LIUSAIDH

Riddles for the Raven

Their feathers folded tightly, with beaks of ebony:
Fatal croaking in the Keep, plays Scottish monarchy.

Woden rides across the sky the sky. He hunts for sinful souls
On the updrafts, swoop and sweeps thoughts and memories. 

Ulster weakness comes on quick, the curse of Northern men
Macha stalks them in their sleep, her hands dipped red and free. 

Lover in a grief gashed haze, Lenore is lost to death:
Macabre passion longs and weeps, and nevermore shall be. 

Conspiracies of unkind claws, their talons grasp and rend
Atop the carcasses of sheep, stock fallen in the leigh. 

Ravens gather on the branch, for you, and not for me.
Lucy’s singing. Shadows seep by the forest, field and sea. 

ANSWERS

Couplet 1:  MacBeth Act I, Scene V, Line 40
Couplet 2:  The Wild Hunt (Anglo-Saxon legend). 
Couplet 3:  The Debility of the Ulstermen (Celtic legend) 
Couplet 4:  The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe
Couplet 5:  Reference to obsolete collective nouns:
“An unkindness of Ravens" or “conspiracy of Ravens". 


Liùsaidh is a poet and author writing faintly macabre gothic poetry from a drug ridden council estate. Her words have appeared online and in print, most recently at Poets & War, The Fable Online, and Thank You for Swallowing. As LJ McDowall she writes speculative and literary fiction, and edits The Quarterday Review, a poetry journal specialising in closed forms. She lives in the west of Scotland.