The Stonemason’s Daughter
I sit on the wagon wrapped in my shawl,
The men are loading the stone
Father says there’s enough cut stone on the Wall to last the world until doomsday.
The horses tremble. They don’t like it here.
Some say the builders of the wall were giants;
That’s baby talk.
Could giants have carved patterns as pretty as these I’m tracing with my finger?
They were cleverer with their hands than us.
I wonder if they mind our theft of their stone.
I sit and think about ghosts.
The mist blows over and the wind wails like a woman at a burying.
Father leaves offerings. He shouldn’t but he does.
Honey drink and cakes. They’re gone next morning.
Maybe foxes take them or birds
Or even people. Yes there are people living under stretched hides among the ruins.
Solitary souls- not Christian I think.
I’m not to mind them, says father.
He never goes far
And when they come round the wagon, wall-eyed , hands outstretched, talking fast,
He sees them off with threatened blows.
We are building a fine new church
With the stone that we take.
And when the bishop has blessed it with water flung from a bunch of hyssop
No ghost will dare come near.