The Crone of the Westward Hunch

Image result for hills sunset

Image from Mickey Shannon Photography

The Crone of the Westward Hunch

For her Eastern twin went searching

And beneath her no road rushed

And none was long kept waiting

She took the lonely mountain paths

And the cowherd’s grassy trail

Towns and thoroughfares she passed

By day and starlight pale


Rare was the one who, pausing

Heard more than the branches sigh

In a wind down from the highlands

When the Westward Crone was nigh

It was a chill spring day at twilight

In the red crags of the hills

A jackdaw crowed, once, twice

And she passed a boy beside a rill

He was playing in the meltwater

And saw her coat of faded black

Her kerchief weathered of its flowers

Her stick of dogwood, worn and cracked

At Crone’s quiet “Good evening”

He dried his hands and joined her

They walked the empty road, staring

The Crone ahead, and the boy at her

Smoke ahead bespoke a chimney

And the boy presently inquired

Why she seemed bound to hurry

When by sunset, she must be tired

Though the Westward Crone slowed not

Her thoughts returned from faraway

And she smiled at the boy, who saw

A host of stories in her gaze

“I walk where my twin awaits me

And so it is, age after age

For she walks always behind me

And walks always the other way”

They climbed a little hill, to find

Themselves atop the ruddy range

Below sat a square stone cottage

And there the boy asked her to wait

“This is my mother’s house,” he said

“And I need only run inside”

To which the Crone answered,

“If not for long, then I shall try.”

The boy ran down to the gate

And ducked into the snug house

And a small kindness let her wait

The sun stilled, ’til he came out

In his hands something shimmered

And this he held up to the Crone

A reflection impossibly clearer

Than the smoothest lakes below

“It is too fine for us simple folk,

“Mother says I should give it to you

“So that you will not walk alone

“As your twin walks along behind you”

The Westward Crone beheld the mirror

And then her smile moved them both

For she glimpsed the East-hunched figure

In kerchief and faded old felt-coat

At last, “Thank you,” she ventured,

“This will be my dearest treasure

“And you will be remembered

“Each time I see my sister Eastward”

The boy watched her vanish as the sun

Dipped below the hilltops red

But over the cottage, from that day on

There lingered the most splendid sunsets

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