might say, was that!
For she thought it the loveliest ever she’d had
Whether Champagne or Chartreuse or Rhone,
As if by some magic a god had prepared
An elixir for her lips alone.
Sir James found the City in wild disarray
For the whole money market had flopped,
And from what he could see there was no guarantee
That a run on the banks could be stopped.
When the Rolls brought him back to the mansion that night,
He sat to his meal quite alone,
Never noticing, lost in concern for his gold,
That a treasure far greater was gone.
And when he was fully aware of the fact
And sat to take stock of his life,
He found that the loss of a mountain of dross
Was of greater concern than a wife.
So she stayed there with Charlie and still darns his socks
And welcomes him home from the moor,
And although she no longer wears dresses of silk,
She never considers she’s poor,
For the moon and the stars have their sparkle again
And the sun greets the dawn with a shout,
And their little house glows in the warmth of their love
And a peat fire they never let out.
They treasure the sunshine and welcome the rain
And offer their thanks every day
For their sweet daily bread and their warm double bed,
And the laughter of children at play.
And now when a rainbow hangs over the hill
And the clouds drift away far above,
James looks out and still sees a wee crock of gold,
And Charlie a world full of love.
Daniel Cavin 2013
Dan Cavin is an farmer, builder, sculptor, artist and poet. He lives in Kinlochleven in the Scottish Highlands with his wife and cats. Recently, Dan celebrated his 88th birthday.
Dan retains an extraordinary memory for reciting poetry and plays. [See The