Lament for Eilidh MacLeod

Back in Scotland, on a visit to a friend in her 70s,

She talked about two girls from Barra

Who were caught up in the Manchester bombing

She thought of them a lot, she said, as many did.

Watching through the window of 24-hour news.

What a great thing it must have been

For two girls from the Hebrides to travel

Down to England to see their idol, how lucky

They must have felt to get the tickets, excited.


One of the mothers went with them, she was in the hotel

When she got the text to say the last song was on.

She went to the venue, but when she arrived

Found chaos, sirens, dust and the girls gone.

They were missing, missing for so long

They must have been close to the explosion.


And on the island, the other parents were told.

They travelled to the little airport. In Barra,

At high tide, the planes take off along the beach.

The plane was full, but others put their plans aside

To let them on. And then, the girls were found

One dead, the other badly wounded.


The girl who died was Eilidh MacLeod, a piper

How hard it must be, for an island community

Losing a child must be – Barra has always been a Catholic island

Perhaps their faith will be comfort to them now.

People gave generously and maybe the money

Paid for the plane that brought the girl’s body back.


It landed on the beach and as the group moved up the sand

The father walked in front, in his hands a white rope

The last thing connected to his child he would ever hold.

But behind him carrying the coffin on their shoulders

She saw the islanders change places, as in a sad dance

Gracefully shifting in and out to share the load.