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.