Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A poem by Dick Jones


On Cashel Hill

“And you tell me that he vanished,
out on the hillside. Nothing found,
no body, not a trace of where he’d been
or where he’d gone?”

She topped the Guinness, placed it
like a sacrament upon the bar.
We studied it.  “Oh no”, she whispered.
“Disappeared completely.  But…”

(she grinned and moved away),
“they’ve seen him late at night
still looking for his sheep, O’Faherty.
Just a shadow by the burial ground,

whistling up his flock”.  They laughed
and tipped their pints. I laughed
and raised mine too.  Through the door
of Boulger’s Bar the day was

Connemara silver-grey.  Peat fires
burning in July – the tint of them
on the edge of a salt breeze
in from Cashel Bay.

Later, high up Cashel Hill
the fog came down like wet wool.
Blinded, I perched on rock,
only my breathing shifting

the warp and weft of it. Close-knit
into that fleece of wraiths and phantoms,
robbed of a milky distance of bays
and mountains, I could speculate

the ghost of O’Faherty, white
on white, footsure, eternal, stepping
across the tussocks like a dancer.
I rose and followed him down,

a twisting fume inside smoke,
and stepped back into watery sunlight
amongst the gravestones
in the burial ground.