BLACK AGNES by Susan Macdonald (verses 1-4, 6-9)
Lady Agnes Randolph, Countess of Dunbar (verses 5 & 10)
First Place, Arkansas Scottish Festival Annual Celtic Poetry Contest, 2017
Black Agnes was a bonnie wench. The daughter of an earl. Her heart, it was a warrior's heart. Her face, it was a pearl. Black Agnes was a lady fine, A lady brave and bold. Her husband was the Laird Dunbar, A man of rank and gold. The Earl of Dunbar went to war to fight King Edward's men. "Guard well our castle my sweet wife, Until I'm home again." "Surrender, Lady Dunbar," Lord Salisbury advised. "King Edward wants this castle. Give up if you are wise." "Of Scotland’s King I haud my house, He pays me meat and fee. And I will keep my gude auld house While my house will keep me." She did not fear the catapults, Though rocks like rain did fall, But gave her maids lace handkerchiefs To dust the castle wall. "Your brother is my prisoner. Surrender or he'll hang." Salisbury's threat made Agnes scoff, Loud her laughter rang. "I am my brother's heir at law" The dark-haired beauty said, "I'll be Countess of Moray As soon as he is dead." She resisted. She persisted. Five months the siege did last. Through all the English threats and blows, Black Agnes she held fast. "Of Scotland's King I haud my house. He pays me meat and fee, And I will keep my gude aud house, While my house will keep me."
Susan Murrie Macdonald is a wordsmith. She collects rejection slips (and the occasional acceptance letter and check). She is a staff writer for Krypton Radio, with over 100 articles posted on their website. As a a freelance journalist, she has articles in The Inquisitr and the Millington Star. She ghostwrites other people’s blogs. She is writer, editor, publisher, and maid-of-all-work for Highland Heather Press. She is also a freelance proofreader, being a member of the American Copy Editors Society and a guest member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. She earned the Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing through Poynter News University and ACES. She won the Arkansas Scottish Festival’s annual poetry contest twice, once in 2014 and again in 2017. Mrs. Macdonald enjoys Highland Games, being a member of Clan Murray by birth and Clan Donald by marriage. She also enjoys attending Renaissance Faires, and is a volunteer at the Mid-South Renaissance Faire, as well as attending SF conventions and Native American pow-wows. Mrs. Macdonald is also a substitute teacher. She graduated from SDSU with a major in English and a minor in anthropology. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and two teenagers. She is, of course, working on a novel (isn’t everyone?) and researching her second children’s book.