Oughtmama and the mists of late February
fade Turlough Mountain and Moneen
to a landscape of silhouettes in sheer cascade,
only the immediate clear and nameable.
I live here now – a new house scaled above the old,
the ruined cart house with its floor of shore stones set in sand,
the remnant path that led to the orchard,
the rolled stones now encircling ash and sycamore.
I unpick middens of crockery and glass,
heaps of wrought iron, hobnailed boots,
mantle stones and the innards of time pieces,
the cast and hollow droppings of an age.
About me the ghost cries of children,
the tackle jangle of halter and bridle,
music from a neighbour’s house,
spots where men sat and defined time.
John and Maggie Halloran lived here.
There were three families on this lane
between Abbey Hill and the Witch’s Bite
on the pass above Corcomroe.
I build a picture from what they grew or cast aside,
medicinal bottles – laudanum perhaps,
thick ivy green glass, horse trap hinges and nails,
vases, a pocket watch, a plate of pale green roses.
In touching what was cherished and outworn
I link in chaney the living and the dead,
the midden-sanctuary of broken things,
the earth-conceded glimmerings of lives,
echoing again in the vivid house imagination stirs,
hale strength, frail tenure, as the world turns.